The Way to Go
Although piercing has become willy nilly associated with tattooing, and most tattoo studios now have a resident piercer, for a great piercing experience, look into piercing-only studios. These are really the cream of the crop, and although they are located mostly in large urban areas, they are worth a special trip, or a visit while in the area. These studios are great places to look into for the well-educated pierced consumer, ambitious piercees, and for piercings requiring particular expertise, such as genital piercings.
I’m not saying, of course, that you can’t find a good piercer at a tattoo studio. But sometimes piercing can be an afterthought in such a place; a kind of neglected step-child. At piercing-only studios, you are almost certain to find piercers who are conscientious and dedicated to their craft, and a wide range of top-notch jewelry. You can expect a thoughtful ambiance and carefully crafted decor, and frequently a display of rare or unusual ethnic jewelry. There’s no buzz of the tattoo machine, which is sweet music to some; but annoying to others. Too, sometimes people will be put off by the serious and superior tone of these studios, but for me that’s just right. These piercers and customers are serious about their holes!
Here are just a few to check out (listed in alpha order). These reflect the current industry standards, and although the quality and frequency of updating their websites vary, all have good information about piercing.
Evolution Body Piercing, Albuquerque, NM
Infinite Body Piercing, Philadelphia, PA
Rings of Desire, New Orleans, LA (Now closed, but the website remains a good source of info)
Virtue and Vice, Atlanta, GA
Of course, these are just a few of the fine piercing-only shops out there. You can find more by perusing the listings at www.safepiercing.org. If you know of a particular shop you like, please let me know.