Today there are choices in body jewelry to meet just about every taste. We maintain a selection of body jewelry that reflects the needs and desires of our varied clientele. And, if we don't happen to have exactly what you are looking for, we can special order it. We have relationships with many different manufacturers, meaning we can usually find, or have someone make, just about anything you might want.
Another element that makes our jewelry selection unique is the quality of the jewelry we carry. At this point in time, there are literally hundreds of companies making body jewelry. While this results in a wide-range of choices, much of the jewelry currently being manufactured is of very poor quality and/or inappropriate materials. Saint Sabrina's only carries jewelry produced by well-respected manufacturers who produce the highest-quality jewelry available. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how pretty or neat a new piece of jewelry looks if it has the potential to cause you harm due to poor craftsmanship.
There are a number of different factors that we take into consideration when choosing the jewelry to make available to our customers. Some of these factors are guidelines set forth by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), but mostly we want to be assured, and be able to assure you, that the jewelry you purchase from Saint Sabrina's is of the highest-quality, and safe for your body.
The following are some of the criteria we use when selecting our jewelry:
This is the most important factor when it comes to body jewelry. Anything that goes into a piercing, whether it's a new piercing or an old one, should be implant-grade. Not every material used to make body jewelry is necessarily intended to be in the human body.
We limit what materials we will use in a new piercing to the following materials:
- 316LVM ASTM F-138 Stainless Steel
- 6Al4V ASTM F-136 Titanium
- 14kt and 18kt Solid Gold
- Tygon, a biocompatible plastic
- PTFE (Teflon), a biocompatible plastic
These materials have been shown, either through scientific research or years of practical experience, to be very friendly (biocompatible) to the human body. We have on file mill certificates from each of our manufacturers, showing that the materials they are using have passed testing and certification for being implant-grade. These mill certificates show us that the jewelry we are purchasing is made of the appropriate materials, so that we know we are providing a safe product to our clients. Without these certificates, we would simply have to take the word of manufacturers that they were selling a safe product.
The polish on a piece of jewelry is nearly as important as the implant-grade specification of the material.. All jewelry going into a fresh piercing should have a mirror finish, meaning that you should almost be able to see your reflection in the piece of jewelry. A highly polished piece of jewelry has a much smoother finish, on a microscopic level, than a piece of jewelry that isn't polished as welll. This smoother finisher results in less places for microorganisms to adhere to the jewelry and also means the jewelry is less irritating when moved through a fresh piercing.
Jewelry that has a "dull" or gray appearance to it, has not been thoroughly polished, and should not be worn in a fresh piercing. This type of jewelry may be irritating to healed piercing also.
All threaded jewelry we use for new piercings is internally threaded. This means there is a small threaded post attached to the ball(s) of the jewelry and there is a threaded hole in the shaft of the jewelry; in other words a male ball and a female post.
Using jewelry threaded in this fashion means that no rough threads pass through your fresh piercing. Obviously, this could be very painful as well as traumatic to your new piercing. Externally threaded jewelry (female ball and male shaft), the opposite style of jewelry we use, can often cause pain and trauma when inserted into a fresh piercing.
In addition, internally threaded jewelry generally has more threads on the ball and shaft, making it less likely you will lose a ball. However, anytime you are wearing threaded jewelry, it is important to check the tightness of the balls once or twice per day to ensure they stay on tight. Movement and friction throughout the day can cause the balls to loosen.
Another advantage of internally threaded jewelry is interchangeability. Most of the manufacturers who produce internally threaded jewelry have agreed to all use the same sizes of threads for the various gauges of jewelry. Therefore, while each gauge may have different size threads, the threaded end from one company will fit a barbell from a different company. This means that you will not be required to purchase a whole new piece of jewelry, just because you want a certain end from one company when your barbell may be from another company. There is very little interchangeability between companies who produce externally threaded jewelry.
Annealing is a process whereby jewelry is superheated and cooled in a controlled environment. This causes a "softening" of the jewelry, making the jewelry easier to manipulate. This is especially important in the case of captive bead rings, as it becomes much easier to open and close the ring for the purpose of insertion or removal.. Except for large-gauge pieces of jewelry, annealed jewelry usually requires no tools to manipulate. As a result, there is a much smaller chance of scratching or damaging the jewelry than if tools have to be used.
In addition, annealing is an important step needed to make certain materials meet the requirements for being an implant-grade material.
In addition to stainless steel, titanium, niobium, gold and glass, there are many other "natural" materials from which jewelry can be made. Materials such as horn, bone, wood and stone can be used to make unique and beautiful jewelry options.
Because these materials are not man-made, there are several things to keep in mind when wearing organic jewelry:
- While jewelry made from horn, bone, wood and stone is generally pretty durable, it will not be as strong or as resilient as jewelry made from metal. Therefore, it is more prone to breaking if it is dropped, treated roughly or put under stress/pressure.
- Naturally-occuring materials may have defects that are not visible and/or cannot be anticipated.
- As with other types of body jewelry, the quality of the materials and the level of craftsmanship used in making the jewelry both impact the final product. We purchase jewelry from companies who use only high-quality organic materials and craftspeople who are experts in their field. This combination helps to ensure we can offer you the best organic jewelry possible.
- Even with the steps we take to ensure the quality of our organic jewelry, the nature of the materials doesn't allow us to make the same guarantee against breakage or defects that we offer on our other jewelry. If you experience a problem with organic jewelry you purchased from us, we will try to help you as best we can, but please understand our options are somewhat limited.
In addition to the considerations listed above, it's important to remember that organic jewelry does require some care and maintenance:
- Wood, horn and bone jewelry needs to be oiled anywhere from once-per-week to once every several months, depending upon how often you wear the jewelry and the season of the year. Organic jewelry will need to be oiled more frequently in colder, dryer weather than during warmer, more moist weather.
- Use a natural oil, such as such as jojoba oil, on your jewelry. If you are allergic to nuts, you should probably choose an alternative oil to use on your jewelry.
- Do not expose organic jewelry to water for extended periods of time, including showers. Prolonged water exposure can damage or ruin your jewelry. If your jewelry needs to be cleaned, wash it briefly with a mild soap and water.
- Do not subject organic jewelry to harsh chemical cleaners, including alcohol.
While allergic reactions to organic materials are uncommon, they are possible. Allergic reactions most commonly occur to wood jewelry. We take every effort to sell jewelry made only from materials that are tolerated well by most people. However, it is not reasonable for us to be able to determine if you will have some type of allergic reaction. Allergic reactions may not show up immediately.
If you are experiencing an allergic reaction, or some other problem, remove your jewelry immediately. If you have questions related to your organic jewelry, please don't ever hesitate to stop in and see us, call us or send us an email.