Jewelry Material Guide

When you first begin to stretch your ears, you might be very overwhelmed with the different types of jewelry available. The jewelry made for larger gauge piercings can be created out of many different materials and come in several different styles. This guide is here to help clear up any questions you might have about how and when all types of plugs or jewelry are appropriate.

Steel

OK for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Steel jewelry is usually divided into two types: stainless steel or implant grade steel. Both of these types are appropriate for fresh stretches, but implant grade steel is considered to be of higher quality and more biocompatible. Stainless steel should be okay for most people, but some people with more sensitive skin may require implant grade steel.

Titanium

OK for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Titanium jewelry has a similar feel to steel, but with many advantages. It is considered to be more appropriate for sensitive skin than steel, is much lighter than steel, and is often highly polished and shinier than steel. Additionally, titanium can be anodized in several different colors!

Glass/Pyrex

OK for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Glass is a very popular material for plugs, and is extremely versatile. Glass plugs are generally only available in sizes 12g and above, as the material can be very fragile in smaller sizes. Glass jewelry is an excellent and affordable option for anyone who is sensitive to metal jewelry, or finds metal plugs a bit too plain.

Silicone

NOT RECOMMENDED for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Silicone is an extremely comfortable material. Most silicone plugs are made of implant grade silicone, so true allergic reactions to the material are rare. However, silicone is a very tacky material and tends to attract a lot of dust and other invisible dirt, which can cause a reaction that leads many to believe they are allergic to the material itself. Many people also report that their earlobes start to feel very dry after wearing silicone, and need to reapply oil to their ears frequently. Because people who have used silicone to stretch their ears have reported some extremely bad reactions, we recommend against it.

Acrylic

NOT RECOMMENDED for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Acrylic is a popular and affordable plastic for jewelry, but should only be worn in healed stretches if possible. Many people have reported sensitivities to the material, especially when worn long term. We recommend not wearing acrylic plugs for longer than a few days at once, and only after you've determined your ears are not overly sensitive to the material. However, most people are totally fine with acrylic jewelry in their healed stretches.

Organics (Stone, Wood, Horn, Bone, etc.)

NOT RECOMMENDED for fresh stretches.

OK for healed piercings.

Much of the jewelry for stretched piercings is made of organic materials such as horn, wood, or stone. These aren't recommended for fresh stretches, as many of these materials are porous and can harbor bacteria. Wood, bone and horn jewelry should be oiled regularly to keep the material from drying out or cracking. These materials should also be kept away from water, so don't wear them while showering or swimming. Wood in particular absorbs lots of moisture, so some people find that wearing this material feels dry and irritating on their piercings. Applying oil to the piercing and jewelry as needed can help to prevent this.