Read these 13 Body Jewelry Plugs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Body Jewelry tips and hundreds of other topics.
Gauging is an ear piercing method that is essentially ear stretching. Gauge refers to the diameter of your piercing. 18 - 20-gauge needles are used for standard ear piercing. The lower the gauge number of the needle, the larger the hole. Gauge sizes increase in increments of two. So if your ears were pierced with a 20-gauge needle, you would next purchase an 18-gauge ring or body jewelry ear plug to begin stretching your ear. Begin the stretching process slowly, waiting for your earlobe to heal before you step up in size. If you increase the size too fast, you could create unsightly scar tissue.
Earlobe stretching has existed for centuries. Ancient earlobe stretching artifacts have been found in Mexico and Asia. Ancient body jewelry plugs ranged from one centimeter to one inch in diameter. In some cultures, it is common to stretch earlobes until they reach the shoulder.
"Stretching" is a procedure by which the ear lobe is gradually enlarged so that a person may put in larger and larger ear plug jewelry. The lobe is stretched by means of a taper – a metal or acrylic device that is wider on one end. After lubricating the taper, the narrow end is inserted in the ear lobe. The entire taper is pushed through the ear lobe and then a larger ear plug is inserted. The ear lobe should be allowed to heal before the process is repeated.
Wood plugs are hand crafted, making each piece unique. The hardwoods are from birch, maple, oak, walnut, and cherry trees, which are resilient woods. A perfect pair is nearly impossible to find since no two wood plugs are exactly alike. However, the wood's intricate grain is part of what makes wood plugs desirable.
Wood body jewelry plugs are porous, making it easier for bacteria to grow. Hardwood plug jewelry is not recommended for piercings that are still healing. It is especially important to keep wood body jewelry plugs clean and sterile.
A water buffalo horn is usually black and the bone is white. Horn is made from keratin, which is very different than bone, which is largely composed of the mineral calcium carbonate.
Horn and bone body plugs are hand carved into intricate shapes. Some pieces are available with inlays, such as amber or coconut wood.
Body jewelry plugs are made from many materials, including amber. Amber is a semi-translucent material that allows light to pass through it, which gives amber body jewelry plugs an ethereal quality. Some pieces of amber plug jewelry are sold with fossilized bugs in them.
Gauging is a slow, delicate process and it's important to use high-quality rings while stretching your ear. Stainless steel rings work best because they don't absorb infection-causing bacteria and dirt. Once your ears are healed, you can choose from the wide variety of ear plug jewelry available, including stone body jewelry plugs, and wood body jewelry plugs.
Stone body plugs come in many different colors and patterns. They are made either solid or hollow and can come with inlays of contrasting stone. For example, the Neolithic quartz is estimated to be 4,000 to 6,000 years old and is from the Tillemsi region of Mali. Stone body plugs come from all other the world, giving the jewelry owner an interesting conversation starter.
The larger you stretch your earlobe, the less likely it is to return to its original shape. Though the hole will retract, it probably won't heal completely. Be sure that stretching your earlobe is something you can live with permanently before beginning the earlobe stretching process.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|