Industrial or scaffold piercings cross across the ear shell from the helix to the anti helix cartilage. It's popular with both sexes and is usually connected using a long straight barbell. This is technically two piercings and many piercers will actually pierce separately with two pieces of jewelry for ease of healing. A scaffold piercing can actually refer to any two piercings connected with a long barbell.
Depending on your piercer and your anatomy you may be pierced with either a 14g or a 16g barbell. The 14g is a larger barbell than the 16g by a fraction of an inch (0.013).
Most piercers will have a preference between 14 and 16g for industrial piercings and while having a 14g means you can swap out for 16g jewelry you cannot do it the other way around without pain. This piercing does not stretch well so it's unusual to find industrial jewelry that is any bigger then 14g. Since it causes less stress and less pressure on the tissue many piercers prefer to pierce using two captive rings or two studs instead of a single scaffold bar.
When choosing the jewelry you will want to make sure it's good quality. Most body jewelry is made of stainless steel, but not all steel is created equal. For sanitation purposes, you'll want to choose 316L or 316LVM stainless or Titanium. Titanium is actually an alloy of stainless steel which means its equally safe. If you're not a fan of the plain steel look then titanium can also be anodized to create beautiful colors.
If you'd like something a little more unusual you can also find industrial bars that have beads or designs built into the middle of the bar. These are the most visually interesting and have the most variety compared to other types.
A lot of people don't realize that there are other options than a simple industrial barbell. If you're finding that the long barbell is catching on hair or causing scarring from pressure then you may be better with two pieces of jewelry. Circular barbells, labret studs, and captive rings all work well in industrial piercing holes if you do not want to wear a standard barbell. There's also a really neat piece of jewelry called a spiral that can be twisted in and out of both holes to wrap around the top of the ear. This is definitely the most unusual and unique option for your piercing.
So you really have a lot of choices when it comes to industrial jewelry. These include:
- plain barbells
- design barbells
- Labret studs
Industrial jewelry is far more flexible than the plain steel scaffold bars you often see, so you shouldn't feel forced to wear just that.
An industrial piercing is already a pretty unique choice but you can certainly find jewelry to make it just yours style too so choose whatever you feel comfortable in and don't feel pressured to keep it as a boring bar. Check out how to measure industrial jewelry for more information on this piercing.