Know Your Piercing Jewelry Materials

Materials for Body Jewelry

When it comes to piercing jewelry we have so many options to choose from! It’s important to read up on all of the different kinds because often piercers won’t give a crash course in metals when you first get pierced. You’ll need to find out for yourself – whether that means having an allergic reaction to a material that doesn’t fit your piercing or taking a couple minutes to read our easy guide!

 Surgical Stainless Steel

This material is often used in new piercings and while stretching, but it is also a little controversial. It has a small percentage of nickel in it (the better quality, the less nickel) which can be irritable, often causes allergies and does not help infections heal! Yet, it’s still used by most piercers because it can be autoclaved, inexpensive and is easy to find in a million styles.

Stainless Steel Body Jewelry


Titanium is what is considered to be the all-end-all of piercing materials. It’s able to be properly sterilized, is light to wear, is more durable than surgical steel, it’s rare to have an allergic reaction to it, and gives off a beautiful metallic shine or anodized to create a range of pretty colors. What more could you want? For a more in depth run down check out our guide to hypoallergenic jewelry here.

Titanium Piercing Jewelry


Niobium is a soft hypoallergenic metal that’s safe for use in initial piercings and stretching. While it might sound too good to be true there are some setbacks. It’s heavier than surgical steel and titanium, more expensive, is too soft to use in jewelry that needs threading to screw ends on.

Gold & Silver

Contrary to common belief precious metals like gold and silver aren’t great for new piercings. They can’t be autoclaved and contain nickel that causes allergies and reactions. These metals are for special event jewelry, not for everyday use!

14kt Piercing Jewelry


There are two types of silicone – medical and industrial. Medical grade is the kind that should be used closely with the body! It’s also the type that is able to be autoclaved safely. Industrial grade is not good for the body – it’s better used for car parts! And it will melt in an autoclave.


Glass piercing jewelry is safe to use in new and stretching piercings. It can be thrown into an autoclave and properly cleaned and at the same time can be as versatile as some acrylics!

Glass Body Piercing Jewelry


Acrylic jewelry gets a bad rap because so much of it is made from plastic materials that are not good for fresh piercings. But opposite to common thought there are some medical grade plastics out there that can be used on new piercings and can be cleaned with an autoclave. These are dental acrylic, bioplast and bioflex. These medical grade acrylics are great for balls that are in close contact with teeth, industrials and for use in piercing retainers because they’re flexible and light!

Stone, Wood & Other Organic Jewelry

Organic plugs cannot be autoclaved and are such not suitable for initial piercings or stretching. The organic materials can often be porous and harbor bacteria, especially if they are bone or other animal products.

Organic jewelry is fragile. Wood and animal bones need to be kept away from water and oiled regularly in order to avoid cracking.

Organic Plugs & Gauges

What material do you use for your piercings? Do you have a favorite?