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Piercing & Jewelry Glossary

In this section you will find information, terms, and more about piercing the body and body jewelry. If there is something you can't find please feel free to email us.


: Type of metal that is made up of at least two different types of metals.

Anaphylactic Shock: An extreme allergic reaction to an antibiotic given to treat an infection.

Angel Bites Piercing: Nearly identical to Snake Bites, an Angel Bites piercing is performed on each side of the upper lip.

Anti-Tragus: The ridge of cartilage that is opposite the tragus, it is what comes out over the ear canal.

Argyria: When silver is leached into the pierced hole before it has had time to heal the skin around the area will often turn black.

Ashley Piercing: An adaptation of the vertical labret, Ashley piercings are inverted, meaning lower hole of the piercing exits inside the mouth leaving just the hole through the lip visible.

Attachments: Any type of an add-on that is attached to the primary body jewelry.

Autoclave: A medical sterilization device that uses high pressure steam heat to sterilize.


Barbell: A piece of jewelry with a rod that goes through the piercing and a ball at either end to hold it in place.

Belly Button Ring aka Navel Ring: Placed through the flesh at the top of the belly button and comes out the actual belly button opening.

Body Modification: Refers to any kind of procedure that deliberately changes or enhances the body for aesthetic or personal reasons, but especially certain forms of body art such as piercing, stretching, scarification and tattooing.

Bridge Piercing: A piercing horizontally through the bridge of the nose.



Calipers: A measuring device used to measure distances and thickness.

Canine Bites Piercing: Comprised of 4 single piercings done on both sides of both the upper and lower lips, Canine Bites piercings showoff a distinct combination of the Angel Bites & Snake Bites piercings.

Cannula: The plastic sleeve that's on the outside of the piercing needle the cannula stays in place after the needle is withdrawn and is then used as a guide in order to put the jewelry into place.

Captive Bead Ring (CBR): A popular style of ring that holds a bead in place tightly by clamping it between the two bent ends. The bead can only be removed by opening the ring with special pliers.

Cartilage: The tissue that gives shape to the nose and ears.

Cheek Piercings: Usually performed as a pair, Cheek piercings are facial piercings done in symmetrical fashion, partially penetrating or imitating pre-existing dimples.

Chloroxylenol: Antiseptic solution that is very good at fighting bacteria, yeasts and fungi infections.

Chondritis: A type of bacterial infection that you get in the cartilage.

Circular Barbell: A round barbell that has a small gap and balls at either end.

Clamp: A medical clamp that is used to hold either skin or other instruments during your piercing.

Claw: A piercing accessory that looks like an animal's claw.

Conch: The shell-shaped area located in the cetner region of the ear. Better known for its two types of earrings: the inner conch piercing and the outer conch piercing, the puncturing of these areas within the ear offers two similar, yet distinctive styles.

Curved Barbell: A barbell that is slightly curved or bent.

Cyber Bites Piercing: The Cyber Bites piercing essentially combines the Medusa and Labret piercings by placing one centered piercing each above and below the top and bottom lips.



Dahlia Piercing: Rendered at the corners of the mouth, the Dahlia piercing is usually done in pairs though a single piercing is often done for its uniqueness.

Daith: Part of the ear that broadens out slightly extending down from the upper curve of the outer ear.  The daith piercing (pronounced “day-th”), involves the perforation of the crus of the helix using a curved needle so not to puncture nor damage the surrounding portions of cartilage. A receiving tube may be used to assist in the procedure to ensure the needle is caught on the other side.

Dermal Punch: Often used for biopsy in the medical field, the piercing version of a dermal punch is a round, extremely sharp blade used to make a perfectly cylindrical piercing within the ear’s cartilage where flesh is actually removed.

Dolphin Bites Piercing: Centered on the lower lip, Dolphin Bites are somewhat similar to snake bite piercings, only much closer together.


Expander: A plug that is used to stretch or enlarge a piercing.

Eyelet: A hollow tube or cylinder that is put into a punched or stretched piercing.


Fistula: A medical term referring to any opening or break in the skin that is lined throughout its length with skin. Any time a piercing has fully healed, it has formed a fistula.

Forward Helix: Quite similar to the helix (or rim), the forward helix piercing is when the frontal portion of the upper ear cartilage is accessed so that an earring can be placed. In most instances, a piercer will puncture the ear using a free-hand method when creating a forward helix piercing.


Gauge: The term they use when referring to the size of a barbell or other piece of body jewelry. The larger the opening, the smaller the gauge.


Helix: Also known as the rim, the helix piercing is where the upper ear cartilage is accessed so that an earring can be placed. In most instances, a piercer will puncture the ear using a free-hand method when creating a helix piercing.


Industrial/Scaffold: Most commonly known in the States as an industrial piercing, but also called a scaffold piercing in other countries,  is the combination of any two piercings made with a hollow piercing needle to connect a single straight piece of jewelry.


Jestrum Piercing: Protruding just above the center top lip, like the Medusa and exiting the center of the top lip itself, a Jestrum piercing is basically and upside-down vertical labret.


Keloid: The scar tissue that builds up around a piercing.


Labret: The piercing of the lower lip or the jewelry that goes there. (see Labret Piercing below)

Labret Piercing: The labret is a form of piercing done just below the center of the lower lip and above the chin.

Lobe: Undeniably, the most common portion of the ear to be pierced, the lobe is considered both the largest and softest part of the ear. Due its size, the lobe is capable of accommodating as many as three piercings.


Madonna Piercing: A piercing similar to that of the Monroe, the Madonna piercing is done on the left hand side to represent the mole on Madonna’s lip.

Mastitis: The painful inflammation of the breast tissue that is most likely caused by a bacterial infection from a nipple piercing that has not been properly cared for.

Medusa Piercing: As simple as a standard, Monroe or Madonna. Medusa piercings, however, are done directly above the center of the upper lip. This puncture is usually done with 16g (or larger) needles.

Migration: The shifting of body jewelry from its original placement.

Monroe Piercing: A single 14g, 16g or 18g fitted piercing done on the right side of the upper lip, Monroe piercings are named for the mole the late Marilyn Monroe had on her lip.


Nipple Rings: This straight or curved barbell goes through the back of the nipple it can be a man or a woman.

Nipple Shields: Decorative jewelry that goes around the nipple and is held in place by the nipple ring that goes through it.

Nose Ring: The ring that goes on a side nostril piercing.

Nose Stud: Nose jewelry that is a straight or curved bar with only one ball on the outer end. To be inserted into a side nostril piercing.


Oral piercings: Piercings that are done to the mouth, including tongue, lip, cheek and labret piercings.

O-Ring: A rubber ring that fits on the end of a plug to keep it in place in your piercing.


Parking: When piercings shift slightly to one side or the other, like a belly button piercing, because it is more comfortable.

Piercing Gun: A spring-loaded device used to shoot a piercing stud through soft tissue for piercing.

Piercing Needle: A needle specifically used to pierce a small hole in the flesh to allow jewelry to be passed through.

Plug: A solid plug that can be made of different materials that is placed in a stretched piercing, usually in an earlobe.


: When a piercing has been poorly placed and it rubs against the bone and causes it to disintegrate over time.

Retainer: Body jewelry that is clear and is for keeping a piercing open but not noticeable.

Ring Closing Pliers: Pliers that you use to reduce the gap in body jewelry such as captive bead rings without doing any damage to the jewelry.

Ring Opening Pliers: Just the opposite of ring closing pliers these are designed for opening body jewelry.

Rook: The piercing of the anti-helix, and that is the cartilage part of the ear that is directly below the upper curve of the outer ear. Widely considered one of the more painful piercings because of the varying layers of cartilage the needle must puncture, the rook piercing is also known to be an extremely difficult procedure.


Septum: The cartilage that is in-between the two nasal passages of the nose.

Shark Bites Piercing: Totaling 4 piercings altogether, Shark Bites are best categorized as a pair of Spider/Viper Bites piercings, done close together and on both sides of the lower lip.

Snug: Known as a snug (or antihelix) piercing, this unique procedure encompasses the ear’s inner cartilage. A rather shallow opening when compared to other ear piercing locations, a snug piercing truly lives up to its namesake.

Spider Bites Piercing (or Viper Bites Piercing): These piercings pair in close proximity and can vary from either the left or right side of the bottom lip.

Standard Lip Piercing: Simply stated, a Standard Lip piercing is a single, off-centered piercing of the lower or upper lip, usually done with a 14 gauge or 16g.  


: A rod that is larger at one end than it is at the other end. It is used to stretch the opening of a piercing.

Tongue Barbell: Much like a standard piercing barbell, the difference is the ball at one end is not removable. This is the ball that is on the top of the tongue and the bottom ball is secured underneath the tongue.

Tongue Rims: The piercing along the outer edge of the tongue, and most likely done with rings.

Tragus: The cartilage opposite the inner curve of the ear that protrudes over the ear canal and is attached to the front side of the face. Another of the highly desired piercings is that of the tragus, a portion of cartilage, which protrudes directly in front of the ear canal. The puncture itself, which is usually not very painful due to the limited number of nerve endings in the tragus, is usually made with a small gauge hollow piercing needle.

Transverse Lobe: A 90-degree piercing of the earlobe using a 14g needle that often travels as horizontal of a course as possible, the transverse lobe piercing is truly one of the more unusual styles worn.

Tube or Tunnel: This hollow plug that is placed in a stretched piercing so that you can see through it.


UV Reactive Jewelry: This fluorescent body jewelry that is really popular right now for wearing to raves and clubs.


Vertical Labret Piercing
: Both similar and quite different to the labret, the Vertical Labret does as its name states, a piercing done vertically with one end coming out of the standard labret piercing area, and the other penetrating through the center of the lip itself.