I want a new belly button ring.
February 6, 2013 7:12 PM   Subscribe

I got my belly button pierced about 10 years ago, and have gone from wearing a ring in it everyday to only wearing one for luck. I'd like to go back to wearing one everyday.

I really like my belly button ring, but hate the way it feels when it snags, which is something that's happened more and more since my piercing has "aged" -- the little skin between the two ends of the piercing has shrunk in size and it's no longer quite as taut feeling as it was when I first got it. I've been steadily losing weight since I got the piercing, which I think is why it's not as taut feeling. Anyways, at this point, I normally wear a ring in it (curved barbell) about once a month or so.

The BEST ring I've ever had "felt" short and thin, so I'd thought it was a eyebrow ring... so, when I decided I wanted to go back to wearing one consistently, I got a really cute eyebrow ring, and the bar is actually so tiny, I'm worried about the piercing "shredding". I tried wearing it today and it felt a little stingy and painful, which is weird and worrisome for a healed piercing that's never given me any trouble. So, back to the drawing board.

Any advice for what I should look for in another ring?

Ideally, this ring would:
1. Be a little shorter than your typical navel ring
2. Be a curved barbell (or a small hoop)
3. Not be too little-kiddish/teenybopper (unless OWLS or PURPLE, lol, they're my thing)
4. Be hypoallergenic
posted by spunweb to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there a decent piercing shop in your neck of the woods? They should be able to measure your piercing and recommend, if not sell, you good quality jewelry.

I bought new earrings recently -- you'd think that'd be pretty simple -- and my shop took a few measurements (in addition to knowing the non-conventional gauge) and the final jewelry was perfect.
posted by sock puppet du jour at 7:45 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out bodyartforms.com, it is the best body jewelry site out there - great selections, great prices, great customer service. As to type of jewelry, yeah, the gauge of the eyebrow bar is too small. The standard for navel piercings is 14g, which is almost certainly what yours is, don't go any smaller than that (smaller gauges are higher numbers e.g., your eyebrow bar is probably 16 or 18g.)

The gauge is the most important, then look at the length of the curved barbell. You can measure the eyebrow bar you have to get an idea of what will fit your piercing. (And if you order from bodyartforms, they include a really handy gauge and length card that will be helpful for determining jewelry sizes in the future.) Most barbells that are sold specifically as navel jewelry will come in standard sizes that are probably too long, so I would buy a plain 14g curved barbell in the length you determine is right for you, then buy different ends, maybe some pretty jeweled balls. Just make sure they say they will fit a 14g barbell, which they probably will, since it is the most common gauge.

Be careful if you decide to buy cheap jewelry from places like Hot Topic or other mall stores. It is junk, likely to be made of substandard metals, and you'll probably have difficulty finding pieces that are in standard lengths. You want high-grade stainless steel, titanium, gold, etc. No cheap metals or anything with nickel.
posted by catatethebird at 8:26 PM on February 6, 2013

P.S. standard length of most navel barbells is 7/16", standard eyebrow is 3/8" or 5/16".
Here is an awesome owl barbell. It is 3/8" long, which might work for you. I can't tell if the bottom bead is removable on this one, to be used with a different barbell, but if you see any pieces you like on this site, the staff would be glad to answer questions like that.
posted by catatethebird at 8:34 PM on February 6, 2013

Have you thought about a captive ball ring or segment ring? You can get them in different diameters and gauges.
posted by drlith at 5:37 AM on February 7, 2013

Be careful with hoops. If the piercing is starting to migrate out, hoops can exacerbate it.

Take a trip to a good piercer and have him or her make a recommendation. The right jewelry can help keep your piercing from growing out.
posted by freshwater at 7:21 AM on February 7, 2013

Best answer: Your options are buy several different cheap ones online in different sizes and find one that fits, or go to a reputable studio and get measured and buy what they recommend there. If your location was in your profile or question I might have a recommendation. Unless you end up in a really ritzy (or rip-off) studio, either route will probably cost you the same in the end.

Many people, as they age, become more sensitive to cheaper metals. I certainly did--as a teenager I could wear any old safety pin, nowadays it has to be titanium in most piercings. I know if I've put in steel by mistake because it starts to sting and get stingier the longer it's in.

The one you linked to says it's steel but is purple...which (unless things have changed in the past couple years) cannot be unless it's been painted. Only titanium and niobium (rarely used these days and very rarely threaded) can be both colored and hypoallergenic. So the uncomfortableness you experienced could be down to the size, or the shape (that owl is bound to get snagged on clothing), or the metal. Painted steel is not friendly. It could also be substandard titanium.

There is cheap jewellery of sufficient quality (in terms of the metal used) that doesn't cost the moon...but the suppliers I used to know that carried it seem to have closed (or closed their US operations).
posted by K.P. at 3:05 PM on February 7, 2013

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