A Guide to Different Types of Body Piercings, Ear Piercings & More

Choose quality over flash when it comes to body piercing jewelry. Research styles, metals, and reputable studios for comfortable healing. Learn more here.

Understanding Your Choices Before Your Piercing Appointment

Different Types of Body Piercing Jewelry We Offer at North York Ink

When you hear the word ‘jewelry’, your brain probably lights up with images of rappers in convertible sports cars, draped in gold chains and diamond-studded watches. 

Or, you might imagine the duchess of some faraway land cozied up on her 50-foot stone balcony, gazing over her thousand acres of plush green nothingness.

One hand clutches her pearls, the other hand, with a pinkie perched, sips out of the finest china, both hands covered in white silk gloves and ridiculously large diamonds hanging from her ear lobes.

Either way, you get the point. Ballers. 

Though there are some pretty flashy pieces of body jewelry available to you – the option to ‘ball out’ should be second to the style of jewelry (CBR, barbell, labret, etc.) and third to the quality of jewelry.

It is important to do your research and find a reputable piercing studio that understands the importance of using the right body jewelry for specific piercing placements.

So whether you are looking to get a new piercing or just curious about the different types of piercings and which jewelry will work best, we have you covered!

Keep reading because we are going to go over the different piercing options, what body piercing(s) they are typically used for, and the best kind of metals for the initial healing period.


Labret jewelry refers to any straight stud that is flat on one end – typically the bottom, and threads at the other end – typically the top (either internally or externally) and is a very commonly used piece of jewelry.

The labret is super versatile and is very comfortable during the healing stage. 

The name ‘labret’ suggests that this jewelry is used primarily on ‘Labret Piercings’, and that would not be inaccurate.

However, the labret is probably used just as often for ear piercings and nose (we prefer corkscrew) piercings.

Here are some piercings you will typically see the labret:

  • Labret (lip piercing)
  • Earlobe piercing
  • Tragus piercing
  • Helix piercing
  • Nose piercing

You can purchase Llabret jewelry in many different lengths, widths, and materials to suit your needs.

Getting the right size of jewelry and choosing the right metal for your body is crucial to the healing process.

Having a piece of jewelry too short or too long can lead to a bunch of different healing complications.

The standard size of a labret bar is 8mm in length and 16 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Circular Barbell or ‘Horseshoe’

The circular barbell, more commonly referred to as the ‘horseshoe’, looks just like, you guessed it – a horseshoe!

Horseshoe jewelry is one of the most commonly used for septum piercing but is one of the most versatile body jewelry. It can be used in almost every piercing. 

There are two removable balls on each end of the jewelry that makes it easy for you to remove and insert your jewelry.

You can even switch out these balls for something more unique, like spikes or gems. 

Here are some piercings best suited for the circular barbell:

  • Septum piercing
  • Rook piercing
  • Forward helix piercing
  • Lobes piercing
  • Conch piercing
  • Labret piercing

The list goes on!

Circular Barbells, like all other jewelry, come in different lengths, widths, and materials to suit your needs.

The standard size of a circular barbell is 8mm in length and 16 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Belly Button Jewelry

Belly button jewelry, unlike labret jewelry, is typically only used for one piercing – the belly button.

Belly bars are essentially larger curved barbells (we will get into what a CBR is later), and they are designed to mimic the angle of your belly button to make the jewelry feel more comfortable.

Most belly bars have one large removable ball at the bottom and a smaller one at the top. It is not uncommon, nor will it cause an issue, to have both of these balls the same size.

Here are some piercings you might see for belly button bars:

  • Belly button piercings

A much shorter list than the one before!

The standard size of a belly bar is 10mm in length and 14 gauge or 2mm in diameter.

Straight Barbell Jewelry

A straight barbell refers to a straight piece of jewelry with 2 removable balls on each end and is a piercing essential.

They are simple, versatile, and easy to customize.

Straight barbell jewelry, like the circular barbells, can essentially be used for almost every piercing but is most commonly used in tongue piercings, you can learn more about tongue piercings here.

Here are some other piercings you might see a straight barbell:

  • Nipple piercings
  • Eyebrow piercings
  • Industrial piercings
  • Genital piercings

Straight Barbells come in a plethora of different shapes and sizes as their use is so versatile.

For example, you will need a much higher gauge of barbell when piercing things like tongue piercings and genital piercings, and a much longer barbell when doing an industrial piercing.

Whereas you can probably get away with a much smaller gauge and length for the nipple and eyebrow piercing.

The standard size for a straight barbell is 8mm in length and 16 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Ball Closure Rings

Ball closure rings are similar to circular barbells in that they are – circular.

The big difference, however, is that these rings close with a captive bead to complete the circle.

The captive bead in the middle has one dimple on each side that allows the ends of the barbell to sit in, making it one of the most secure body jewelry.

Ball closure rings rely on tension to keep the bead in place and may seem difficult to open at first, but the concept is very simple.

In order to open the ring – the ball must be removed, to close it – the ball must be replaced. It is really that simple.

If you ever have difficulty with one of these pieces of jewelry, invest in a pair of ring-opening pliers, they will save you a lot of time.

Here are some piercings you might typically see a ball closure ring:

  • Septum piercing
  • Daith piercing
  • Helix piercing
  • Lobe piercing
  • Eyebrow piercing

And more!

Ball closure rings come in all different sizes and materials, another versatile piece of jewelry.

Corkscrew Nose Stud

Corkscrew nose studs are our choice of nose jewelry for a number of reasons.

This style of nose ring is curved at the end and, for that reason, is often called a ‘curved nose ring’ or a ‘nose screw’.

Its unique shape actually forces you to ‘screw’ the piercing into the nose rather than just push it in, like a labret.

Allowing it to feel more secure and less likely to fall out, which is why it is our choice of nose jewelry. 

Here are some piercings you will typically see a corkscrew nose stud:

  • The nose

Not much to see here. This jewelry was made specifically with nose piercings in mind and is not very versatile at all. 

The standard size of a corkscrew nose stud is about 8mm in internal diameter and 18 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Smooth Segment Rings

Smooth Segment Rings, often referred to as clickers or sleepers (for their function and level of comfortability), are circular rings, completely smooth all the way around with no break in the jewelry.

This makes for a much more comfortable piece of jewelry, and because of its smoothness, it can be rotated 360 degrees in your piercing, which makes cleaning a lot easier. 

All of these factors result in less healing time.

Because of its smooth surface, SSRs are less likely to snag on clothing or hair, making them much more comfortable to wear and less likely to cause irritation – when compared to other jewelry.

You will likely see SSRs when it comes to the following piercing placements: 

  • Lobe piercings
  • Nose piercings
  • Daith piercings
  • Helix piercings
  • Labret piercings

Smooth segment rings come in many different sizes and materials, making them a very versatile piece of body jewelry. 

The standard size of a smooth segment ring is about 8mm in internal diameter and 18 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Curved Barbell

The curved barbell displays almost identical characteristics and uses as the straight barbell.

The only difference is it’s curved.

That’s it, the practical uses are pretty much the same.

If ANYTHING the curved barbell is a little more versatile as the shape of the CBR is much more forgiving and shapes to certain parts of your body that a straight barbell cannot. 

CBRs have 2 removable balls on each end of the jewelry and are another piercing essential.

Here are some piercings placements where you might typically see the CBR:

  • Helix piercings
  • Daith piercings
  • Eyebrow piercings
  • Belly button piercings
  • Vertical Llabret piercings
  • Rook piercings

Curved barbells come in all different lengths and widths, making them one of the MOST versatile body jewelry.

Size up for a belly button piercing, size down for a rook – they really are that versatile. 

The standard size for a CBR is 8mm in length and 16 gauge or 1.2mm in diameter.

Different Types of Metals We Use at North York Ink

At our reputable piercing studio, we take great care to provide high-quality materials!

Our number one choice of metal for our jewelry at North York Ink is implant-grade titanium.

Titanium is one of the rare metals that are truly hypoallergenic, which, and many of its other benefits, is why we use it. 

Metals like surgical steel, low-grade gold (under 14kt), and sterling silver all contain a generous amount of nickel which is what most of our clients are allergic to.

Recognizing that, we chose to go full titanium for all of our jewelry. 

Some of the other benefits of titanium include:

  • Titanium is super lightweight. Lighter than most other metals, which makes the healing process a breeze as it takes stress off of your piercing. 
  • It has a high strength-to-density ratio. Meaning titanium is less dense (making it lightweight) than most other metals but just as strong, if not stronger. Making it less likely to bend or break.
  • Titanium can be anodized. The natural color of titanium is charcoal gray, which, if you ask me, is good as is. However, one of the cool things about titanium is that you can change its color without compromising the other benefits of the jewelry through a process called anodization. 

It is important to understand that everyone’s body heals differently.

Some people will have allergic reactions to certain types of metals, while others are not.

Some people have thicker skin (literally), while others might have thin skin (also literally, we mean no offense).

This is why it is imperative that you find the right piercing studio with a knowledgeable piercer to make sure that you get the service that is best suited for your body piercing – and reduce the risk of infection.

The size/style of jewelry and type of metal is super important, and it is usually the job of your piercer to explain this to you.

In case you get one of those one size fits all piercers, refer to this article anytime you feel unsure!

Ditch the Cheap Bling and Upgrade to North York Ink’s High-Quality Jewelry

While flashy body jewelry may catch your eye, it’s crucial to prioritize the style and quality of jewelry when it comes to piercings.

At North York Ink, we offer a variety of jewelry options. So, whether you’re looking to adorn your lobes, tragus, septum, or other body parts, we’ve got you covered with high-quality options.

Don’t settle for cheap, uncomfortable jewelry that can lead to complications during the healing process!

Contact North York Ink today to book a piercing appointment and get started on your piercing journey with the best jewelry options available.

Hit us up at info@northyorkink.com or call us at (647) 501 8222. 

Happy Healing!

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Welcome to North York Ink! A local tattoo & piercing studio providing the community of North York with quality tattoos and piercings close to home. When hard work and devotion merge with passion and creativity, the possibilities are endless.