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Topic: Earth clay-is it ok for stretched ears?  (Read 6386 times)
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« on: May 06, 2008 01:48:39 PM »

Ok I know fimo and all that stuff isnt good for your ears-dont try and convince me it is; I wont put it in my ears but, what about natural regular clay is that fine for gauges and such? thanks
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008 03:38:06 PM »

I wouldn't count on it. Clay is porous and pretty dirty in the sense that it's impossible to sterilize. If you want to wear jewelry made from any clay, wear it through ear skins. Same effect but much, much safer.

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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008 09:14:22 PM »

please, let me save you a lot of trouble. do not put anything porous in your ears. not ever. porous = really bad news. anything porous will not clean well (and can't be autoclaved) so it will grow nasty stuff and will hurt your ears. the skin inside piercings (its called a fistula) is technically unnatural. its very thin and fragile. anything porous is actually quite rough and in addition to irritating the skin, the skin can actually grow into the clay... so when you take out the earring the fistula comes with it.
this issue has been discussed in length over on the fimo tunnel thread, and was mentioned there- sealants won't really work either. varnishes and sealants aren't really intended for insertion into the body, there is not guarantee that they won't flake or be toxic.
surgical steel, acrylic or ideally glass are your best options. wood, horn, stone, fimo etc might be fine for a day or two but you have to keep an eye on them. the more inert the material is, the safer it is.

Diane B.
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008 12:33:40 PM »

If you fire and then kiln-glaze earth clay though, it won't then be porous and should be fine (though breakable, and possibly heavy).

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008 11:22:32 PM »

Diane B has a point- when i heard clay, i thought earthenware- type clay. i'm sure a fine ceramic wouldn't be porous, but if the surface is not smooth, you are going to have problems. and if it is excessively heavy, the weight of the earring can cause uneven stretching. whatever you choose to do- be smart, and be kind to your body.

« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2008 02:19:04 PM »

Yeah I was thinking like thin ceramic clay disks fired and glazed-unfinshed clay I know is porous and not good for your ears
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008 04:03:22 PM »

If you are going to try the glazed discs, do be careful about the glaze you use.  You don't want to be absorbing any of the numerous nasty things that can be in them.  Food-safe all the way.

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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008 09:22:34 PM »

I am making some earth clay plugs to fire and glaze(food safe and all that) But im having problems getting the gauge to fit my ear-any suggestions?
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2008 04:32:39 PM »

This seems to be a really easy way to figure out the size you need to make something so that it will fire to the size you want.  It seems easy enough.  Here is a chart showing gauges, inches, and millimeters.

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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008 06:16:01 AM »

Body Modification Ezine (http://www.bmezine.com) is arguably the best website regarding body modification.  Here is one of the articles about the various types of jewelry.  Because it's too long to to have it all in one post, it's divided into two.  There is no mention of clay, but I hope you find it useful nevertheless.



The metals used for body jewelry are chosen for their
bio-compatibility, or
"body friendly" quality. However, some metals are more bio-compatible
others due to their specific compositions, or alloys. Please refer to
6, section 6.5, for more information about metal sensitivities.

Piercing jewelry manufacturing is unregulated in the United States and
largely unregulated in the rest of the world. Reputable manufacturers
disclose material specification certificates for the metals they use.
see section 2A.1a for an article about material specification and ASTM
ISO standards.


1 karat = 1/24th of the alloy is pure gold

Only solid gold of at least 14 karat (58.3% gold) is appropriate for
jewelry. Some piercers prefer to use only 18k gold (75% gold) in fresh

Gold-filled and gold-plated or jewelry is not appropriate. Gold plating
very thin and can wear away quickly with the friction to which body
jewelry is
exposed. Bending the jewelry after it is plated will cause the plating
fracture and chip.

Some people are sensitive to the metals present in karat gold, namely
nickel, silver, zinc and copper. White gold often causes more adverse
reactions than yellow gold because a high amount of nickel is used to
the white color. Many body jewelry manufacturers now use nickel-free
alloys. White gold alloyed with palladium, an inert metal of the
group, instead of nickel is less likely to cause a metal sensitivity.
people who cannot wear steel alloys can wear 18k white gold palladium

Green or pink gold should not be worn because of the higher
concentration of
copper and zinc used to produce the color.

Some people's perspiration is acidic enough to corrode the non-gold
in karat gold, evident by blackening of the jewelry and discoloration
of the
surrounding skin. Over a long period of time gold jewelry exposed to
may acquire a rough, dull surface. The acids found in urine leach into
surface and dries to form a hard crust. Buffing or polishing the jewelry
will remove this build-up. Daily cleaning of the jewelry will prevent

Gold jewelry will often become discolored when exposed to povidone
Gold jewelry may become discolored when steam autoclaved; the
indicators on
sterilization packaging and tape appear to cause discoloration.
jewelry can easily be repolished with a soft buffing cloth.

Jewelry that has undergone surface depletion, or pickling, will be less
likely to discolor. Pickling is a process of heating the jewelry or
submersing it in a weak acid which removes oxidation of non-gold alloys
the surface of the metal.


Niobium is an elemental metal and is strong yet flexible and is slightly
heavier than 316L stainless steel. Niobium is chemically non-reactive.
people are sensitive to niobium.

Niobium jewelry is available in a range of colors which are produced
anodizing, not dyeing. During anodizing, the jewelry is submerged in an
electrolyte solution and voltage is applied. Anodizing creates an oxide
layer on the jewelry. The color results from refraction of light
through the
oxide layer, and the thickness of the layer determines the resulting
The voltage applied during anodizing determines the thickness of the
The anodized oxide eventually wears away, causing the color to fade or
change; how long the process will take depends on the thickness of the
layer is and the amount of friction and wear on the jewelry.

Black niobium is achieved by heating the niobium until it is red-hot and
cooling it. After blackening, the jewelry can be polished. Black niobium
will not fade.

Niobium jewelry is available in matte ("satin") or high-polish
finishes. Niobium is very porous making it difficult to achieve a high
Poorly polished niobium can retain polishing compound residue which is
toxic. Matte finish niobium should not be used for new or healing
because the pores can trap bacteria and the rough surface will to
adhere to
the interior of the piercing, causing it to tear when the jewelry is


Platinum and metals in the platinum group such as palladium are
inert, making them excellent choices for body jewelry. However,
platinum is
economically impractical for most manufacturers and consumers. Platinum
also very heavy which makes platinum jewelry inappropriate for some

Stainless Steel

Of the many stainless steels available, only 316L and 316LVM are
for use as body jewelry. 316L is a low-carbon variety of 316. 316LVM is
that has been vacuum melted; the vacuum prevents any air or airborne
contaminants to attach to the molecules in the metal, resulting in a
consistent steel. For most people, however, that the steel be 316LVM is
a necessity to heal and maintain a healthy piercing.

316L / 316LVM stainless steel is comprised of several metals including
nickel, to which some people are sensitive. However, the specific
composition of 316L / 316LVM allows for very little exposure to the
molecules, thus reducing the risk of sensitivity.

The jewelry should be polished to a reflective shine (mirror finish),
from rough edges, tool marks, and wire-drawing lines and pitting which
present in the surface of the steel when it arrives from the mill. When
polished, true 316L is a white, not grey, metal. Under-polishing will be
most evident along the inside of the ring where polishing is most

316L arrives from the steel manufacturer at specified degrees of
Most jewelry manufacturers use the least-hard (1/4 hard) steel
available for
rings. Working the steel and forming the steel into rings hardens it to
degree. Annealing, a controlled heating and cooling process performed
in a
vacuum, yields a more flexible steel, resistant to metal fatigue. Most
piercers and jewelry manufacturers agree that steel rings should be
to some degree or made from annealed wire because an annealed ring is
to safely and quickly manipulate for insertion; pliers are often
for manipulating thinner gauge rings. However, the softer (more
the ring, the easier it is scratched by tools or simply by daily wear.
trade-off of using non-annealed rings is that harder rings require
tools to
manipulate, increasing the chance of scratching the jewelry during
insertion. Very hard rings cannot be torqued open at all; bending can
the ring to break or create fractures invisible to the unaided eye
which can
trap bacteria.

316L is classified as an austenitic steel. Austenitic steels are
non magenetic when annealed, although some may become slightly magnetic
cold working (bending and shaping).

Silver / Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver alloyed with copper or some other
metal. Sterling silver jewelry is usually marked "925."

While silver and sterling silver jewelry can often be safely worn in
piercings, neither should be worn in a new or unhealed piercing or in a
piercing that is located in a moist area of the body such as the mouth

Silver tarnishes quickly. When worn in a new piercing, the tarnish can
deposited into the skin causing it to darken or turn grey, often

Silver is very soft and is easily scratched. Scratches in the jewelry
surface can easily irritate even a healed piercing and trap bacteria,
encouraging infection.


Titanium is an extremely lightweight, elemental metal. The specific
used for body jewelry is 6AL4V (60 parts aluminum, 40 parts vanadium),
specifically 136 grade with extra low interstitial elements. (4)

"Titanium is the most bio-compatible of all metals due to its total
resistance to attack by body fluids." (1) Titanium is often used in
permanent surgical implants where the tissue is encouraged to
assimilate the
implant; the pores in the metal allow for the tissue to attach. When
titanium is used for body jewelry it should be highly polished to

When exposed to air or water, titanium immediately reacts with oxygen to
create a thin, inert oxide layer. While the titanium alloy contains
and vanadium, the oxide layer does not contain any traces of either

Titanium jewelry is available in a range of colors which are produced
through anodizing, not dyeing. During anodizing, the jewelry is
submerged in
an electrolyte solution and voltage is applied. Anodizing creates an
layer on the jewelry. The color results from refraction of light
through the
oxide layer, and the thickness of the layer determines the resulting
The voltage applied during anodizing determines the thickness of the
The anodized oxide eventually wears away, causing the color to fade or
change; how long the process will take depends on the thickness of the
layer is and the amount of friction and wear on the jewelry. Unanodized
titanium is light to medium grey in color.

Black-colored titanium is produced by coating titanium with titanium
through a process called Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). Titanium
is not biocompatible and does not meet the specifications established
"implant grade" materials set forth by the ASTM and ISO. In addition,
the coating will not have the smooth a finish necessary for body


(1) Internation Titanium Association, http://www.titanium.net

(2) Reactive Metals Studio Inc.,

(3) TI Specialties, http://www.callamer.com/~ezecho/tispec.html

(4) Gilliam, Brian; Anatometal, Inc. http://www.anatometal.com
    Report presented at the Association of Professional Piercings Open
    Meeting, May 1998

2A.1a Report on Stainless Steel
      by Sean Christian
      Anatometal Inc. Body Jewelry, Santa Cruz, California
      Presented at the Association of Professional Piercers Open Meeting
      May 1998
      Edited by Anne Greenblatt


Surgical Stainless Steel: The term "surgical stainless steel" is not a
technical term. It is a term that was originally coined by knife and
cookware manufactures. It brought more marketable value to the material
they used. "Surgical stainless steel" is a generic term for a variety of
different grades of steel and is not commonly found in any medical or
metallurgical reports. There are no standards set for this type of

Implant Grade Stainless Steel: "Implant grade stainless steel" is a more
accurate term for the steel used in body jewelry. There are standards
for what materials can be called implant grade. There are currently
only two
different types of stainless steel that commonly match these standards:
and 316LVM. These materials have been employed successfully in human
implants that are in contact with soft tissue and bone for more than a

316L and 316LVM: Designations for types of steel that meet the
standards for
"implant grade." 316 is the designation number. The "L" in these two
designations stands for low carbon. The "VM" stands for vacuum melted.
of these materials meet the ASTM designation F138 for "Implant Grade
Stainless steel" and the ISO standard 5832-1 and 6892 for "Surgical
Material" and "Requirements Against Nickel Allergies."

The ASTM and ISO

American Society of Testing and Materials:  The ASTM is a
organization that compiles information and makes standards for
materials, and methods for just about everything. These standards are
considered to be of the highest qualities.

International Organization for Standards:  The ISO (which is not an
it is short for the Greek word isos meaning equal) is the European
of the ASTM. The ISO is trying to standardize all European trade and
manufacturing methods.

ASTM "F" Series:  The "F" series of the ASTM designations concern
grade materials" and are the guidelines for FDA approval of materials
used in
medical products. Responsible manufactures of any medical product
comply with
these standards.

ASTM F138 Grade 1 & 2:  F138 is the designation number for the "Standard
Specification for Stainless Steel Bar and Wire for Surgical Implants."
standard characterizes composition and properties to insure consistency
medical implant devices. 316L adheres to grade 1 and 316LVM adheres to
1 and 2. Implant Grade Stainless Steel is chemically inert and
atraumatic to
the body so as not to react with the surrounding tissues or the immune


The milling of stainless steel wire used in captive bead rings (not to
confused with bar stock that is used in barbells) work-hardens the wire
to a
point that it loses some of its corrosion resistance properties. It
these properties to be considered implant grade.

Annealing is a process of heat treating metal. It involves heating
steel to
about one half of its melting point and cooling it in a controlled
environment. Annealing stainless steel serves to produce changes in the
physical condition, mechanical properties and residual stress levels of
metal. Specifically, the annealing process serves to reduce the
tendencies of the work-hardened metal. During annealing, chromium
which markedly decrease resistance to inter-granular corrosion, are
Annealing literally cleans up the metal.

We all know that annealed jewelry is easier to work with, and what we
need to
understand is that non-annealed jewelry might not be safe to use in


There are purposes for polishing the surface of bead rings other than
aesthetics. A mirror finish is required for implant devices; the metal
be gray, blurred, or dull. When finished properly, stainless steel is
resistant to degradation by the body's internal environment. Having a
finish will improve impact strength, decrease corrosion, and produce a
non-porous surface that will not harbor bacteria.

Individuals do not have problems with the material content. Rather,
they have
problems if the material is not finished properly and breaks apart due
wear, fatigue, and material fragment build ups. The surface of the
metal must
be free of any nicks, scratches, or burrs that increase surface area
and allow
for bacterial colonization which interferes with the body's healing

How pleased can one sun setting make you, if you humble yourself to it?  -Ani DiFranco
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