2A.2 NON METAL MATERIALS
Acrylic jewelry is most often worn in enlarged piercings when
jewelry is desired. Acrylic is not intended to be worn in fresh or
piercings. There is some debate among piercers regarding the safety of
term wear. Acrylic has not been clinically proven to be safe for wear
body. Jewelry should be inspected frequently for scratches which can
irritate the piercing and trap bacteria.
Acrylic is very brittle and will shatter under stress. For releasing
in captive bead rings, first warm the ring in the palm of your hand; do
use ring-expanding pliers. Acrylic cannot be autoclaved. Extended
to any type of alcohol will degrade acrylic jewelry.
Nylon / Teflon
Monofilament nylon and teflon are used where a more flexible piece of
jewelry is desired or if the wearer is senstive to metals. Both can be
Securing monofilament is often difficult. Appropriately bored threaded
balls can be screwed onto the ends; the metal threads will cut threads
the monofilament. The ends may be flattened into a disc shape using a
knife but the results may not be smooth or comfortable.
2A.2a Report on FDA Approved Acrylic
by Michael Hare
The Exotic Body, Sacramento, California http://www.exoticbody.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Presented at the Association of Professional Piercers Open Meeting
Edited by Anne Greenblatt
We have found a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acrylic
copolymer (hereby referred to as "our acrylic"). Our acrylic provides
superior resistance to stress hazing and surface grazing when compared
straight acrylic. The FDA has approved our acrylic for applications in
it is in contact with the body. Our acrylic meets USP XXI Class VI
guidelines for medical devices.
The USP XXI Class VI testing is done by United States Pharmacopoeia
conducts biological tests for Class VI plastics. It has been determined
our acrylic meets USP XXI Class VI specifications and therefore is
acceptable for use in medical applications. Cytotoxicity as well as
Hemolysis tests were also done. The cytotoxicity test determine the
of cell destruction caused by exposing certain cell cultures to an
of the polymer. The Hemolysis test determines the degree of destruction
blood cells that occurs when specific extracts of the polymer are
into the blood. The results of these tests show that our acrylic is
non-toxic as well as non-hemolytic.
It is our position that no glow-in-the-dark acrylic can be safe for the
body. The phosphorescent material is carcinogenic. It should not be in
contact with the body for any time. The alternative is UV or Black Lite
acrylic which is reactive under a black light and appears to glow. This
material is not carcinogenic.
Sterilization and Disinfection of Acrylic
At this time no known acrylic jewelry can be sterilized by autoclave. We
have tested our acrylic in the most frequently used cold sterilization
MadaCide: After soaking for 72 hours there was no cracking or
of the jewelry.
Isopropyl alcohol (91%): Soaking for 48 hours yielded the same result.
We are in the process of looking into Gamma Ray Radiation sterilization. http://www.pier
2A.3 ORGANIC MATERIALS
Thanks to Erica Skadsen / Organic for the information contained in this
article. Please visit her webpage for photos and more information, at
Hardwoods are most often used to make plugs for enlarged piercings,
ear lobe, labret, and septum piercings. Hardwoods are natural materials
work in harmony with the body. They can "breathe" with a piercing and
an interchange of oils. Wood stays warmer than metals. Wood does not
the bad odor plastics can develop.
Hardwoods are broad-leafed, deciduous trees (angiospermous). The term
"hardwood" does not actually refer to hardness: for example, balsa is a
hardwood. The part of the tree normally used is the center heartwood,
darker and denser than the surrounding sapwood.
A few species of wood commonly used for jewelry, furniture and inlays
endangered or threatened. These species are regulated by CITES, the
International Trade of Endangered Species. Endangered species include
Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). Threatened species include Mexican
mahogany (Swietenia humilis) and Carribean mahogany (Swietenia
Commoner (Guaiacum officinale), and Holywood lignum vitae aka "Tree of
(Guaiacum sanctum), Bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), and
mahogany (Swietenia meliaceae). In some cases, wood from threatened
acquired by salvage or through sustainable harvesting.
Grain (fibers within the wood) is considered either open or closed.
Open-grained woods may collect bacteria, shed skin tissue, and dirt and
generally should not be used for jewelry.
The overall shape and dimensions of the piece should be consistent and
appropriate for the particular piercing with room to allow for possible
swelling. The finish should be free from scratches, pits or tool marks.
piece should be free of raised grain (wood fibers), even when wet.
varies from species to species and the wood may or may not shine. An
plug will appear dull.
Because hardwoods are porous and readily absorb and release moisture,
bacteria, hardwood plugs are best worn in healed piercings and dry
the body. Because hardwood jewelry cannot be sterilized it should
handled by clean hands and only worn by one person. Autoclaving hardwood
jewelry may cause it to crack, split, and warp. Hardwood jewelry should
cleaned regularly with a non-chemical soap that is safe for the body.
oil can also be used; prior to use a patch test is recommended to test
allergy. Hardwood jewelry should be oiled after cleaning to benefit the
and aid insertion.
The type of finish applied is usually an oil and sometimes a sealant.
finishing oils and sealing products contain chemicals, toxins, solvents,
petroleum or animal products, or pigments. Using a finish that entirely
a hardwood plug eliminates the purpose of wearing wood. I usually
non-toxic oil or wax. Food grade oils such as olive and peanut are
safe but may break down (turn rancid) with heat and time; pieces
using food grade oils should be washed and re-oiled periodically to
turning rancid. Waxes can be animal or vegetable based; waxes may come
with heat or be rubbed off while cleaning. I do not recommend using
most are chemical or solvent based and can fade or enter the
Some people are allergic to certain hardwoods. A sensitivity to
also be acquired with exposure. The risk of developing a sensitivity to
certain hardwoods is increased for those who work with the woods by way
dust which is produced in the production process. The hardwoods likely
cause allergic reactions include all woods within the Dalbergia genera,
rosewoods: African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), Brazilian rosewood
(Dalbergia nigra), Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), Indian rosewood, aka
blackwood (Dalbergia latifolia), Kingwood aka Violetwood (Dalbergia
cearensis), Tulipwood (Dalbergia frutescus), Teak (Tectona grandis),
Purpleheart aka Amaranth (Peltogyne spp.); and possibly Greenheart and
Satinwood (Chloroxylon swietenia). Some woods may be very hard to
for example, African blackwood can masquerade as ebony.
Bamboo is not a wood but a grass. Several thousand different species
ranging from tiny plants to huge towering trees. Many species are light
yellow, tan, or green; some can be purplish or black. Most species are
in color; some can be striped or spotted.
Bamboo stalks are hollow and segmented with solid portions of culm.
lightweight; its cross-section may be round, oval, or slightly cardioid
(heart-shaped). The outside of the bamboo is naturally smmoth and
and should not be removed to make plugs. The inside is normally whitish
may have a papery lining which is usually removed or is shed over time.
2A.3c Ivory, Horn, Antler
Thanks to Jesse Jarrell <email@example.com
> for the information
in this article. Please visit his webpage for photos and more
All of these materials are somewhat porous and readily absorb moisture
skin oils. This can lead to cracking in a few of these materials.
of moisture can be avoided by coating or pressure impregnating the
with a substance such as bee's wax or a hypoallergenic sealant. I would
recommend oiling ivory or horn jewelry as it will tend to promote
rather than deter it.
Skin oils make these materials more flexible. With designs such as the
bead ring, this can result in lost beads if the carver does not adjust
expansion. I recommend using a coating or some type of pressure
prevent the ring from becoming flexible. Untreated captive bead rings
be very tight before they have been worn. If you are afraid of breaking
untreated ring you should wear the ring without the bead for about a
soften the ring.
Mammoth ivory is easily acquired in Alaska, Siberia and other places
has been preserved underground in permafrost for thousands of years.
miners often find it during erosion mining in glacial silt. Because of
age mammoth ivory is difficult to acquire in large solid pieces. Ivory
softer than most stone and is flexible which makes it ideal for
delicate carvings. The foremost disadvantage of using aged or
for body jewelry is that it absorbs skin oils which causes it crack.
ivory ranges in color from a cream white to a medium brown. Darker
more fragile and will crack with moisture much more easily, making it
unsuitable for delicate work.
Most sources of fresh ivory such as elephant tusks are subject to legal
restrictions. Two sources of unrestricted ivory are warthog and
tusks. Fresh ivory does not have the same problems with cracking that
Dall Sheep Horn
Dall sheep horn is semi-transparent material with an opaque white
advantage of sheep horn is its superior flexibility over other organic
materials. Sheep horn tends to distort or bend when exposed to moisture
skin oils. Body jewelry that must to hold a precise shape or is
tension, like a captive bead ring, must be stabilized.
Water Buffalo Horn
When polished, water buffalo horn looks similar to ebony. It is not as
flexible as sheep horn and has a much stronger grain, which makes
detailed work more difficult. Because of the grain it will crack with
to skin oils and thus cannot be used for body jewelry unless stabilized.
Moose, Elk and Deer Antler
Antler varies in color from ivory white to shades of brown and gray and
sometimes has a purplish hue near the surface. White antler can be
indistinguishable from ivory in appearance. Antler will almost never
with exposure to moisture or skin oils. It is an excellent substitute
ivory because of its comparative cost, availability, and durability.
it is a bit softer and more porous than ivory, resulting in less
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