Follow along as the lovely Micky gets a Madison dermal piercing.  Look for the money shot at around 47 seconds.

Before doing the piercing, Micky’s neck and upper chest are thoroughly cleansed. Then a small mark is made as a guideline for placement, and a hollow piercing needle is poked through at an angle, creating a pocket-like puncture in the skin.  Next, a microdermal anchor is inserted and twisted into place.  After a little final cleanup, Micky and her new Madison piercing are ready to shine.

dermal neck piercing being performed

Piercings that fall at the front of the neck near the center of the clavicles were first popularized in the early 90s by former adult star turned tattooist, Madison Stone.  This of course, is how they got the name “Madison.”  Originally these were performed using small curved barbells or circular jewelry like horseshoes, which made for some difficulty keeping them healthy in this high-traffic area.  Since that time though, piercings of the neck, clavicle, and chest have evolved into primarily microdermals and surface piercings, vastly extending their wearability and shelf life.

 permanent dermal neck piercings

In general, dermal piercings heal well with proper aftercare, which often includes gentle cleansings and sea salt soaks, much like standard piercings.  They can be performed in almost any location on the body, opening a massive array of piercing possibilities up to modification artists and enthusiasts.

Want more modification videos?  Then check us out on YouTube for up close shots of body piercings being performed by a professional.  ‘Til the next!

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go Chinese for Fortune Cookie Day

Celebrate Fortune Cookie Day, with fun Chinese symbol body jewelry featuring your favorite spiritual and inspirational kanji characters.

 popular kanji phrases

The beauty of Chinese as a written language is captured in these sweet pieces featuring Austrian crystal, real 14kt gold, organic black horn, and more.

 fun Chinese symbol body jewelry

Did you know?

Fortune cookies are actually not Chinese.  According to San Francisco’s Court of Historical Review, the cookies were most likely invented by Makoto Hagiwara, a prominent Japanese immigrant who designed the city’s Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  They’re believed to have been based on a traditional regional recipe for tea cakes that used to be sold in Japan called omikuji.  Later, during the Japanese internment of World War II, the cookies began to be sold in Chinese restaurants as a means of drawing in American customers, and have been popularly associated with Chinese-American food ever since.

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Keeping Up with the Threads

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body jewelry threading

Have a recurring issue changing out the jewelry in that hard to see piercing?  Then maybe it’s time to think about changing your threads.

Most body jewelry is what we call “externally threaded.”  This means that the threads are on the outside of the barbell, which makes them easy to spot, but can sometimes cause difficulty for piercings that just aren’t able to be directly looked at while you change jewelry.  We’re talking piercings of the eyebrows, lips, parts of the ear cartilage; all of them can benefit from some “internal threading.”

 external and internal threading

For internally threaded items, the ball or decorative tip holds the visible threads, and screws into the barbell, which often makes it easier to be sure that your jewelry is secured in all those hard to see places.  Just line things up, twist it in, tighten, and voila!  No more stripped jewelry pieces, crooked mishaps, or accidental loss of loose parts.  Perfect for keeping your piercings (and your sanity) intact.

 gem belly jewelry with internal threading

So how do you spot an internally threaded item?  We’re glad you asked.  Because of their uniqueness comparative to standard external items, internally threaded pieces will always be clearly labeled as such.  Also, a variety of different types of piercing jewelry will be available in internally threaded versions, so you’re sure to find something you can use in almost any piercing.  Just one more way to make your mods amazing.

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the stretching lifestyle

In tribal cultures the stretching of ear lobes and other soft tissue piercings is predominantly performed with a single method: dead stretching done with gradually larger pins and plugs.  In the western world however, there are a variety of techniques for achieving a stretched look, many of them primarily contemporary in origin.

One way that large gauge lobe piercings are achieved is by performing the initial piercing with a larger gauge needle than normal (such as a 12 gauge piercing needle) and then allowing the piercings to heal with pyrex or titanium plugs, or ball captive rings.  Rarely a dermal punch may be used to accomplish an even larger initial hole, but this is mostly shied away from as the tissue is soft and easy to stretch.  Scalpeling and the “pierce and taper” technique are also generally frowned upon, and each involve more pain and longer healing time, as well as greater risk.

 risky methods of stretching

Many choose to stretch with the use of a stretching kit, which includes a tunnel or taper of each standard size across a specific range, say from 14 gauge to 00 gauge.  Tapering in general (using tapers and lubricant to enlarge  a healed fistula) is a popular contemporary method.  But some may decide to size up in even more gradual increments, utilizing a method known as “taping.”  This basically involves the use of non-adhesive tape, such as medical grade teflon tape, to wrap layers around the jewelry, resulting in a slowly progressing size enlargement.  Although they may take longer and require some excess investment, taping and tapering are lower risk approaches to ear lobe stretching and normally show favorable results.

kits for home ear stretching

More treacherous bygone techniques for lobe piercing enlargement have resurged in recent years however, such as weighting, which adopts the use of large heavy earrings or small weighted loops that stretch the piercing gradually as they dangle.  Once practiced by tribal societies in Southeast Asia, this unique type of augmentation has been largely rejected due to the risk of thinning tissue.  Unfortunately for most, only the bottom portion of pierced flesh will stretch, as the top and sides are not subjected to the force of the weight.

 pros and cons of using weights

There are multiple methods of stretching ear lobe piercings, each with an interesting and unparalleled cultural history, but persons from all races and walks of life show a number of stretched subpopulations.  Just one more way that body mod is connecting the human race.

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Body Jewelry Update: Geeked Out

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nerding it up for Reading Day

Today is the unofficial Read a Book Day, but we don’t just want you to read a few chapters.  It’s time to celebrate our intellectual side with some fun body jewelry that embraces our geekness.

embracing our geekness with jewelry

Get your geek on with sweet officially licensed jewelry from Domo and Adventure Time, featuring your favorite characters. (You know, the ones that you’re a nerd for.)

 officially licensed Domo body jewelry

Geek out with bowties, neon brights, and funky headphones or stretch in style with some familiar silly faces from the land of ooo.

 officially licensed Adventure Time jewelry

Hero powers not included (but we know you’ve got an imagination).  Read a book?  Ha!  More like save the world! …and maybe some reading afterwards, just to wind down.

Categories : New Body Jewelry
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Life in Ink: Put a Bird on It

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avian ink

We’ve all seen those awesome old black and white photos of swallow tattoos inked across the chests of burly sailors, but why does the bird continue to fascinate and compel us, even in the modern world of popular ink?

birds in traditional and modern tattoo

It’s not just the retro tatouage revival that’s catapulting ink featuring songbirds to new heights.  In many ways it’s also the symbolism, both traditional and contemporary, that serves to popularize specific birdies as major tattoo motifs.  Using the swallow as a prime example, it’s easy to see why so many would choose to adopt it.  For those who spend a portion of their life at sea, this feathered friend still holds the meaning of generations past, when it was inked primarily upon ship hands who had traversed over 5,000 miles of ocean.  In the modern era however, it also represents loyalty and tenacity through hardship, and for many is accompanied by the name of the one who leads them home.

 swallow bird hand tattoos

Crows are another high-flying tattoo subject, laden with a plethora of meanings both metaphysical and cultural.  In many American Indian traditions, the crow is a companion of the shaman, lending its magics and intuitions to the performance of mystical endeavors. It can also be seen as a messenger of the divine, able to lead souls between the worlds of the living and the dead at will.  And in contemporary mythologies, the crow is often believed to hold a secret, ancient knowledge of natural magic and spiritual truth.

 crow and raven tattoo art

Another popular avian tattoo subject that holds a significance in tribal traditions is the phoenix, or thunderbird, a giant mystical bird believed to hold the powers of both fire and rebirth.  The phoenix features in ancient Grecian mythology as well, where it was said to burn out and then rise again from its own ashes, perpetuating a cycle of fiery death and resurrection.  Some European cultures attributed other powers to the bird as well, including healing tears, and magical tail feathers. Due to these spiritual connotations, popular contemporary symbolism cites the phoenix as a herald of rebirth, as well as an embodiment of tenacity.

firebird ink

Whether peacock, hummingbird, sparrow, or swan, one thing is certain: we tattooed folks love our birds.  And we’re not likely to be giving them up any time soon.

Categories : Life in ink
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basic types of belly jewelry

The belly button is the most common body piercing site in the west, second only in worldwide prevalence to piercings of the human earlobe.  So with an almost endless plethora of belly rings available, how do you know which ones are for you?  Starting with the right style will definitely narrow things down.

There are five basic styles of navel piercing jewelry: the standard banana bell, curved barbell with dangle, spiral barbell, top mount, and BCR.

major types of belly rings

For new piercings, the unembellished barbell or “banana bell” is the standard.  These items will have a simple ball, gem, or fixed decoration at the bottom, and a classic 5 millimeter ball at the top.  Unsurprisingly, they’re often referred to as banana bells because their curved shaft and larger bottom decoration cause them to resemble the shape of a banana.  This simple style is also good for those who engage in lots of physical activity, because there’s no extra chains, dangles, or charms to get snagged causing breakage or discomfort.

 standard unembellished banana barbells

For special occasions, holidays, or low impact daily wear, there’s also the dangle belly ring.  This style is your standard banana bell, but with decorative dangling elements that add a fashionable touch.  Because of all the extra parts however, it’s not advisable to sleep or exercise in dangle items.

 belly rings with dangles or charms

Our next style, the spiral barbell, is also best left to special events or short term daily wear.  Some who were pierced with a regular curved barbell will have trouble getting into a spiral, but for the most part these pieces are designed to fit any belly piercing, and they definitely provide a fun and interesting look.

 spiral barbell belly button rings

Those who have the bottom rim of their belly button pierced should opt for what are called “top mount” or “top dangle” navel rings.  These items are specifically designed with the decoration or dangling charms attached at the top rather than the bottom, so they’re ideal for this type of piercing in general.  They can, however, be worn in standard belly piercings, provided that the length of the barbell is correct for the piercing, which will prevent the jewelry from awkwardly sticking out or forward.

 top dangle belly jewelry

And our last style of belly ring, the BCR, is a popular 90s item that’s made a comeback in recent years.  For those prefer to wear ball captive style jewelry, the belly button should be pierced using this type of belly ring from the get-go. Some who heal their piercing with barbells will be able to transition to captives with little difficulty, but for others it can be a daunting task.  Although any BCR of the proper dimensions can be worn in the belly button, specialized pieces made specifically for the navel are available, and will always be clearly labeled as belly rings.

 captive style navel rings

So now that you’ve picked the style you need, it’s down to sizing and color preferences.  Belly ring buying mission: (almost) accomplished.

mixing it up with plug pairs

Classes have started again, and with a hectic schedule, unseasonable weather, and some major first day fashion scrutiny, you’re looking for something new and fresh.  Maybe something fun to wear in your stretched lobes?  Then look no further.

This season it’s all about fashion that’s fun, and one of the coolest ways to change it up is by mixing and matching what goes in your ears.  All of these wooden plugs are organic, available in sizes up to one inch, and sold separately for easy interchangeability.  You can even mix rich sawo wood with soft crocodile wood for a funky two-tone style effect.  Here are just a few of the sweet pairings you can put together:

cool mixable crocodile wood plugscool mixable sawo wood plugs

So regardless of what else is going on during the Fall/Winter season, at least you know your ears are taken care of.  One task down, 27million436thousand812 to go.  Isn’t higher learning fun?

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the trick to industrial barbell sizing

A little overwhelmed when shopping for new industrial barbells?  Maybe it’s your first time, or maybe you just love the fun look of bent and waved industrials but have no idea which one will fit.  And you don’t want to buy something that looks really awesome only to find it won’t fit, right?  Well if you give us just one minute, we can teach you how to measure so that it never feels like a gamble again.  Here’s the secret:

Think of the balls or spikes at the ends of your industrial as two points.  We’ll call them point A and point B.  Now, just like in math class, it’s your job to find the shortest distance between point A and point B.  That’s right.  It’s straight across.

 how to measure for length

No matter how wacky and wonderful the waves, dips, and spirals in an industrial barbell are, the length is always measured straight across from one ball to the other.  So if your poker straight project bar at home measures 37mm, then even the most interesting new barbell from the online store will fit, as long as you look in the specifications, and make sure that it lists a length measurement of about 37mm.

 cool industrial project bars

Much easier, right?  Now, time to go shopping.

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celebrating Frankenstein Day

Today is officially Frankenstein Day, the anniversary of “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley’s birthday.  Shelley was born in 1797, and although she wrote her famous novel a mere 21 years later in 1818, it would go on to be one of the most parodied and prolific works of horror fiction ever penned.

So how do you celebrate Frankenstein Day?  With awesome and amazing neck mods of course!

 neck piercings and tattoos

Amongst our favorites, the Madison piercing (named after former adult star Madison Stone), the throat corset (just the right combo of cool and creepy), and the neck tattoo!  What are your favorite neck modifications?  Let us know in the comments below, and happy Frankenstein Day!