Archive for Nose Piercings
In the past couple years, nose and septum piercing chains have become popular amongst recording artists, young celebs, and all of us “regular” folk, but the nose chain actually has cultural significance to some tribal groups that have been rocking this look for way longer than a fashion minute. Just look to India.
In many parts of India and the Middle East, nose piercings have existed for thousands of years. From medicinal uses outlined in the Vedic texts, to indicators of marital status, modifications of the nose and septum have a rich and lengthy history. Traditionally, the nostril of a woman would be pierced to improve her feminine health, and a chain connected from the nose to the ear or hair would be worn on the wedding day, and later removed symbolically by the new husband. These, along with many other ancient Indian traditions, are still practiced by Indian women today.
Over time, many variations of the nose piercing have been introduced and popularized, but the nose chain as an adornment has remained a constant in alternative culture. Through the growth of primitivism and the expansion of global awareness, this cute and feminine style has come to be commonplace in the modern fashion world, gracing the runways of many a designer. Less traditional, more westernized styles have grown to be widely available, and several of our noted celebrity icons are known to incorporate them into their styling.
The nose chain is more than a youth street fashion staple, it’s a means of cultural connection to our own ancestors, as well as the traditions of our brethren around the world. Like any true fashion icon, it has a personality all its own, and can sometimes be a little bit “complicated.”
Nose piercings are one of the most common piercings worldwide, so it’s no wonder that so much different terminology is thrown around to describe the piercings themselves, and especially the jewelry that goes inside them. Here’s a little refresher to help demystify the lingo:
When someone says the phrase “nose piercing,” they’re usually talking about the familiar piercing that rests in the curve of one of our nostrils. Depending on where you are though, “nose piercing” may cast a wider net, and can be used to refer to any piercing of the nose, including modifications of the septum or nose bridge. Here it’s best to put things in the proper context; it should be relatively easy to tell when someone is referring to a septum piercing as opposed to a nostril piercing.
Equally, the phrase “nose ring” can be a broad term meant to reference any piece of jewelry worn in the nose, but is used interchangeably in many countries to indicate the most common style of nose jewelry, the nose screw.
This type of jewelry can be called a nose screw, nose stud, nose twister, or nose hook, while the names for most other types of nose ring are generally far more concise. The nose bone, for example, is almost always referred to using the term “nose bone” to differentiate style. The terms L-shaped nose ring, and fishtail nose ring are similarly succinct.
Nose hoops on the other hand, may be called by a variety of names depending on region or on the actual type of jewelry. For some, hoops made specifically for the nostril piercing will be worn and can be called a nose hoop, nose ring, or nose circular. For others however, a horseshoe ring or ball captive ring may be worn in the nose piercing, and in that case is usually called by the name of that particular style of jewelry.
With nostril piercings being so prevalent around the globe, there’s bound to be confusion at one time or another, but stick to these facts, and you should be able to decipher almost any nose ring conversation.
Having a hard time finding standard nose rings that fit comfortably? Then you might just have a unique sizing need, which can be accomplished by having a piercer custom fit your nose jewelry. Here’s how it works:
First, you’ll want to purchase what’s called a fishtail nose ring. This is an extra long, straight piece of nose jewelry that’s specifically made to be custom fit. Because the fishtail is about 19mm, or 3/4″ long, and it has no shaping or bulb to hold it in place, it can’t be worn as is.
Then you’ll take the fishtail to your piercer and have them do the fitting. First, the piercer will use a special device to measure your nose, and then they’ll custom bend the long end. The two most common types of bends will be either a nose screw (the standard type of nose ring that looks like a corkscrew), or an l-shape, which literally leaves the item in the shape of an upper case L.
At BodyCandy, an artisan jeweler will make your fishtail nose ring, and gems are offered in 1.5mm and 2mm sizes. This means that from beginning to end, your nose ring will truly be customized for your nose. From gem size and metal type (white gold, yellow gold, platinum…), to the piercer’s custom bend, you’ll end up with nose jewelry that fits your own unique nose perfectly.
According to historic record and compiled modern statistics, piercing of the nostril is the second most prevalent piercing practiced globally, falling short only to piercing of the ear lobe. But did you know that there’s one area of the world where nose piercing has been mentioned even in sacred texts dating back over 3,000 years ago? That place is Asia, or more specifically, India.
Nose piercing, it is said, was brought to India by way of the Middle East, and is made mention of in the Vedas (vey-duhs), sacred texts adhered to by the Orthodox Hindus of the Indian subcontinent. The Vedas consist of four Samhitas (suhm-hi-tahs), or collections, and the oldest, the Rigveda (rig-vey-duh), contains the knowledge associated with the practice of traditional Indian medicine called Ayurveda (ah-yer-vey-duh). In Ayurveda, the piercing of a woman’s nose is commonly performed to help lessen the pains associated with childbirth.
In certain groups, this piercing may be performed on the eve of a woman’s wedding, having symbolic significance in accordance with the act of marriage and the associated onset of bearing children. Traditionally, large ornate nose jewelry will be worn, with a chain connecting the nose hoop to the ear or hair. The chain will then be removed by the woman’s husband on the night of the honeymoon.
Some Indian tribal cultures also dictate the piercing of both nostrils, as in the Tamil, Pashtun, and Pahari, and other cultural groups common to Southern India. Yet others, like the Apa Tani and those in Northeastern India may pierce one or both sides and subsequently stretch their nostril piercings, some to an inch or more in diameter. Septum piercing is common to particular ethnic groups throughout India as well, and also to the surrounding areas such as Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, and even Pakistan.
Nose piercing has become extremely popular in Western culture since the 1970s, and some may be interested to know that the return of American and European youth who had ventured abroad to exotic lands like India, is largely responsible for this cultural anomaly.
Septum piercing has recently been on a meteoric rise in popular Western culture, with the trend of smaller gauge septum piercings for women being fed largely through music culture and celebrity piercing publicity. For native and tribal cultures all over the world however, piercing of the septum denotes much more than a proper fashion sense, and has been in practice for hundreds, or even thousands of years. Stretching of the septum as well is prevalent and meaningful in these societies, and many ritualistic practices are still in existence today, like that of the Bundi tribe of Papua, New Guinea.
It was the various tribes of New Guinea and their commonly worn nose tusk made out of bore bone that popularized the traditional view of septum piercing as a tribal practice. Indeed if you’ve ever seen a photograph of a tribesman wearing feathers and shells with a bone through the septum, it is likely a native Indian from New Guinea.
Amongst the Bundi, the septum piercing is a social ritual for young men, representing their ascension into adulthood, and is usually performed around the late teens. The piercing itself is done by a tribal elder with small pieces of bat bone and tuberous sweet potato, and afterwards it may be stretched to accommodate pieces of tusk or bone plugs up to an inch in diameter. For many tribes indigenous to the same region of New Guinea, septum piercing may be done younger, along with ear piercing, nostril piercing, and stretching in various stages. Often the painting of the face or body and letting of blood that naturally occurs from the piercing are thought to represent the boy’s separation from the world of women in general and particularly from his mother.
Other New Guinea tribes that practice ritualistic piercing of the septum include the Kiman, the Kangi, and the Asmat.
The septum is the piece of cartilage that separates the nostrils, though it is often used as a blanket term to refer to the entirety of the space between them, including the skin and other tissues. A septum piercing is actually not a piercing of this piece of cartilage, but of the tissue directly underneath it on the underside of the nose, sometimes called “the sweet spot.”
Due to their historical cultural significance in branding hunters, medicine men, and leaders across various native tribes, septum piercing in the Western world has largely been a commonality amongst men only until very recently. The exception being in India, where things carried on much the opposite as only women would wear certain septum ring styles to signify their marital status. Today, many women around the world have septum piercings, generally in the smaller gauges of 14 or 16 so as to appear feminine and not overpower the features. For men, 14 gauge is usually the smallest size the septum will be pierced at, with 12 gauge being more common, and septum stretching gaining momentum since the 1990′s as well.
The piercing itself is done with a hollow piercing needle just like most other cartilage piercings, and takes anywhere from four to twelve weeks to heal. Stretching of septum piercings is not recommended until the six month mark however, and a wait time of an additional six months between each gauge size is strongly encouraged as well. Aftercare consists mainly of sea salt soaks and cue tip cleanings.
A variety of jewelry can be worn in the septum including straight tusks (usually made of organic material), circular barbells, ball captive rings, and pincers. For those who need to hide their piercing for work, retainers are also available, primarily in the shape of either a staple, or a modified horseshoe. The retainer is made to have its free ends easily pushed up inside the nostrils leaving no portion of the jewelry itself visible. In this way, the septum is one of few piercings that is truly entirely disguiseable one minute and unmistakably visible the next.
Some other common names for septum piercing are bull ring, nathori (Indian), and nose cartilage wall piercing.
The Nasallang, a tri-nasal piercing, is a piercing of all three major points on the nose at the same time: the left nostril, right nostril, and septum. This is performed as a single piercing through all three places with the same needle and uses a single piece of barbell jewelry, kind of like an industrial, but for your nose. Because the needle (and afterwards the jewelry itself) will have to pass through the upper portion of the nasal septum, a nasallang will usually be done lower on the nose than standard nostril piercings; placement will vary slightly depending on the individual shaping and extension of nasal cartilage.
This piercing was first invented and named in the 1990′s by famous California piercer Cliff Cadaver. Like most contemporary piercings, the nasallang was first seen on a celebrity, the person that Cliff performed it on, Bobby Brady. However, unlike most others of its kind, Mr. Brady’s name has clearly nothing to do with what the piercing itself is called.
The nasallang is normally pierced all at once with a single needle, but has been known here and there to be performed as separate piercings and later connected. This method however is not recommended by most piercers who are familiar with this type of piercing, as small amounts of migration can occur during healing which then cause separate piercings not to line up properly. The piercing is cared for like most other nasal piercings, but due to its nature will generally take a little bit longer to heal than a standard nasal piercing. It also bares mentioning that to be a true nasallang and not just another tri-nasal piercing, it must be worn with a straight industrial style barbell. And perhaps one of the most interesting things about a nasallang piercing, is that most who see it won’t realize that it’s a single piece and will instead assume that there are just two separate nostril piercings. In this way, it’s almost like having a cool secret that only those close to you know.
If you haven’t heard of the nasallang piercing, it’s probably because the piercing itself is still on the upswing. Although it sounds amazing and cool, this is still not a mainstream piercing, which, to be perfectly honest, is exactly what makes it one of the coolest piercings you may have never heard of.
In the modern, consumer-driven world, it seems only natural to orchestrate our celebrations for Halloween and then delve straight into Christmas, Quanza, or Chanukah. But in doing so there’s something wonderful that we all might be missing, like the whole season of Fall!
The month of November isn’t just for Holiday sales and getting your shopping done early, it’s also for enjoying all that Autumn has to offer, and taking a moment to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, giving thanks for all that we have and all the great things that have happened to us in the past year. So how do we slow our lives down and really appreciate the beauty of changing leaves and Autumn warmth? By decorating our homes, and our bodies with the motifs of the moment.
Fall fashion isn’t just about what’s in on the runway and what’s filling the stores. The best way to celebrate a season of nature, abundance, and friendship is with seasonal items that really speak to what you personally enjoy and what moves you to live in the moment. My personal favorite Fall accessory (besides a knit cap that seems glued to my head) is the statement earring.
Over-sized dangly earrings that show off rich Fall colors or seasonal motifs are just what the doctor ordered for a time of the year when ears are just about the only thing that goes uncovered. Switching up a nose ring to something new and different, like a shaped sterling silver stud or a deeper, more vibrant gem tone, is also a great way to celebrate the changing weather.
Distinctly Autumn motifs like owls, leaves, wolves, apples, pumpkins, and feathers can all be lovely additions to a wardrobe too. Try a necklace that compliments your favorite scarf, or a pair of plugs to offset your favorite sweatshirt. As long as the design makes you think of something beautiful that you love about the season, your jewelry will serve as a constant reminder to enjoy the moment.
“Oh what a cute piercing, I love how it shines on you!”
Just about one of the last things that a guy wants to hear someone say to him about the new piece of metal that he’s displaying proudly. Today I’m going to talk about one of the piercings that I think changes the most from gender to gender: The Septum. Depending on the jewelry, the piercing can go from a small and slight accessory that’s barely noticeable to a thick and stand out piece of ornamentation.
One of the most common ways that guys wear a septum piercing (and the namesake of this article) is referred to as a Bull Ring. This is the use of a Ball Captive Ring being placed in the septum to hang out, the same way that bull rings are placed. More often than not, this has become a common way to keep the septum open and healthy while in between sizes and stretching to a thicker gauge. Tossing a plain steel BCR into your septum is easy to maintain, very visible, and it’s a reliable piece of jewelry for what can be a very temperamental area.
Now you’re far from limited to a bull ring for your sniffer. Taking it back to the earliest influences, barbells can be a popular and fun way to switch up from the expected. Since people figured out how to pierce without having part of your body rot and fall off, a horizontal septum piercing with a long bar in it has been a standard for the tribesman on the go. Today things are a bit more refined than a long piece of bone just shoved through (not hating on you if that’s your particular style) and with the wide variety of barbells designed for general use there’s quite a few to choose from.
I don’t personally have my septum done, but from those I know that have gone the route of bars and horseshoes there are two words that I’ve been told will make life very different and much easier: Internally Threaded. Internally threaded items have the screw part of the assembly on the ball, screwing into a hole in the horseshoe or the bar. This means that when you’re fitting the actual bar through the hole the edges are completely smooth, preventing what can be the very painful moment of feeling metal threading try to work it’s way through a still tender opening.
If you’re looking for a more extreme body mod style, stretching the septum can offer you a whole new world of options. Having personally seen up to a 0 gauge septum, it’s the same process essentially as with any other stretchable piercing, and in the end it opens up the world of plugs as fillers. The combination of a wood or steel tunnel with a steel BCR can give an incredibly unique and personal look to an otherwise overlooked part of the body.
So rock out with your ring out, get a bit tribal with a straight bar, or stretch and sniff to your hearts content. No matter what the piercing, there’s a way to make it just your style and fit it to your personality just right.
Next in our interview series is a wonderful video interview with our multi-tasking, retro styled Body Candy team member, Cat. Check out her cheeky coming of age tale featuring fruity libations and feminine nose rings, as told to us in a soft, lady-like tone and candy apple red colored lipstick:
Body Candy: Hey Guys. I’m Kelsey from Body Candy dot com. Today we have Cat with us, and she’s actually one of our team members here. How’re you doin?
Body Candy: Good. So we’re gonna talk about her nose piercing today. (At this point Cat gestured to her nose gracefully with one hand, as if mimicking Vanna White) So, how old were you when you got this piercing?
Cat: Uh, fifteen.
Body Candy: Nice. That’s young.
Body Candy: What do you like about it?
Cat: I think it just makes my nose look perfect. I don’t know. It just seemed like it always should have been there.
Body Candy: And did you plan to do it on the right or the left for a reason, or…?
Cat: Um, well, I sleep on this side, so (gestures to her left), that’s why I put it on that side (gestures to her right).
Body Candy: Nice. Do you have a favorite story about your piercing?
Cat: Actually, the night I pierced it is my favorite story. I did it by myself, well, not by myself, with my best friend. But um, we found this bottle of what we thought was wine, but later found out it was non-alcoholic wine, and we got drunk (raises her hands to place fingers in quote formation), and we pierced my nose and were gonna pierce her lip. But we chickened out of that one, because of the amount of uh, blood that came out of my nose. Unfortunately.
Body Candy: Oh.
Cat: So, that’s what fifteen year olds should not do at home. (She raises a finger and wags it sweetly to press the point.)
Body Candy: So do you have any advice for someone that might want their nose pierced?
Cat: Um, probably uh, go to a professional piercer I would say, and don’t do it when you’re fifteen like an idiot. (Both parties giggle a little.)
Body Candy: Alright. Do you plan on getting any more piercings?
Cat: Oh yeah. Definitely. I wanna get my Monroe pierced, but, we’ll see. (Subdued, feminine giggle.)
Body Candy: Alright. Well thanks for coming in today, Cat.
Cat: Yeah. No problem.
To get Cat’s Look: in keeping with her new-retro style, Cat prefers small gem solitaire nose studs, or silvery rings, like the one she wore for our interview.