Shopping season is upon us! As we roll into fall early shoppers are already making holiday lists, planning presents, and getting gifts. If you are someone who loves giving gifts, and enjoys finding the perfect piece for someone you love, this is an exciting time of year! Watching someone open a thoughtful, carefully chosen present is the best feeling. We often take a lot of consideration into someones interests, passions, and hobbies when we select a gift. And if you have someone in your life with lots of piercings, body jewelry seems like a perfect gift. After all, you’ve probably heard your loved one talking about all the gorgeous jewelry they want or all the pieces they are hoping to buy. But, buying body jewelry as a gift can actually be quite complicated, and every holiday season piercing studios always struggle to help folks with the perfect gift. Todays blog is here to explain why purchasing jewelry as a gift can be so complicated- and some tips to make it easier!
Body Jewelry is Not One Size Fits All
The biggest element of purchasing jewelry is sizing. It’s simply not one size fits all. It’s not even one size fits most. Body jewelry has a series of important, specific sizes that are crucial to a piece fitting comfortably and being practical. It’s more similar to shopping for bras or shoes than it is a coat. Sure someone who needs a medium may still wear a large just fine. But someone who needs a size 9 shoe can’t squeeze into a size 7. Body jewelry is much like that.
When we size someone for jewelry there are a few factors. The first is gauge, or the thickness of the jewelry being worn. We need to know the gauge the piercing is currently at. If we don’t, we could sell you something too thick that won’t fit, or too thin that may allow the piercing to shrink.
After gauge, we need length or diameter. Length is relevant for studs- we need to know how long the part going through the piercing is. Too long, and a piece will get caught and snagged, possibly even cause tears or migration. Too short, and a piece won’t fit right and can be very painful. Diameter is relevant to rings, we need to know the size of the ring to fit in the piercing. Again- too large is cumbersome, and too small is honestly painful.
After that, there’s personal preferences to consider. Does this person prefer threadless jewelry? Do they already have a large collection of it and would want something to interchange with their existing pieces? Or maybe they don’t like threadless jewelry, and they would way rather something threaded. Seam rings are awesome and super secure- but if they want to change something in and our often, a clicker may be a smarter choice.
Now you may be overwhelmed thinking about all the different sizing and considerations to make when purchasing jewelry. But hey, at least if you get something wrong you could just go back to a studio and return or exchange it- right?
Body Jewelry is Final Sale
Due to the intimate nature of body jewelry, virtually all pieces are final sale only. No refunds, and no exchanges. This is because once a piece of jewelry leaves the studio we have no way of knowing what happens to it. It may just sit in a box. But someone also may try it on and wear it for a little bit. It could be worn in an earlobe…or it could go in a nose or a mouth or other more intimate areas. It could get dropped or scratched or damaged. It might be put in a healed piercing, but it also might end up in something newer. It could come in contact with blood or bodily fluids.
Because of these factors body jewelry is never resold or reworn. It becomes a public health hazard to sell something to someone that could potentially have someone else’s blood or bodily fluids on it. You may hear this and wonder- what about tools that get reprocessed? You can’t do that for jewelry? And with tools, they are only in contact with someone for minutes at most, and tools are designed to be reprocessed. They are made with smooth, easy to clean mechanisms and designed to function in a way that they can be easily cleaned. Body jewelry is not the same- often pieces have intricate settings and designs that are designed to look beautiful, not be reprocessed. And with body jewelry, we have no way of knowing if you wore it for a few days, or a few weeks before coming back in to return or exchange it. After something have been in contact with you for long enough, a biofilm of your unique bacteria develops on it and it becomes well and truly yours.
We also simply can’t guarantee what happens once a piece leaves the studio. Folks can tell us they never wore it or only wore it briefly, but we can’t know that for a fact. And in order to keep everyone safe, we have to air on the side of caution. This means body jewelry is final sale. So if you do purchase the wrong size, or the wrong style, or the wrong piece. It’s still yours now. We can’t take it back or exchange it.
This means when purchasing body jewelry for someone else you need to be positive of their exact sizing and measurements. Of course, one way to go about this is to simply ask someone what they wear! Many folks with piercings are happy to tell you (I’m a 38mm with a 1/2 wearable and a 1-2mm flare for plugs. If anyone’s asking….). We know how essential proper sizing is and if you are going to buy us something, we want it to fit too! But for many, this can ruin the surprise aspect of getting a gift. So what are some creative ways you can ensure you are buying the right piece for someone?
Piercers love to be sneaky
If asking outright doesn’t sound like your style then I have some good news for you. Piercers love to be sneaky and we love to help with gifts. Find a reason for your partner to head into the studio, and before hand message us and let us know you are hoping to purchase things for them as a gift and need to know sizing and other info. When they come in we will happily and secretly figure out the sizing they need with colorful excuses like “oh let me do a quick checkup for you since you are here!” Or “since you are here can I get some healed photos of your piercing? We’ll just clean everything really well beforehand” We can whisk the client away into the room and get some sizing information with them none the wiser. And then we can chat them up behind the counter, show them some new pieces, and let you know which ones work for their piercings, are the right size, and they’d want. I don’t know any piercer who doesn’t love collaborating with clients in this way to surprise someone with a clever gift. Just message us ahead of time so we know you are coming in for this and we can be extra sneaky.
Custom Orders take time
Beyond the usual struggle of ensuring you have exact sizing and measurements, I have another curveball for you. Custom orders can take quite a while to get in. Depending on what piece you want for your special someone, if it needs to be ordered it could be anywhere from 3-30 weeks to get in. Between the high demand for custom jewelry, increasing costs of material and production, and covid delays, wait times are longer then ever. So if you are hoping to have a custom piece in time for the holidays you need to order well...now.
You can learn more about the process behind custom jewelry and why it can take so long here.
Gift cards always go far
Sometimes however we don’t have time to go to the studio with someone we want to purchase for. Or even if we do, we are concerned we might get the wrong color, wrong gem, or wrong style piece. And with jewelry being nonrefundable, that’s an added level of pressure if a gift isn’t perfect.
Gift cards are the perfect solution for this. I know many folks feel like gift cards and be impersonal but in the instance of body art I think it’s the exact opposite. You cared about the person enough to know that what they would cherish was a chance to get more piercings, new jewelry, or even other services offered at the studio. But you also respected that this can be an intimate process- from sizing, to comfort, to deciding what to get next. There’s a lot that goes into picking the perfect piece of jewelry or getting a new piercing. And you wanted to make sure your loved one was able to do that themselves and get the absolute perfect thing! Especially if you aren’t very familiar with piercings or jewelry, being willing to say I didn’t want to get the size or comfort wrong, so I got you this to be safe. There’s nothing impersonal about that.
When it comes to getting body jewelry as a gift, it can be a complicated process. There’s so much that goes into ensuring a piece will fit someone correctly, be comfortable, and not hurt their piercing, and that’s all before you even get into if they like the piece at all! Hopefully this guide can help you understand the complexities of shopping for body jewelry and how to work with your person, and their piercer, to make it happen. And when in doubt- gift cards for all! Happy shopping!
Cover photo from Rob McConnel