When it comes to high quality body jewelry, two styles reign supreme for studs. Threaded, and Threadless. Internally Threaded jewelry has a small screw on the end of the decorative piece, and a small hole in the barbell, and screws together. Threadless jewelry has a small pin on the end of the decorative piece, and presses together with a tension lock. Both of these styles are awesome, high quality, safe styles! However, I still get asked often, threaded or threadless? Is one better than the other? Are there pros and cons? Let’s take a closer look!
Threaded body jewelry has been around much longer, dating back hundreds of years when we made barbells by rolling up a sheet of gold and forcing screws into it. Threaded was the leader in body jewelry for many many years before threadless came on the scene, and is arguably what most folks are familiar with when they think of body jewelry. Well made internally threaded pieces are very secure, and come in an almost infinite range of sizes, styles, colors, and materials to suite every fashion sense and preference under the sun. Some Pros for threaded jewelry include
-Larger Pieces: Threads are very strong and stable, and can support even the biggest most decorative end. Have your eye on a huge glittering cluster from BVLA? That puppy is going to be threaded for sure. The stronger base and weld on threaded ends allow for a more secure connection when it comes to very large ends. We can do all sorts of decorative designs with threading, and we see far less breakage with threaded ends in comparison to threadless.
-Thicker Gauge: Threaded jewelry can get chunky. 4g? 2g? 1/2”? As thick as you need it, it can be made. Threaded jewelry is perfect for all your large gauge needs, and even can be done in half sizes and in-between sizing to make stretching easier. Threaded is the top for customization at larger sizes.
-Security: When installed correctly threaded pieces are very very secure. Many clients have threaded pieces they’ve worn for year and years with nary a sign of something coming loose or falling out. You need to check for tightness from time to time but threaded jewelry is super secure!
That being said, everything has some pros and cons. Nothing is perfect! Some downsides to threaded jewelry include:
-Tricky Threading: Small ends, forward facing pieces, curved and circular barbells can all be tricky for clients and even piercers to thread on. Getting the threads aligned and started just right is already a pain, but when it’s a little 1/8 inch bead or a teeny 2mm gemstone, it’s even harder. I’ve heard plenty of clients lament the struggle of threading a piece on in their bathroom at 2 am, and it’s definitely not an easy task.
-Screw it on Tight: With threaded jewelry you need a firm hand when you screw it together. If you are too gentle or don’t ensure threads are screwed all the way tight, it is possible for it to become loose easily. Because threaded jewelry screws, things like the nature movement of the skin under the jewelry, or hair wrapping and unwrapping around a piece, can cause a threaded piece to come unscrewed. Quality of the threading matters as well, and cheaply made threads often don't stay tight. Definitely break out some gloves and get your finger workouts in to assemble your threaded pieces tight!
-Threading Compatibility- Threadless jewelry is universal, meaning your threadless ends works in an 18, 16, or 14g post. Threaded jewelry is not compatible to the same extent. Threaded ends work for 18/16, but 14/12 are its own thread pattern, and that continues as you get larger. If you have a good mix of 18, 16, and 14g piercings in your ears or face, threaded ends won’t be interchangeable between them all the same way threadless jewelry can be.
Threadless body jewelry came on the scene in 1997 with the birth of Neometal, the original patent holders for threadless body jewelry. Designed to replace nostril screws and L bends of a bygone era, threadless has rocketed in popularity as easy, secure, and user friendly body jewelry for almost every piercing! Despite being newer, this style is just as amazing as threaded, and has become an integral part of every quality piercing studio! Some of the best things about threadless jewelry include
User Friendly: Threadless jewelry is super user friendly, particularly for really small ends. Because it simply pulls apart and presses together, it’s very easy to slide in and out, and with really small delicate ends its much easier then trying to thread on a teeny gem. There is of course a learning curve to any new style, but many clients find threadless, particularly for small pieces, a little easier. We can also do smaller pieces like our popular 1mm genuine diamonds in threadless, which previously weren’t possible or practical with threaded pieces.
Requires Force to Remove: Unlike threaded jewelry, threadless jewelry needs to be physically pulled apart in order to get it undone. This means hair tangling around it, skin moving under it, won’t cause it to come undone. Something actually has to catch and snag threadless jewelry for it to come loose. For clients with certain lifestyles or whose threaded pieces tend to come undone, these are a fantastic and secure alternative.
Direction doesn’t Matter: Ever wanted to wear a threaded end on a curved barbell for a rook, eyebrow, or vertical lip piercing? Maybe a cute heart or moon. But when you screwed the piece down- it was sideways! Oh no! Threadless jewelry can be assembled to face the direction you desire, so it always faces properly on curved barbells. Threaded ends are a tossup how they will assemble in a post. While this really only applies to curved barbells (and surface work) it’s still good to mention, because with threadless you can ensure perfect alignment every time!
Just like threaded ends, threadless ends have their own downsides as well. Nothings perfect, as we well know.
Size Limitations: Because threadless jewelry is on a very small thin pin, ends that are 6mm and larger typically need to be threaded for stability. That big piece on a tiny pin is just asking for disaster, and a pin to snap. So if you are eyeing a beautiful but chunky 12mm cluster, threaded all the way.
Gauge Limitations: Threaded has your back for large gauge jewelry, as threadless goes only up to 12g. So if you are looking for a chunky piece, or stretching, eventually the limitations of threadless sizing will have you switching to threaded jewelry.
Piercing Limitations: With threadless working by pressing and pulling, this gives an advantage over threaded in some piercings, but a disadvantage in others. Microdermals, Surface bars, tongue piercings, genital piercings all really should never wear threadless jewelry. These are placements where threaded jewelry does better, is more secure, and works better with the style of piercing. With surface piercings and microdermals the style doesn't allow for threadless pins to work. And for tongue and genital piercings if a threadless end came undone it could cause far more damage than a threaded end- threaded is safer for these piercings.
Threaded or threadless, both are fantastic choices for body jewelry. There are some subtle differences between the two, but neither is the "better" choice overall. Fashion, piercing, placement, and sizing needs all play a role in deciding if threaded or threadless the right choice for you, and for your piercing! Most clients end up with a collection of both, utilizing them where they work the best and can offer them the most!