Jewelry threading debate

So as some of you may have seen there is a massive and heated debate happening on Allen's page right now (link to forum) about whether the APP should allow member piercers to use jewelry other than internally threaded in fresh piercings. The core of Allen's argument I think is that because externally threaded jewelry is so much cheaper (for good reason; most of it is imported junk of deeply questionable quality made in Asian sweat shops), making this small change would allow the APP to quickly build up more members (in many shops, the jewelry is the decision of the profit-oriented shop owner, rather than the piercer).

Here's a quick run down of the types of threading being used on barbells, and the pros and cons of each as I see them. I've personally manufactured each type over the past ten years, and have been pierced with each type multiple times as well, so while I have a bias, I'm not talking out of my ass.

Internal Threading

External Threading

Step-Down Threading
No exposed threading.

If properly made, no sharp edges whatsoever; “safer” to swallow.


Can damage fistula if poorly made (think: dermal punch).

Most difficult follow-through (often a secondary pin between jewelry and needle is used).

Reinsertion can be difficult on a tight piercing.

Extremely cheap to manufacture and purchase. Threading can tear fistula of healed piercing.

Threading can cause additional trauma to fresh piercing.

Reinsertion can be difficult on a tight piercing.

Most of the jewelry of this type on the market has poor manufacturing because it's being made to meet a low price-point.

Extremely easy follow-through because threading fits into needle.

Rounded edges and tapered design make reinsertion easy for customers at home.

Reduced thread size versus bar size minimizes potential for damage to fistula.

Not many manufacturers.

Potentially dangerous if swallowed due to being “pointy”.

If poorly made can still damage fistula on reinsertion.

That's how I see it. Others may see different pros or cons, and may not agree with all of mine. I think it's fairly obvious that when we're talking about 14ga and 12ga jewelry, I feel that step-down (aka drop-down) threading is the best design, and that standard external is the worst design.

Personally I would definitely not want to see APP-grade piercers using bottom-of-the-barrel import jewelry for fresh piercing. I think it's bad for the clients and I think it reflects poorly on a piercer that's willing to cut corners like that. Anyway, since Allen's forum has been primarily for debate between piercers on the subject, I'd like to pose the following questions to pierced people about their experiences with different types of jewelry design:

  • Which jewelry types have you tried, and which do you prefer?
  • Have any of the jewelry types caused a problem for you due to their design, either during the piercing or after?
  • As a client, does it manke much difference to you what threading type is used?
  • How much does the type of jewelry a studio stocks affect your choice of studio?

…and anything else you think would be helpful. Thanks!

(Original forum unavailable, sorry)*
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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