Quick Take: Living in a Material World

plug jewelry materials

For those who have stretched ears, it can sometimes be “interesting” when you’re trying to figure out what’s going to work with your particular ears and what’s not. A huge part of that boils down to the shape, and the materials that your prospective jewelry is made of. So here’s something that might help:

Plug Materials

The world of modification has come so far and grown so fast, plugs and tunnels can be made out of just about anything nowadays. Here we’ll stick to the materials that are most readily available for stretch mod jewelry. Those are steel, titanium, wood, animal bone/horn, acrylic, stone, glass, and silicone.

what plugs are made of

These ingredients can be broken up in many ways, but to start with, let’s separate them by weight. For those whose ears are still healing, it’s advisable to stay away from extremely heavy items, as these can stretch the fistula more than planned during this stage. So here’s just a general idea:

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Lighter Heavier

animal bone/horn titanium

Now let’s cover general pros and cons. Listed below are the major characteristics of each material.

Stainless Steel- durable, high shine, many styles available

Titanium- hypoallergenic, durable, allows for brilliant colors

Wood- natural, light weight, breathable for good ear health

Animal Bone/Horn- natural, lighter than metals or glass, somewhat breathable

Acrylic- light weight, comes in many colors and patterns, non-metallic

Stone- natural, varied in color and weight (generally heavier), hypoallergenic

Glass- unique look, hypoallergenic

Silicone- flexible, light weight, hypoallergenic, available in many colors and shapes

And finally, here’s just a few points to keep in mind when considering your various material choices

1. Both glass and natural stone are rigid materials, and though they’re heavy and solid, they are able to be broken if dropped.

2. Organic materials such as wood, bone, and horn should only be worn in healed piercings.

3. Standard acrylic, wood, animal horn, and natural stone cannot be autoclaved, meaning they’re unable to be entirely sterilized prior to being worn.

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4. Items composed of natural woods, animal bone, or horn require a slightly higher level of commitment for upkeep, as they should be oiled at regular intervals for optimum product life, but the look and healthfullness of these materials is well worth the effort.