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Jewel School 2- Oregon Sunstone

Oregon Sunstone is a unique and often underrated stone when it comes to jewellery. Since being used by high end jewellery brands such as BVLA, it has become a favourite amongst piercers and piercing enthusiasts alike. So where does this stone originate, what is it’s history and what makes it so beautiful? I’m sure you can answer at least one of those questions!

This BVLA Mini Kandy really shows off the “champagne bubble” effect that copper inclusions can give to Oregon Sunstone. Shop here!

Oregon sunstone is a feldspar, or crystal-forming mineral, that is found in Oregon, USA. In fact, it was declared the official state stone of Oregon in 1987. It is produced from shallow mines in two counties and is hard enough to be carved, polished and faceted for jewellery. Historically, the local Native American Tribes have a legend describing its origins. In the legend, the blood of a great warrior –who is wounded by an arrow – spatters onto pieces of sunstone. The blood carried his warrior spirit into the stones, coloring them with shades of red and giving them sacred power. Native American tribes traded this stone across most of Western America and it can be found in many museum collections as a result.

This BVLA Beaded Pear in Yellow Gold really demonstrates the potential that this gem holds when it comes to statement jewellery.

Oregon Sunstone originally formed in Basalt lava flows in aggregations called “Phenocrysts,” which are large collections of a crystal surrounded by glassy igneous rock. It is in the same ‘family’ as Labradorite and is fast becoming a highly popular stone with jewellers. The Oregon Sunstone found in body jewellery is often transparent and can be cut into a multitude of different facet styles. Oregon Sunstone can be shades of pink, tan, orange, yellow, green, blue-green, red, and clear as well as bi-colors. This colour is caused by unique inclusions of copper within the crystal structure, which causes a visual effect called “Schiller,” which gives the stone an almost champagne bubble-like appearance. These copper inclusions are flat, plate-shaped, highly reflective, and precisely aligned along the crystallographic axis of the stone. The “shimmer” seen in Oregon Sunstone is called aventurescence by gemologists and jewellery experts. Traditionally in body jewellery, Oregon sunstone is selected in pink to tan-orange shades which complement Yellow and Rose Gold.

This bead of Oregon Sunstone displays highly visible copper inclusions.

At Rogue we currently have two pieces containing Oregon Sunstone as shown in the photos included in this article. Currently the only high-end body jewellery brand using this stone is BVLA, which is renowned for its highly customisable bespoke jewellery. If you have any ideas for how you would like to use this gem in a piece of jewellery, do get in contact with us and we would be happy to help you get your ideas set into gold.

Remember to follow us on facebook and instagram for more information on piercing and the jewellery we have available! Don’t hesitate to message us any questions you may have.

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Myth Busters: The Prince Albert

Prince Albert apparently wasn’t compensating for anything when he had the Royal Albert Hall named after him

Welcome back to another blog in the Myth Busters series! It is here that we will be looking at common piercing myths. This week features the history of the Prince Albert piercing and where it got its name.

When it comes to intimate piercings, the Prince Albert, or the PA, may be the first male piercing you think of. Placed on the underside of the head of the penis and through the urethra, generally with a ring, it is notorious in the modification industry for having quick healing times and desirable results. The Prince Albert was popularised in modern piercing in the early 70’s by Jim Ward, an influential body piercer based in Los Angeles (he also features in our blog post here https://roguepiercing.co.uk/2020/06/05/myth-busters-which-side-is-the-gay-side/). But where did it get its infamous name? Doug Malloy, a friend of Ward’s, is said to have created a pamphlet in which he wrote stories of the piercings they performed, but many say they were just urban legends. To look further into this, we must ask – who was Prince Albert, anyway?

Maybe Robert Plant could have done with following Victorian fashion trends in the 70’s

Albert, Prince Consort, was born in 1819 and was married to Queen Victoria of the UK. Together they had 9 children and he supported the Queen throughout her reign. Initially reluctant towards the role of Prince Consort and the lack of power he had, Albert became known for supporting public causes such as educational reform and abolishing slavery! One of the rumours that Malloy wrote in his pamphlets was that Prince Albert invented the legendary piercing to hide his large penis in his tight trousers. If only they thought of this in the 70’s! 

There are many stories about how it got its name, from the theory that Prince Albert himself had Peyronie’s disease and used the piercing to straighten his penis, to the general public tying down their penises to hide their erection from the Queen’s daughters. Legend also has it that Prince Albert used the piercing to pull back the foreskin to keep his member sweet-smelling so as to not offend the Queen. How considerate! 

The Prince Albert is clearly a historical piercing. It is difficult for anyone to say how exactly the piercing got its name, however the most likely theory is that Victorian haberdashers called it the “dressing ring” and used it to firmly secure male genitalia to the more comfortable leg. It was very popular in those days for men to wear extremely tight trousers and the piercing helped minimize visible endowment. 

A banana with a PA

It is most certainly an interesting piercing that has been the subject of a lot of speculation throughout the years. But whatever the reason is, it is a timeless piercing that many people enjoy across the globe, and is just one of many intimate piercings that are available! Please check back again for another blog in the Myth Busters series. If you have any interest in getting an intimate piercing, please give us a call or a message to talk about your options. 

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Famous Piercing Enthusiasts

It might seem today like piercings are commonplace on a lot of people, but that is a relatively modern development. Piercings being seen on celebrities has really driven that change so this week we’re going to look at some famous piercing enthusiasts.

Famous Piercing Enthusiasts - Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman shows the attitude he’s famous for

Dennis Rodman

Whether it’s his piercings, tattoos or brightly coloured hair, Dennis Rodman always makes an impression. Famous for his time in the NBA playing basketball for the Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers and Detroit Pistons in the late 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. Noted piercings on Dennis are paired nostrils, labret, earlobes and nipples. His unusual style and attitude made piercings visible to large groups of people who may never have come across them before.

Famous Piercing Enthusiasts - Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu has been called the Queen of Neo-Soul. She is a Singer, Songwriter and Actress. With her main influences being R&B, 70’s soul and 80’s hip-hop. She is just as comfortable on stage as she is in front of the camera and has an unmissable style. As jewellery she has worn many different “fake” piercings but is currently rocking a bridge and some cheek piercings that are a personal favourite of mine. I’ve posted a video below of one of my favourite songs by Erykah.

Scarlett Johansson

Famous Piercing Enthusiasts - Scarlett Johansson
Young Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson today

Scarlett is a world famous Actress and Singer and is the world’s highest-paid actress since 2018 but she has always had her wild side too. She has always been at the cutting edge of style and this shows in her piercing and jewellery choices too, from her younger days where she had an eyebrow and septum piercing to today where she has a curated ear and enviable jewellery collection. I was unaware that she has a septum piercing before writing this blog and I think that makes her even cooler.

Keith Flint

Famous Piercing Enthusiasts - Keith Flint

Braintree’s very own firestarter, Keith Flint was the frontman for the band The Prodigy and brought piercings to every household in the UK in 1996 with the release of the song Firestarter. Famously wearing tongue, septum and various ear piercings, Keith is cited as the reason for many peoples tongue and septum piercings ever since. Sadly Keith took his own life in 2019 but continued to release music upto 2018 and was still a staple of British radio. RIP Keith.

It was fun writing this weeks blog and I could have easily listed many more people and will return to this subject in the future. Thanks for reading everyone!

Aiden

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Jewel School 1- Cubic Zirconia vs Diamonds?

At Rogue we offer jewellery adorned with real Diamonds, and also pieces set with Cubic Zirconia. So what is Cubic Zirconia, and what is the difference between the two?

Cubic Zirconia, or CZ, is a man-made crystal structure that was first produced in 1976 as a more affordable alternative to Diamonds. CZ is not to be confused with Zirconium- This is a silvery metal used in the production of Cubic Zirconia. CZ is made from a specialist mixture of Zirconium and Zirconium Dioxide which is heated to 2750 celsius. Cubic Zirconia of varying colours are created by adding different coloured oxides to the molten CZ mixture during its firing process. Once the molten mixture begins to cool, crystals will form that are then cut and polished in the same way that Diamonds are. Diamonds are often naturally formed from Carbon deposits by intense heat and pressure in the Earth’s crust. They can also be formed synthetically in labs. There is almost no difference between naturally formed and synthetically made Diamonds.

This BVLA Snowflake is an example of a Diamond-set piece which is available on our website! How handy. Shop Here!

How does Cubic Zirconia differ from Diamonds? 

Well, because it is completely man-made, it can be made absolutely perfectly with no inclusions or imperfections. Almost all Diamonds will have minute inclusions in them. Hardly any Diamonds are completely perfect as they are naturally formed in imperfect conditions. Even professional Diamond jewellers may never see a completely perfect Diamond in their entire career.

Cubic Zirconia are slightly less hard than Diamonds- They are an 8.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale whereas Diamonds are a 10. One notable difference is that since CZ are slightly less hard than Diamonds, the facets of their cut are slightly softer and more rounded than a Diamond. Diamonds, being incredibly hard, can hold a significantly sharper facet. However to the naked eye looking at a CZ gem and Diamond of similar size and cut, it is often impossible to tell the two apart. CZ gems are also slightly heavier than Diamonds, being 1.7 times more dense. 

This Marquise Fan from BVLA is set with three Swarovski Cubic Zirconia gems. If you look closely at the far right gem, you can see the Swarovski logo laser-cut into the gem. Shop Here

How are CZ similar to Diamonds?

Cubic Zirconia can be coloured any colour a diamond can, and more. Diamonds can be steel gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink to purple, brown, or black. Cubic Zirconia offers a more affordable yet still visually impactful option. CZ shouldn’t be considered a “poor man’s Diamond” as it can offer intense colours and variety. 

This BVLA Marquise Fan is set with three Cubic Zirconia gems, but they have been created with an Aurora Borealis finish that simply cannot be recreated with genuine Diamonds.

To conclude, both Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia have their own merits. Diamonds are, of course, highly sought after and expensive for a reason. They can become family heirlooms and are often treasured for generations. Cubic Zirconia is often more perfected than Diamond simply due to its manufacturing process and can give a gorgeous sparkle without as much of a large price tag. Some people say that CZ is lower quality because it is placed into cheaper, less well-made settings and jewellery than Diamonds. This is simply untrue for any jewellery sold as Rogue. All of our jewellery is produced by brands at the forefront of jewellery quality. We simply do not sell low-quality jewellery so you can be confident that whichever gem you chose, you will be very happy with the results!

If you have enjoyed the photography shown off in this post, make sure to follow our Instagram for more stunning photos and more!

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Myth Busters: Which side is the gay side?

Welcome to the first blog post in our Myth Busters series! In this series we will investigate some of the most popular piercing myths around and get to the truth about them! As it is Pride Month, our blog post poses this question: Which side is the gay side when you are getting your ears or nose pierced? A common question, and one we’ve heard more than a few times in the studio! But to give an accurate answer, we have to go into a bit of history… 

The piercing world has been and continues to be closely linked with the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, they are so closely linked that Rogue wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a small niche gay community in the United States that practiced piercing on each other in the 70’s! Some gay body piercers and body modification enthusiasts have even made it to the Leather Hall of Fame for their prolific work that lead them to be the icons they are. Let’s take a look at just three influential gay piercers of history! 

Jim Ward

Mythbusters -  Jim Ward
Jim Ward

Jim Ward gained recognition for pioneering body jewellery such as BCRs and Barbells. Inspired by a German peer, he took the idea of threaded pieces back to the States and introduced it to his clients in the mid Seventies. Before this, people were using much more ‘unorthodox’ methods of piercing each other, making piercing a whole lot safer with Ward’s innovative jewellery. In 1975, Jim opened his studio The Gauntlet and drew in clientele from the gay and fetish community before opening to the general public three years later. The Gauntlet was considered one of the first piercing studios in the world and was at the forefront of the birth of modern day body piercing. 

Mr Sebastian

Mythbusters - Mr Sebastian
Mr Sebastian

Alan Oversby, otherwise known by his professional name Mr Sebastian, is very dear to us here at Rogue. Mr Sebastian was close friends with Jim Ward as well as other members of the gay community in the 70’s. Financially supported by a Hollywood friend, Mr Sebastian would visit LA to see Ward and friends as well as having them visit him at his home in London. This friendship is what brought body piercing to the UK. Being in the time before the internet, it was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge with each other to help the progression of piercing. He was also involved in the Spanner Case which still affects the piercing industry today!

Luis Garcia 

Mythbusters - Luis Garcia
Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia began his piercing career in 1991 in Florida. After moving to Philadelphia in 1998, he began to expand on his knowledge in piercing and specialised in large gauge piercing and ear projects. Luis is an active member of the APP and has gifted others with his knowledge in piercing at many conferences world wide, including the first piercing conference in Mexico, the Latino-American Body Piercing (LBP) Conference. He has won awards for his outstanding dedication to the industry, including the APP’s Josh Prentice award and even a piercing competition run by Industrial Strength, one of our suppliers!

As you can see from our history, when it comes to the original question, technically both and neither sides are the gay side! Modern day body piercing simply wouldn’t exist without the gay community. That is why we are passionate about supporting Pride and LGBTQ+ rights, now and always.  If you want to get a piercing then get it, the only thing that will change is you will have a new piercing.

Keep an eye out on our blog for future posts in the Myth Busters series where we debunk myths like the origination of the piercing name Prince Albert and more! 

Happy Pride Month, everyone! 

-Jess 

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COVID-19 Plans

Hi Folks!

COVID-19 has caused a wave of messages from our lovely clients asking when we will be able to reopen. At the time of writing this (28/05/2020) we only know that we won’t be in the first wave of businesses reopening. and that we may be allowed to reopen in July. We thought we would help put your minds at ease about safety at Rogue by letting you know what changes we are implementing in store for reopening time.

COVID-19 - Appointment Only

Longer Appointment Only – We work mainly by appointment but to allow time to clean more of the studio before and after each client we will be solely appointment based. Each appointment will also be longer than normal.

Single Client – To minimise contamination we will only be allowing one client per staff member. For piercings on minors and intimate we will allow a parent/legal guardian or a chaperone. Make sure to select which staff member you want to visit on our booking screen.

No Waiting Area – We will temporarily close our waiting area. Our comfy sofa will be back soon!

COVID-19 - Gloves and Masks

Mask and Gloves For Clients – Each client will be given a face mask and nitrile gloves as well as having access to hand sanitiser when they enter the store. This will help us create a clean bubble.

Cashless Payments – By paying with card you help us not having to hand cash and change between ourselves and our clients.

Webstore – If you know exactly what you want you can use our webstore here or contact us at hello@roguepiercing.co.uk

Remote Consent Forms – When you book your appointment you will be emailed a link to where you can fill out your consent form. We will check the info on our shop PC so we aren’t sharing tablets or pens.

Masks and Visors for Staff – Our staff will be wearing more PPE than usual. We understand it can look scary but we promise we’ll do our best to ease the tension with bad humour and even worse dancing.

COVID-19 Social Distancing

Social Distancing Markers in Store – We will create zones around the store so it’s easier to keep distance between everyone.

Front Desk Screen – A perspex screen will create a barrier at our front desk to protect us while we serve you.

Increased Cleaning Schedules – We already use medical grade disinfectants regularly throughout the store but we have increased how often we clean public surfaces such as door handles etc.

Limited Piercing Range – We will be holding off on Oral and Nasal piercings for a short while. This takes away some of our favourite piercings but we’ll bring them back as soon as it is safe to do so.

Training – As well as all of these changes we have also been working on our knowledge behind the scenes and taking WHO courses in Infection Control, Decontamination, Hygiene and COVID-19.

Thanks to the UKAPP for putting out some great guidelines that can be seen here

We love what we do and we love sharing it with you. As soon as we know when we can reopen we will post on our social medias and open our booking system again. Thank you to everyone that has locked down, quarantined or continued an essential service. We will do our very best to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 at Rogue when we are allowed to reopen. But for now Stay Safe everyone!

Aiden x

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Top 5 Pieces from the Restock (According to Kat)

You may have heard about the massive restock that Rogue has done! We’ve spent the last month or so updating the website so now you can have a look at all the new shinies we have. I thought I’d talk about my five favourite pieces. I might do this kind of post biannually to give you all a snapshot of what new stock we have come through our doors.

The first piece I’ve fallen in love with is this Green Paua Shell nipple bar from Industrial Strength. I just think it’s such a unique piece! Green Paua is a natural material collected from sea snails native to the ocean surrounding New Zealand. Since I used to live in NZ I feel a bit of a personal connection to this piece as I spent plenty of time as a kid picking up these shells from the beach near my house. I just think it would look gorgeous on deeper skin tones because of the contrast. Anodising the implant-grade Titanium to gold would also make the shell pop. Shop here.

The second piece that has my heart is this 18k yellow gold Mini Kandy set with a brilliant-cut Amethyst. Gold and purple are classic regal colours. Did you know that purple was reserved for royalty in the ancient world because it originated from a rare sea snail in the Phoenician empire? Bringing it back to mollusks again. I just think the Amethyst has such a gorgeous rich colour. Shop here.

These are interesting ones! These purple glass plugs from Gorilla Glass are such a gorgeous colour! I’m stretching my ears and if nobody takes them before I reach 6mm then they’re mine! These would look lovely in large gauge piercings such as a conch punch or large gauge lobe piercings. They look lovely and dark until the sun shines through them, when they light up a gorgeous ribena colour. Shop here.

This might just be my favourite Anatometal piece. If you look at the size of the thread (the post thing that the actual gem is connected to), you can see how tiny and delicate this piece actually is! We have two, and I think they’d look amazing in second lobe piercings. I love the symmetry that that would give. This lilac gem is like a pastel version of the Amethyst that I love so much in the Mini Kandy! Shop here.

These big and bold brass hangers from Buddha are genuinely so stunning. I love the modernistic texture on the plates; they remind me of sunshine! I like that they’re quite sizable yet still minimalistic. If I were to bring this post back to snails again, I might say that these hangers come in two sizes that roughly emulate the size of a normal snail and a slightly larger snail. Jokes aside, these brass hangers are absolutely gorgeous and in the coming months you might see me with a pair of my very own. Shop here.

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Meet the Rogue Team!

Even though the shop is shut, we are still busy behind the scenes. Our shop is filled with piercing enthusiasts and experts. We have recently expanded and hired a new counter staff member and jewellery lover to bring our total to three staff! Please appreciate our terrible avatars. We spent way too long on them.

Aiden – Big Boss

Aiden is the owner and head piercer at Rogue. Outside of work he enjoys DnD, crafting and general nerdery. And his bicycle, Trevor.

Where are you from?: Shropshire, but I’ve just returned from a long spell piercing and teaching abroad in Europe and the US.

How long have you been piercing? Around ten years!

Favourite part of the job?: Bringing customers visions to life.

What is your favourite piercing you have, and what is your favourite to pierce on others?: Probably my 25mm stretched lobes because I like the variety of jewellery I can wear, from weights to plugs and eyelets.

Favourite piece of jewellery you have?: My ‘Blessings to You’ Oregon bats. Unfortunately the company is no longer around so I don’t wear them as often as I’d like because I’m so nervous about losing them!

Dream piece of jewellery?: This changes quite a lot, but I’m currently loving a yellow Gold and London Blue Topaz set by BVLA that includes a Gemmed Gaia and Rose-cut cabochons.

Jess – Our Charming Apprentice

Jess is our lovely apprentice. She’s a bit of a hippie who loves cycling, and exploring nature and the city.

Where are you from?: I’m originally from a small village in rural Buckinghamshire. I’ve spent the last 5 years travelling through Europe, South/Central America and Asia. My favourite place that I passed through was Varanasi in Northern India.

How long have you been piercing?: I started my apprenticeship on the 25th of January, 2020.

What is your favourite piercing you have, and what is your favourite to pierce on others?: My favourite piercing is my philtrum (Thanks Aiden!) which has recently been upgraded to a solid yellow gold piece. I’m missing my retired VCH dearly and it will return some day! My favourite piercing to perform on others is the conch.

Favourite piece of jewellery you have?: I absolutely love my double-stacked septum because it is simple yet elegant, and handmade in-store by Aiden.

Dream piece of jewellery?: Wow, there are so many pieces that I want! My priority is a yellow Gold and Rutilated Quartz cabochon by BVLA for my philtrum, or the Diablo Organics Aurora weights in yellow Gold.

Kat – Counter Staff

Kat is a full-time Zoology BSc student at the University of Nottingham and part-time punk. She has a love for gold and unique piercings.

Where are you from: South Wales, from a little village by the ocean.

Favourite part of the job?: I love organising the spreadsheets because I’m a major excel nerd.

What is your favourite piercing you have?: I love my septum and I’m aiming to stretch it to 10g.

Favourite piece of jewellery you have?: My BVLA Mini Kandy end in yellow gold with white opal!

Dream piece of jewellery?: The BVLA Marquise fan in yellow gold, with a hammered center and two high polish fans on each side.

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High Quality? Part 19 – Education

Piercing Education comes in many different shapes and sizes. As there is no qualification to be a piercer all of your knowledge is passed from one piercer to another. Historically piercers would learn everything they can during their apprenticeship and then continuously learn from the day to day experiences of piercing. Piercing used to be an environment where information and knowledge was not shared with other piercers for “Fear of training my competition”. In the modern world, high quality piercers understand that by sharing our good information we can minimise the damage caused by low quality piercing.

Apprenticeships

The best way to get into the piercing industry is to take an apprenticeship. As there is no qualification it is important to research into the piercer you want to mentor from to ensure they are a reputable piercer. Looking for UKAPP and APP members is a great place to start.

An apprenticeship normally lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 years. A lot of the time apprenticeships are unpaid roles (some studios even charge for an apprenticeship) so the apprentice has to show dedication. As being a piercer is more of a lifestyle than a career this is to ensure that the apprentice really wants this life. Piercing is a job that can take you around the world and allow you to be whoever you want to be and look however you want. The payoff for that freedom is a volatile pay cheque and a job that has very little progression once trained.

Education - Not this guy please
When we say The Apprentice we’re not talking about Lord Sugar’s gang.

An apprenticeship would ideally cover the following subjects in a high level of detail:

  • Anatomy
  • Hygiene
  • Sterilisation
  • Sharps handling
  • Chemical handling
  • Customer management
  • Stock management
  • Bloodborne Pathogen training
  • First Aid training
  • Jewellery design
  • Materials technology
  • Troubleshooting piercings
  • How to pierce safely

Each of these subjects needs to be understood inside out before a piercer should be let loose on the public. Once an apprentice has shown they understand all of these key areas then they will be able to progress to junior piercer and begin working with the public until they have compounded their knowledge enough that they are a fully fledged piercer.

An apprenticeship given by a reputable piercer will open doors in the industry for an apprentice that will affect their lifetime as a piercer. It is important to find the best piercer possible to learn from to ensure the information gleaned is good and that the apprenticeship will be validated by other piercers for future work.

Piercing Schools

Education - No Schools
Piercing Schools are not recommended or respected by the piercing industry

Piercing schools are frowned upon by the piercing industry. The reason for this is that it is not possible to learn all the aspects of piercing in a 1 or 2 week course. The act of pushing a needle through someone can be learnt but all of the safety cannot. Aiden has worked with many different piercers around the world and has yet to find a piercing school that covers all the safety aspects adequately, let alone how to pierce straight and select appropriately jewellery. The vast majority of piercers see piercing schools as a way to take money of unsuspecting people. Piercing schools are expensive and will leave you with a “qualification” that is not respected or valued by the industry and may even go against you as a reputable piercer would have to train bad habits out rather than start from fresh.

Conferences

Education - UKAPP.org.uk

Piercing conferences have started to pop up all over the world in the last 5 years. Piercing conferences are for trained piercers to go and brush up on their education to ensure they are staying up to date. As piercing in the UK is an unregulated industry, the UKAPP conference is the best way to stay on top of any new techniques, jewellery options and legislation changes that can occur.

Networking is also an important part of piercing conferences as this is how piercers get invited to visit other studios to shadow more experienced piercers, find new jobs and find reputable piercers for when clients are visiting a different town or city.

Shadowing

Another way to stay on top of your education as a piercer is to visit other studios and shadow more experienced piercers. This is recommended as the best way to fill any gaps in a piercers knowledge. A piercer should never use the public as guinea pigs but instead should watch another piercer carry out the piercing so they can learn and ask questions.

Shadowing commonly leads to new employment opportunities for both full time and guest spots.

Piercing Forums

Piercing forums are a great way to view lots of piercing education. Groups such as the UK Piercing Professionals group on Facebook are a prime example. Groups like this help piercers to peer review and techniques and new jewellery, discuss oddities from studio life and ask for advice if required. These groups tend to be moderated by reputable piercers to keep the information good but as with everything on the internet it is always best to fact check. Learning online is no replacement for hands on learning from a reputable piercer. Aiden has been as admin on the UK Piercing Professionals group since it was formed and is proud to have supported the growth of many piercers across the UK, Europe and the world.

Education - https://www.facebook.com/groups/UKPiercingProfessionals/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/UKPiercingProfessionals/ – A group for professional piercers. Proof of work must be given before access to the group is given.

Self Taught

In the early 90’s when the piercing industry was still in its infancy, self teaching through trial and error on our own bodies was an acceptable way to learn to pierce. As you can imagine a lot of lessons both good and bad were learnt during this time. Piercers have learnt everything they can from self teaching so this is not an acceptable method to learn to pierce anymore. Reputable piercers will advise people against self piercing for their own safety. We have been there already and we don’t need to go back.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to gain education about piercing but the best way is to go through an apprenticeship. A reputable piercer will use aspects from all of these different ways of learning to gain their initial knowledge and skills and then stay on top of their education. Every day is a school day!

That’s it for this week. Hopefully you know a little more about how your piercer learnt what they do. We will be back next week to discuss Mill Certificates for jewellery. This has been a popular request and we are happy to listen. Have a good week everyone!

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High Quality? Part 18 – Studio Design

Good studio design is essential to keeping you and your piercer safe. If a studio is designed badly then there is a high risk of cross contamination which can lead to infections. This week we will explain how to spot a well designed studio. UKAPP and APP members have their studios vetted before they can become members so choosing a UKAPP or APP studio is a great way to ensure you are in a safe and clean environment.

Non-Porous

Studio Design - Non porous

This first thing you normally come to in any shop is the front desk. This desktop should be non-porous so that it can be cleaned. As lots of people touch the desk

and regularly place worn jewellery on the surface (Please don’t do this. It stresses us out) we need to disinfect it regularly to prevent cross contamination. As we don’t know what bacteria may be on a piece of jewellery and the desktop we us medical grade high level surface disinfectants and if the desktop is porous the disinfectant will not be effective.

The floor should be the next thing to take a look at. As rugs can trap lots of dust (skin cells are the main component of dust) they can be a hazard in the shop. The majority of the floor in the reception and waiting area should be non-porous and the piercing room room should be completely non-porous. Doormats and any rugs should be cleaned regularly and disposed off if they become contaminated with any body fluids. This way the floors can be disinfected daily and don’t harbour any potential risks. As jewellery can be dropped it is essential that the floor is cleaned daily. Also as piercings can sometimes involve blood we need to ensure that if blood gets on the floor that it can be cleaned off effectively.

Once you are in the piercing room almost everything should be non-porous. The bed, worktop, work table, cupboard doors, door handles, sink etc should all be non-porous. The piercing room will need to be washed down in disinfectant at the start and end of the day and after each customer. If these items are porous then they will be contaminated quickly and be unable to be disinfected.

Private Area

Studio Design - Private

The piercing room itself should be in a private area away from the front desk. No other procedures (tattooing, jewellery sales etc) outside of piercing should be carried out in this area to ensure that it stays clean and doesn’t become contaminated. A private area also means that your piercing isn’t a show for anyone in the shop or walking past and this will make the experience much more comfortable.

The walls of the piercing room should ideally go all the way to the ceiling but if not they must be at least 8 feet high. By being enclosed or having walls at this height the contamination from air is minimised. Dust, dirt and other particles in the air can contaminate surfaces. It is a recommendation by the UKAPP and APP to install HEPA filters to clean the air in the piercing room to minimise this contamination risk.

Clean and Dirty Sides

Studio Design - Clinical Waste Sign
Signs should be posted warning where clinical waste is stored

As piercing generates clinical waste it is important to set clean and dirty sides to the piercing room. This will prevent the clean items (needles, gloves, consumables etc) being contaminated before they are used. The ideal solution is to keep the clinical waste bin and used tool rinse tray near each other on the opposite side of the room to the sink and clean items. This same rule will apply in the sterilisation room but customers rarely get to see this part of a studio.

Sinks

Piercing studios need more sinks than you might expect. A good studio design requires the following sinks:

  • Bathroom – for washing hands after using the toilet
  • Piercing Room – for washing before and after a procedure
  • Sterilisation Room – for cleaning tools
Studio Design - Lever Operated Tap
Lever operated taps keep hands from being contaminated after washing

Each sink should only be used for the activities listed above. Hand should not be washed in the bathroom or sterilisation room before piercing as there is a risk of contamination in these areas. Tools should also not be washed in the piercing room sink to ensure that sink stays clean.

Each of these sinks will also need a hot and cold water feed and a tap that can be turned off without using your hands. This is to ensure that hands don’t get dirty again after washing. Some studios fit sensor taps whereas others go for lever taps that are operated with the elbow. Either are fine.

This is just scratching the surface of studio design but should give you an idea of what to look out for in a piercing studio. For more information on what a piercing studio should have inside check out the membership requirements for UKAPP or APP as they will go into more detail.

That’s it for this week! Next week we will be discussing training and education for piercers. Have a good week everyone!