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Labret Posts – Simple Right?

Neometal Threadless Labret
A photo of the Neometal threadless labret available here

Labret posts seem like humble little pieces of metal but they are the true workhorses of the piercing world. This week we will be looking at the importance of labret posts, why they are the shape they are and why we love them so much!

So to start with lets refresh on what a labret is. It is a Post with a disc on one end. The disc can be fixed or removable and they post can be threaded or threadless. The labret post is the part which passes through your body and the part that holds all the beautiful ends in place. Many different manufacturers make labrets but sadly not all are made equal. For a refresh on all of the different aspects of high quality jewellery then take a look back at our High Quality? Series of Blogs here.

Importance

Labret posts are one of the key reasons we have so many piercing and jewellery options available to us. Before labret studs the only options were rings and barbells. By changing the ball on a barbell to a disc, piercers were able to offer piercings in much smaller placements e.g. forward helix, with less space at the back e.g the labret piercing and for more comfort e.g. sleeping on lobe piercings.

Design

A CAD drawing of a threadless labret by Aiden

While they may seem simple there are a lot of design constraints. A labret must be sized correctly in post length and gauge, connection choice and disc diameter and thickness.

Length

NeoMetal: Threadless Titanium Labret Post - POST ONLY (16g and 14g posts  for 16g and 14g ends) - Body Jewelry
Labrets are available in an array of sizes, gauges, disc size and style

The length of the post for a jewellery maker is more than the piercer approach of ensuring the jewellery is long enough to not embed and not too long so it snags. The gauge of the post must be thick enough that a suitable thread can be placed inside with enough metal left to support the thread without breaking. 1.6mm/14g barbells were already around when labrets were invented but as demand grew for 1.2mm/16g and 1.0mm/16g jewellery the labret was ready to take the top spot.

Connection

Press-fit Jewelry
Threadless example from Neometal

Connection choice might seem simple. Just drill a hole either small enough for threadless or large enough to tap a thread. But threadless has been under patent since the early 90’s and has only just entered public license so this wasn’t an option for most manufacturers. For threaded pieces large taps could easily break the labret and smaller thread patterns can be weak and easily stripped. The solution was to settle on an unusual thread pattern for the smaller bars. 000-120 for 1.2mm/16g and 1.0mm/18g. For the larger 1.6mm/14g and 2.0mm/12g a much more readily available thread pattern of M1.2 is used. To top all of this off if the labret has got a removable disc then the post has to be long enough the the holes drilled for threadless of threaded don’t meet in the middle. Since threadless has become public domain we have seen a lot of advancement in the miniaturisation of jewellery and a rise in the popularity of smaller piercing sites such as forward helixes.

Disc Size

M&M Ends
An M&M Disc by Anatometal shown here

The Disc on a labret has 3 main dimensions; diameter, thickness and angle.

The diameter is important because it is used to balance the weight of the end placed on the labret. If the disc doesn’t balance then gravity will pull the jewellery down and the edge of the disc will start to irritate the piercing site. Diameter is also especially important during the initial healing phase as it prevents the body swelling over and embedding the jewellery. Conversely a disc that is too large will be pulled down by gravity and can pull the end into the body. It is all a balancing act.

Thickness of the disc can help to minimise any irritation of the jewellery in the body. If the disc is too thin it will essentially be knife edge scraping and cutting the piercing site all day. If it is too thick then it creates a corner that acts the same as a thin disc. The key here is ti find the balance in the middle and then polish the edges so that there are no sharp points that could hurt the piercing.

By angle of the disc we mean the angle from the post to the edge of the disc. We don not mean the angle of the post coming out of the disc. An easy visual of this is a Flat Disc compared to an M&M Disc. The reason for different angles is to allow space between the piercing and jewellery for drainage, to minimise sharp edges in soft tissue e.g. tongue piercings and to give more weight to balance larger ends.

When your piercer selects the labret post for your piercing they are taking all of this and more into consideration. No two bodies are alike and so our body jewellery has to be as unique as we are. Just remember that your piercer will pierce you with initial size and for comfort and a happy, healthy piercing you will need to go back for a downsize.

So hopefully we’ve shown you that we love labret posts. Without this humble piece of jewellery the world of piercing would be a much duller place! We’ll be back next week with another lockdown blog. Stay safe everyone!

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Custom Jewellery-The Custom Order Process

A suite of custom ordered jewellery from BVLA

Hi Folks! Today I am taking over the blog to demystify the process of ordering custom jewellery through Rogue Piercing.

Almost any piece of jewellery we sell can be ordered to your custom specifications. You need a Neometal threadless labret in a certain size we don’t normally carry? We can custom order one in for you. You need a full suite of BVLA jewellery for your wedding in 2022? We can custom order that for you. You can read a post about my favourite pieces of custom jewellery here.

A Suite of BVLA items custom-ordered with Rogue Piercing. From left: ‘Integrity’ with Clear Swarovski, ‘Pave Tear’ with Grey AA Diamond, and ‘Marquise Fan.’

Custom Jewellery- How the Process Works

  1. Making Contact

Let’s follow through and say you would like a full suite of BVLA items for your piercings in time for your wedding day in 2022. Your first port of call would be to email our jewellery manager Kat at kat@roguepiercing.co.uk or send us a DM through our instagram @roguepiercing

  1. Sharing Ideas

You may only have a rough idea of what you want- 18ct Yellow Gold and purple stones? From that, Kat will work with you and guide you through all the options for you. Do you want pieces that are large and in charge? Do you want a lot of solid metals or do you want the gems to do the talking? Once you have decided on a style, Kat will come back to you with a list of pieces she thinks you would love. If you need more inspiration, you would head to the companies website at BVLA, Anatometal or Industrial Strength and peruse their options.

  1. Deposits and Balances 

Kat will then give you a quote on the total cost of your order. Often we will take a 50% deposit in order to go through with the order but we can take as little as 25% if you are a regular client of ours.

Once this deposit is paid, you have 6 months from the date of order to fully pay the rest of the balance. Some clients will pay in as little as £5 or £10 a week! However most people will pay the other 50% of the balance once the jewellery has arrived with us prior to having it fitted. We are totally understanding of any clients undergoing financial stress as a result of the pandemic. We know that custom-made jewellery can be a source of joy and so we are happy to extend the 6 month payment date for clients who need that extra time. 

A custom-ordered BVLA ‘Coffin’ in 14k Yellow Gold set with Genuine AA Garnet.
  1. Checking and Double-Checking!

From here, Kat will write up a custom order sheet that covers each item in detail to make sure every single piece is exact to your specifications.

You get to double check all the intricacies of each of your items. We then check again to make sure you are happy. Kat will send you a link to your custom order payment screen on our website, roguepiercing.co.uk.

Here is an example of what you would be looking at!

An example of your custom order payment screen!

Once you are happy, you can add this custom payment to your basket and check out as normal. You may need to book for piercings too. You can go to roguepiercing.co.uk/book-now and pay for everything all at once.

  1. Manufacture

Each company we work with has a different ‘lead time,’ or how long it takes to make your jewellery. Since each item is made to order, it can take a little bit of time. Commonly orders from Industrial Strength or Anatometal can take between 6 and 8 weeks, and orders from BVLA commonly take between 12 and 14 weeks. It must be mentioned that due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, these lead times are only guidelines. Each company is working hard to make sure that your jewellery gets out to you in a timely manner, and we thank them for that!

  1. Arrival!

The next step is the exciting day that your jewellery arrives with us. This is one of our favourite parts of the whole process- This is many months of work finally coming to fruition! First we check that everything has arrived safely and to our clients specification, and then we get in touch. Normally we will send an email and give you a phone call to let you know it’s time to book in to get your jewellery fitted! After you have booked in, we take some of those stunning photos you are all used to seeing on our website and instagram. After we fit the jewellery for you, we take some more snazzy photos and you are ready to go!

BVLA ‘Single Swirl’ in 14k Yellow Gold and genuine London Blue Topaz

To conclude…

Our favourite part of the whole process is the happiness we see in your faces when you see your dream jewellery finally sitting prettily in your piercings. That moment makes all the work worthwhile for us.

I hope this has demystified the process of custom ordering jewellery for you all. As always, I am happy to respond to any queries you may have.

A BVLA Custom Suite. From left, ‘Gaia’ set with genuine Green Tourmaline and clear CZ, ‘Reema’ set with Peach Topaz, and ‘Mini Kandy’ set with 1.5mm Seafoam Tourmaline.
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High Quality? Part 20 – Gem Settings

Gem settings are how jewellery manufacturers make sure the gems in jewellery don’t fall out. There are different types of gem settings and each has its pros and cons as well as bringing a different style to the final piece. This week we will show some of the different settings and their pros and cons.

Bezel

An Industrial Strength Bezel Set Synthetic Pink Opal – available here

Bezel settings give one of the simplest and cleanest styles of all the gem settings but don’t let their simple look hide their hidden complexities. Simply put a bezel setting is a cup or box that a gem sits inside, and the top lip of the cup or box is rolled over to hold the gem in place. This could be something as simple as a standard round gem or something more complex like an asymmetric piece. Bezel settings are great for initial piercings as they have less snag risk than other options and, when well-made, will have nowhere for crusties to build up and dull the gems shine. As the gem is enclosed in the setting, bezel set gems don’t shine as much as other options. When mass manufactured bezel settings require calibrated gems (gems cut to tight measurement tolerances) and a high level of quality control to ensure gems do not move or spin.

Pros

  • Minimal snag risk
  • Can hold asymmetric gems
  • Cleaner for initial piercing

Cons

  • Gems can spin if not set correctly
  • Gems aren’t as bright due to being enclosed
  • Jewellery has to be deeper to enclose the gem

Prong/Claw

A Neometal Prong Set Ocean Grey Swarovski – Available here

Prong and Claw settings are two names for holding a gem in place using small pieces of metal around the gem like claws. Prong and Claw are interchangeable terms. These settings are perfect for making gems shine and sparkle as the light can enter the gem from all sides. Prong/Claw settings are capable of holding both large and small gems but at smaller sizes the gem can get obscured by the setting or not have enough metal for a strong setting. Due to requiring less metal to hold the gem securely, prong set jewellery can be made smaller so are perfect for daintier options.

Pros

  • Lots of light play
  • Can hold asymmetric gems
  • Gives a lighter and daintier look due to less metal

Cons

  • More attentive cleaning regime required
  • Can obscure smaller stones
  • More expensive due to highly skilled practitioner required

Pavé

A BVLA Pavé set Swarovski Snowflake – available here

Pavé settings are pure decadence as an entire surface is covered with gemstones. To achieve this lots of small settings halfway between a bezel and a claw must be made. This is the setting choice for those that really want their jewellery to stand out and to show off the gemstones more than the metal. By embedding the gemstones into the jewellery the jewellery will need to be slightly deeper. Snag risk is low to medium with this setting as the settings are low to the metal surface, but there are lots of them.

Pros

  • Lots of gems can be placed tight together to create a unique style
  • Minimal metal is visible for a more gem based style

Cons

  • An extremely skilled stone setter is required
  • If the setting becomes damaged multiple gems can be lost

Channel

An Industrial Strength Channel Set Clear Swarovski End – Available here

Channel settings involve cutting grooves into a channel so that multiple stones share the same setting. This is a very secure method of holding gems but requires very accurately made gemstones and jewellery. As the gems and setting are completely enclosed the snag risk is very low with these. Due to the open space between the gems channel settings allow a fair amount of light play and sparkle but can allow build up of crusties so require careful cleaning.

Pros

  • Lots of sparkle
  • Minimal snag risk
  • Durable design for high friction areas

Cons

  • Cleaning can be tricky if crusties build up
  • Not many manufacturers available for body jewellery
  • Calibrated gems are required

There are many variations on these settings and some jewellery will contain multiple different types of setting. If you are unsure about which settings will work well for you and your piercings then get in touch and let us know what you’re thinking. We will be glad to help you find the jewellery of your dreams.

That’s all for this week but we’ll be back next week with more piercing and jewellery knowledge.

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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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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!

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High Quality? Part 17 – Custom Orders

Custom Orders cover any time you want to order something that your piercer doesn’t stock. This could be something as simple as a size they don’t carry or it can go all the way into custom designing a new piece of jewellery just for you. A lot of the utterly stunning jewellery that you see on social media will have been custom ordered to the exact specification of the customer. This weeks blog will try to help you understand the process of custom ordering with your piercer as well as what happens once your piercer has placed your order. We will explain how we work at Rogue but other piercers may work in different ways.

Placing Your Order

Image result for consultation
Custom Order – Your piercer will get as much information as possible from you about your order

The first step to custom ordering is getting in touch with your piercer. The best way to go about this is to have a face to face consultation. We offer free jewellery consultations at Rogue so that we have time to sit together and discuss what you want. You can book a free jewellery consultation here. In person is best so that your piercer can assess your anatomy, take any measurements required and check that the piece you are thinking of will work for that location. Your piercer may come up with some ideas that you hadn’t thought of too. As custom orders cannot be returned it is important to ensure that all sizing and colours are correct. Distance consultations can be carried out by email and/or messenger but your piercer will not be able to guarantee that the sizing is correct or that the jewellery is appropriate for the location. Here at Rogue we fill out a custom order form with you so that we can all check that the details are correct and that no information gets lost before your order arrives.

Deposit

Image result for deposit
Custom orders will not be placed without a deposit

Once you have finalised the piece of jewellery you require you will then need to place a deposit before your piercer will place the order. A deposit is required because custom orders may be made from colour or sizing combinations that suit your style well but may not sell well in store. As custom ordered jewellery cannot be returned to the supplier, a deposit ensures your piercer doesn’t lose out if you never pay off the balance and collect your jewellery. At Rogue we take a 50% deposit but we have been known to be flexible to help out our regulars who are working towards larger jewellery set ups. At Rogue you have 6 months from the date of order to pay off the total balance on your jewellery. If the total balance is not paid off in this time you may lose your deposit and your jewellery.

Ordering

Once you have had your consultation and paid your deposit your piercer will then add your order to their order list. Shipping on a single order costs an average of $75 plus VAT, because of this your piercer will group orders together to spread out the shipping cost over multiple pieces of jewellery. This means your order may not be placed straight away. At Rogue we place orders every other month with different suppliers. If you want your order to be rushed then you always have the option of paying the shipping fee in full.

Manufacture

Custom Order - Jewellery in production on a lathe
Custom Order – Jewellery in production on a lathe

Our body jewellery manufacturers are currently under a lot of strain and are doing their very best to keep up with demand but due to the explosion of popularity for high quality jewellery their wait times have increased. Some manufacturers currently have lead times of up to 4 months! YOur piercer will have given you an estimate of manufacture time during your consultation. Your piercer will do everything then can to get your jewellery to you ASAP but once it is with the manufacturer there is very little we can do other than wait. If you have a specific event you want your jewellery for e.g. a wedding, then let your piercer know as sometimes our jewellery manufacturers will be able to rush 1 or 2 pieces to help make your day extra special.

Shipping

Custom Orders - Most body jewellery is made in North America so will need to be shipped to the UK
Custom Orders – Most body jewellery is made in North America so will need to be shipped to the UK

Once your jewellery is complete it will packaged and sent via courier to your piercer. As most of our jewellery manufacturers are currently based in North America this means that import charges will occur. Your piercer will have already factored these in to the cost so don’t worry there won’t be anything extra to pay but there may be an extra delay if customs decide to hold the order. This has happened to us in the past at Rogue but it has only ever added 1 week maximum delay.

Arrival

Your jewellery will then arrive with your piercer. They will check that the order is correct and that there are no defects from the manufacture. Once Quality Control is complete your piercer will then process your jewellery so that it is sterile and ready to go into your piercing. Your piercer will then contact you to let you know that your jewellery has arrived! If you have any of your balance left to pay then your piercer will arrange for you to pay either in person when you collect your jewellery or via a different method e.g. via our webshop.

Installation

The final step! At this stage you head to your piercer and they install your brand new, custom ordered jewellery! This is a special moment as all of the work that has gone into custom ordering comes to fruition. Your piercer will probably be just as excited you are and want to take ALL of the photos.

Custom Orders - Ear Project Featuring Rose gold, Rainbow Moonstone, Anodised Titanium and Swarovski
Custom Orders – Ear Project Featuring Rose gold, Rainbow Moonstone, Anodised Titanium and Swarovski

Conclusion

So that’s how custom orders work! If you would like to custom order your own jewellery then head to our book now page and book a free jewellery consultation to get the ball rolling. What will you design for yourself! If you have any questions about today’s blog then leave a comment below.

That’s it for this week. We will be back next week to discuss studio design. A well designed studio can make the difference between a good and bad studio.

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High Quality? Part 16 – Piercing Associations

Piercing Associations might not seem like an important part of high quality piercing but our associations are what drives progression and spreads health and safety knowledge to the industry. As piercing in the UK is currently unregulated and only governed by local bylaws, piercing associations are the main way to look for high quality and safe piercers. This week’s blog will give a little history to our associations, explain their importance to the industry and finally help you understand why you should look for a piercer who is an association member.

In the Beginning there was the APP

APP - Association of Professional Piercers

Many piercing associations have come and gone since the piercing industry started in the late 80’s, early 90s. Only 1 organisation has managed to stay the course and that is the APP (Association of Professional Piercers). The APP formed in California in 1995 to try and create some minimum safety standards for piercing. Since then the organisation has grown to a global entity that has a conference with over 1000 attendees in Las Vegas every year and members all over the world and has been instrumental into raising safety standards globally.

Aiden's Safe Metals Class at APP 2018
Aiden’s Safe Metals Class at APP 2018

The APP’s conference has classes and seminars that cover everything from best sterilisation practices, piercing techniques and discussion about new equipment to discussions about the direction of the industry, history classes from those that were there at the time and anthropology classes looking at the modern and tribal world.

Aiden is proud to have taught the Safe Metals Class at APP in Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018 alongside some of his piercing heroes.

For more information about the APP take a look at their website here.

UKAPP

The UKAPP (United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers) formed in 2015 to carry on the APP’s health and safety message across the UK. As the APP is primarily based in the USA it was difficult to keep up with legislation changes around the world so sister organisations formed. The UKAPP is a stand alone organisation that works closely with the APP.

UKAPP - United Kingdom Association of Professional Piercers

The UKAPP also has its own conference every year that brings in teachers from across the UK and around the world as well as piercers from across the

UK, Europe and globally. As a health and safety organisation the UKAPP’s aim is to raise standards in the UK for the safety of the general public and piercers too.

UKAPP conference 2017
UKAPP conference 2017

As well as educating piercers the UKAPP also consults with the CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) and over governmental bodies to make legislative change for the industry. This is a slow process but the UKAPP has been successful in making change as Wales is currently putting in higher standards for piercing after consulting with the UKAPP. The UKAPP also campaigned to have Female Genital Piercing reclassified so it is no longer considered to be Female Genital Mutilation.

Aiden was one of the founding members of the UKAPP and was the treasurer from 2015-2018 and has taught classes at the first 4 conferences. Rogue will be a UKAPP verified piercing studio in the near future as we are proud of our high standards. We are currently not members as our store is still to young to join.

For more information about the UKAPP or to find a member near you check their website here.

Other Organisations

Other sister organisations to the APP have formed across the world. Notable organisations are:

VPP – Germany
LBP – Latin America
APPe – Spain
RuAPP – Russia

Membership

Around the world piercing is generally an unregulated industry. This means that safety standards can sometimes be worryingly low. Piercing associations offer membership which shows that the piercer or studio meets minimum standards that are much higher than local legislation requires. To be a member of a piercing association means that your piercer or studio agrees to:

First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership
First Aid and CPR training are requirements for association membership

  • Use sterile equipment
  • Use implant grade or historically safe jewellery materials
  • Use safe designs of body jewellery
  • Test their sterilisation equipment
  • Have a studio design based around safety
  • Have First Aid and CPR certification
  • Carry our Blood Borne Pathogen training

It might seem like a lot of the membership requirements should be obvious but the vast majority of piercing studios do not meet these requirements. By choosing a piercer that is a member of piercing organisation you are choosing someone who has pledged to carry out piercings in the safest manner possible as well as someone who wants to progress the piercing industry for the good of the general public and piercers alike.

Aiden was a UKAPP member before travelling the globe to expand his piercing knowledge and now that he has settled back in the UK will be joining again once Rogue has collected all of the required paperwork. We are excited to be members again!

Conclusion

So hopefully now you have an understanding of why piercing associations are required for high quality piercing. If you are looking for a new piercer then we recommend heading the your local piercing association website and looking for a member as you will be supporting piercers who want the best for you and who support the piercing industry as a whole.

That’s it for this week! We will be back next week to discuss custom ordering jewellery. Have a good week everyone!

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High Quality? Part 15 – Skin Prep

Skin Prep before a piercing is vitally important to ensure you avoid getting an infection. Skin prep covers chemicals and techniques of application.

Chemicals

There are many different chemicals that can be used for skin prep. As with most parts of piercing a single use and disposable option is the best to prevent the chemicals from being contaminated and used on multiple customers. Some can be used together and others will cancel each other out. Understanding what each chemical does is the key to learning how to use it correctly. The aim for skin prep is to remove debris such as dead skin cells, dirt, skin oil etc and then to use an antiseptic to kill pathogens that are on the skin. This is generally achieved using a two step process of scrub and then paint. The second half of this blog will explain the physical process better.

AgentMechanism of ActionRapidity of ActionAdvantagesDisadvantages
AlcoholDenature proteinsMost rapidEasily available, can be used for scrub and paint Must be used when wet which will sting in a fresh piercing. Can cancel effects of other chemicals
ChlorhexidineDisrupt cell membraneIntermediateEasily Available, can be used for scrub and paintColourless so can be hard to see where applied
Iodine/IodophorsOxidation/substitution by free iodineIntermediateColours the skin to show where appliedCustomers can have allergic reactions to Iodine, can stain clothes
PCMXDisrupt cell wallIntermediateCan be used for scrub and paint Rarely available sterile

Data taken from Brian Skellie’s website and The Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

The most common skin prep chemicals found in piercing shops will be Alcohol, Chlorhexidine, Iodine and PCMX. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Apart from alcohol all of the other chemicals must be allowed to fully dry to achieve their antiseptic properties. Due to alcohol having to stay wet it is not recommended for the paint stage as it will make the piercing hurt more once alcohol gets into the wound.

At Rogue we use Chlorhexidine for the scrub and paint stage as it has minimal reactions, dries in 30 seconds to a minute, is available sterile and single use and doesn’t stain clothes.

Application

How the skin prep is applied is just as important as the chemicals chosen. If the piercing site gets contaminated during cleaning then the chemicals won’t be effective. The best way to apply skin prep chemicals is in a 2 stage process known as scrub and paint.

Scrub

Skin Prep - Spiral Technique
A spiral motion is used to clean the skin without contamination

Scrub involves using physical action to remove dead skin cells and debris and a chemical to break down any skin oils. The best way to do this without contaminating the piercing site is to start in the centre and scrub outwards in a spiral motion. This will push debris away from the piercing site and leave a clean area behind.

Once the scrub has been completed the chemicals should be left to dry. Your piercer will now be able to mark you for your piercing.

Paint

Once your piercer has marked your piercing they should then apply a second chemical. This time the chemical will be used to kill any microbes left on the skin. This time the chemical should be applied over the whole area and left to dry for the appropriate kill time (different for each manufacturer). Your piercing site will now be free from debris and any microbes will be dead. You are now ready for your piercing and your piercer will start to switch their gloves ready for an aseptic technique piercing.

Although this process sounds simple it can be easily carried out incorrectly. The majority of piercers in the UK only use the scrub stage as this is recommended by the NHS for injections. Piercings leave the wound open due to the jewellery so it is important that an antiseptic is applied and these guidelines have come from medical research into implant rather than injection. Ask your piercer about the chemicals they are using if you are unsure of anything.

That’s it for this week! As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us. We’ll be back next week to talk all about piercing associations!

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High Quality? Part 14 – Aseptic Technique

Aseptic – adjective:
1: Free from contamination caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms; surgically sterile or sterilized.
1.1: (of surgical practice) aiming at the complete exclusion of harmful microorganisms.

Septic – adjective:
1: Infected with microorganisms, especially harmful bacteria.

Most people have heard of the word septic but few have heard of aseptic. These 2 words sound similar and are easily mixed up but they are opposites. It is important that a piercer uses an aseptic technique for your piercing to minimise the risk of infection. There are several ways that a piercer can carry out an aseptic technique and this weeks blog will aim to show you what to look out for.

Gloves

Hopefully it should now be common knowledge that a piercer should wear gloves during a procedure. It is less commonly known that there are different types of gloves that should be worn depending on the techniques used. There are 2 basic types of gloves used by piercers:

Examination Gloves

Aseptic - A standard black examination glove
Aseptic – Standard exam gloves are fine for cleaning and skin prep but not for the actual piercing

Examination gloves are the standard gloves that are readily available. Most of us have worn a pair of these at some point in our lives. They are generally made from latex, nitrile or vinyl. Rogue is a latex free shop to protect our clients with latex allergies. Exam gloves have to meet EN455 standard to be safe to use. Here is a link to more information about EN455 EN455 states the test methods and quality control required to ensure that gloves do not leak, are free from chemical residues and the maximum shelf life before they must be disposed of.

Exam gloves only protect the wearer. Due to the way that exam gloves are packed and stored they are classed as contaminated. This is fine for use where there is no broken skin e.g. cleaning the piercing room, applying skin prep and marking before a piercing and for setting up for a piercing but they are not appropriate for the piercing procedure as it is unknown what bacteria and pathogens may be on the surface. The vast majority of piercers in the UK use exam gloves for a piercing procedure. In other parts of Europe such as France it is mandatory to wear sterile gloves during a piercing procedure.

Sterile Gloves

Sterile gloves are exam or surgical gloves that have been through tighter controls during manufacture to prevent contamination and pass through gamma radiation to sterilise them and kill any potential pathogens. They are packed and sealed specially to ensure they are sterile up to the point of use and can be donned without contaminating. The following video shows how sterile gloves are made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtFCpOjc5zc
Aspetic Technique – Ansell sterile gloves being made

Techniques

Aseptic No Touch Technique

Aseptic - a phlebotomist taking a blood sample with no gloves on is fine because they are using mechanical barriers for an ANTT
Aseptic – a phlebotomist taking a blood sample with no gloves on is fine because they are using mechanical barriers for an ANTT

It is possible to carry out a piercing using non-sterile exam gloves as long as an Aseptic No Touch Technique (ANTT) is followed. ANTT means that tools and other mechanical devices are used so that the part of the needle passing through the body and the jewellery are never touched and therefor stay sterile until insertion. The majority of piercers will have to touch your needle and jewellery to carry out your piercing. ANTT is possible but rarely used in the piercing industry. An example of ANTT is during a blood test at the hospital. The needles and equipment used for drawing blood for tests are all designed so that the phlebotomist never touches the part of the needle entering the body.

Freehand Piercing

Freehand piercing removes the use of tools and clamps for the piercing procedure. This means that the piercing is more comfortable and the risk of using contaminated tools is removed. A skilled piercer can carry out your piercing using just a needle and the jewellery. This method will involve the piercer having to touch your jewellery and needle with their hands so sterile gloves are required to prevent contamination. Sterile gloves have to be donned carefully and not touch anything non-sterile to prevent contamination. If the gloves become contaminated they should be removed and replaced before carrying out the piercing procedure.

At Rogue we use freehand techniques and sterile gloves to ensure your safety and to minimise the risk of infection.

Conclusion

There are different aseptic techniques but the main thing to remember is that the needle and jewellery should never touch anything non-sterile until it enters your body. Ask your piercer about the gloves they use and if they use sterile gloves.

That’s it for this week. Next week’s blog will be all about skin prep before a piercing. Have a good week everyone!