Glass jewelry is a really unique material, especially when used for a body piercing. In this article, we’ll discuss what makes it so special, as well as important things you need to know before purchasing your piece. We’ll cover the three main types of glass jewelry: borosilicate glass, soda lime glass, and quartz glass. We’ll also cover the pros and cons of each, types of glass jewelry for body piercings, and how to care for your glass pieces.
Glass for jewelry is a true standout. Let’s break it down so you can make the best choice possible.
Why Glass Is a Great Material for Body Jewelry
Glass has a lot going for it and is an excellent alternative to metal and organic jewelry. It’s nonporous and hypoallergenic, unlike some other materials, so it’s easy to clean and won’t harbor bacteria on its surface. Advanced processing techniques make it quite sturdy, although it will never be as strong as steel or titanium. It’s non-organic, autoclavable, lightweight, easy to clean, odorless, and features a comfortable, smooth surface. Finally, most glass body jewelry is handmade and comes in an endless variety of shapes, designs, colors, and light-refracting effects.
Types of Products You Can Get in Glass
Glass is suitable for a few different body jewelry pieces. Perennial favorites are plugs and hanging designs like pinchers, dangles, and spirals. Some retainers can also come in glass. When choosing your jewelry, don’t forget to check out special glass effects and treatments. These include cool effects like frosted, glow-in-the-dark, and light-reflective dichro foils and patterns.
The 3 Popular Types of Glass Jewelry
Three types of glass used in body jewelry are borosiliclcate, soda lime, and quartz.
- Quartz glass jewelry is created by melting and purifying the purest quartz sand on earth. It’s also 100% hypoallergenic, highly light-refractive, and strong. Like pyrex, it can withstand very high temperatures. This type of jewelry is only available in clear and is most often used for small gauge pieces.
- Borosilicate glass, often known as Pyrex, is heat, shock, and scratch-resistant. Its durability comes from a kiln-heated process. As body jewelry, it can be super-decorative and comes in amazing colors and designs. Additionally, it contains no nickel so that it’s good for those allergic or sensitive to it.
- Soda lime glass is the most common glass used in the world. It’s a combination of silica, soda, and lime. It’s less heat-resistant than pyrex but can be annealed without issues. It comes in a wide range of transparent and opaque colors like pyrex.
Other Types of Glass Body Jewelry
You can also find glass jewelry in obsidian and barium crystal.
- Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic mineral. It’s usually the blackest black but can also be deep red or green. If you purchase an obsidian piece, take care to verify that it’s authentic. Some soda lime pieces are marketed as “obsidian.”
- Although barium crystal is rarely used in body jewelry, it’s not unheard of. Barium crystal is a brilliant, high-quality art glass famous for its transparency and high light-refraction index.
Borosilicate, Quartz, and Soda Lime Compared
- Great alternative to metals like steel or titanium
- Available in a wide variety of cool colors and designs
- Contains no nickel
- Extremely sturdy
- Can be autoclaved
- Thermal resistant
- Highly durable - greater longevity than soda lime glass
- Eyelets will be more fragile than solid glass plugs
- Small gauges have more of a risk of breaking
- Generally the strongest of the three types of glass jewelry
- 100% hypoallergenic
- More heat-resistant than borosilicate
- More light-refractive than borosilicate
- Available in smaller gauges than borosilicate
- Can be autoclaved
- Only comes in clear
- For retainer use only
- Not recommended for sport activity
- Generally available in the broadest color palette
- Available in pure, transparent, and opaque colors
- Can be annealed without issues
- Relatively tough
- Less heat resistant than borosilicate
How to Care for Glass Jewelry
Glass is easy to take care of, but always remember that it IS glass. Unlike metals, it can break or shatter under the right conditions. Try to avoid dropping it on the floor as you handle it. It’s also important to consider how active you are. Some types of glass are less appropriate for sports activities.
To care for your jewelry, wash it with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting it. Finally, glass isn’t a safe material for a piercing procedure or a new piercing. Be sure to only use glass for a healed piercing or to stretch a piercing that’s already healed.
Examples of Glass for Jewelry for Piercings
Who Is Glass Good For?
Glass body jewelry is suitable for those who need alternatives to metal, plastic, and/or organic materials. Glass is also great for those who want a one-of-a-kind handmade piece that showcases impressive colors, shapes, patterns, or clarity. It’s also suitable for anyone with a fully-healed piercing and those who wish to stretch it.
If you have any questions about a glass piece, email us at [email protected]. We love talking about glass body jewelry!