Captive bead rings are open hoops that use a bead held in place by tension to close the gap; the bead is removed to open the ring and put back in place after it is inserted into the piercing. We’re not going to sugar coat it, removing a large gauge captive ring can be tricky. While smaller captive bead rings can be opened using a little force with your hands, it can be challenging to open a thick captive ring. You may need special tools to open and close rings larger than 10 gauge, and even smaller rings, like a 16g, are often easier to open with a pair of pliers made for that purpose.
To get started, make sure you have the right tools: ring opening pliers and ring closing pliers. You can find both of these pliers on our site here. Keep in mind that if you try to use other tools that are not meant for jewelry, you can scratch or damage the metal.
Start by sliding the opening pliers into the ring and placing the edges of the ring into the grooves of the opening pliers. Gently squeeze the pliers to open the ring. The bead will pop out of the ring. Once the bead is out, move the ring so that your skin passes through it. If the area isn’t wide enough, open the ring a little more using the pliers. Be careful not to open it too much as it can distort the shape of the ring.
To close the ring and put the bead back in, you will need to use the ring closing pliers. Set the ring between the notches of the closing pliers. Squeeze the pliers to close the ring slightly. The open segment of the ring should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the bead. Next, locate the dimples on each side of the bead. Align these divots with the open sides of the ring and push the bead between them. The bead should pop right in and close the ring.
If you’re having trouble removing your captive ring or don’t have the right tools, we recommend going to your piercer to remove the captive ring.
If the process of removing captive rings hasn’t scared you off and you want to shop for more captive bead ring styles, check out our collection here.
Watch a video of how to use tools to open & close captive bead rings: