- All about gemstones

Body Jewelry

Body Jewelry by GemSelect

Jewelry is often used in body modification. Sometimes it is in body piercings, or sometimes worn only on the surface of the body. The jewelry is typically plain in design, but many modern body art designs are quite intricate, especially seen in tribal inspired pieces. Most often seen are designs incorporating simple silver studs, rings, or earrings. When one hears the term 'body modification' jewelry, they typically conjure up images of extremity, but even simple and common jewelry pieces like earrings are considered a form of body modification. This is because a small hole in the ear is needed in order to accommodate to wearing the jewelry.

In South East Asia, some hill tribe women in Northern Thailand and Myanmar will place large golden or silver rings around their necks. In these cultures, sometimes as early as five years old, families will introduce their girls to their first neck ring. Over the years as the child grows, more and more rings are added to lengthen their necks. In these tribes, long necks are considered attractive. Sometimes the golden rings can weigh up to twenty pounds or more. Some necks have been modified to reach 10-15 inches long. It is also common to see women with rings on their calves too.

This practice over recent years has declined from being a cultural norm, but it is still seen today, especially in tourist areas. It also has some quite obvious health issues, but then again, so does any modification of the body. These same tribes, like the Paduang, as well as other wonderful cultures found throughout the world, often use jewelry to stretch or enlarge their earlobes or ear piercings. In fact, nowadays, you'll see the youth in major common cities practicing this too. Just the other day we noticed a young teenager that had stretched lobes big enough to easily slide a 25 cent piece through.

Labrets date back long before modern America's popularity with lip rings and piercing. In fact, Lip plates were once worn by early African tribes, as well South American cultures too.

As trends developed and societies adapted, the young and youthful initiated an urban movement described as modern primitivism. The influence led to many of these older practices being incorporated into now modern western subcultures. Even so, many of these practices rely on body modification jewelry along with decorative ornaments like precious gems, thus blurring the distinction between these different types of decoration.

Nowadays, in many cultures, it is not uncommon to see jewelry used as temporary body modifiers. In some cases, hooks and large objects, some as big as bicycle bars, are being placed or pierced through people's skin. This type of procedure was once carried out by tribal cultures, often times under trance or religious ceremonies. But now, this painful tradition has oozed into westernized modern culture. Many extreme jewelry shops carry specialized designs for people wanting spikes or even large pierced into their skin. However, just because the popularity of this type of jewelry is on the rise, it doesn't mean you have to conform to it. We suggest to only wearing what's comfortable! If spikes are comfortable for you, then go for it!