BCRs: What Are They and How Do I Use Them?
Posted by Alexander Baran on
A BCR or a bead (ball) captive ring is one of the most popular types of body jewelry. BCRs are also commonly called CBRs which means captive bead (ball) rings. They can be worn in almost any piercing because they are available in many different sizes and gauges. All styles of BCRs consist of a ring with a small opening and a ball or bead that fits snugly into the opening, thus keeping the jewelry in place. The beads/balls usually have small indents in either side to accommodate the ends of the ring but sometimes the beads will have a hole drilled all the way through them in order to make it easier to fit. The rings are made of many different materials including surgical stainless steel, titanium, niobium as well as acrylic. The beads are made of many different materials including steel, glass, stone, acrylic and more. The beads can have embedded gems or crystals, while others may be formed into different shapes including some that have additional charms that dangle off the bead. These rings are very versatile and you can easily match them to your own personal style. Captive rings are great for many piercings because the rounded, closed shape makes them less likely to snag on your clothes, etc. The tight fit of the beads also makes it hard to lose the rings because they can’t fall out so long as the bead is in place.
Many people find it difficult to get the beads in and out of the ring but here are some tips and techniques to make changing your jewelry easier. The safest and easiest way to change your BCR is to take a trip to your piercer. They will generally change jewelry free of charge and they have the proper tools to work with tight-fitting jewelry. They will also make sure that your new jewelry is clean before it is inserted into your piercing.
If you can’t get to the piercer and you want or need to change your jewelry yourself, make sure to follow these simple rules. It’s best to do this in a place with a lot of light, like your bathroom, because the beads are usually tiny and hard to handle and are often dropped. Cover the drain in the sink with a paper towel or tissue so that the bead or ring can’t go down your drain if you do drop them. Get a clean small cup or dish to put your old jewelry in once it is removed and to hold the bead from the new piece so that it won’t roll away while you’re inserting the new ring. First, make sure that your new jewelry and your hands are very clean. To do this, scrub your hands with an antibacterial soap and very warm water and then lather up your new jewelry with more soap and rinse and dry all the surfaces very well. The second thing you should do is to practice popping the bead in and out of the new ring a few times before it is inserted into your piercing. To get the bead out of the ring, hold the ring firmly between your thumb and forefinger and grasp the bead tightly between the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Twist the ring slightly while applying pressure on the bead and it should pop out. If you are having trouble removing the bead, try wedging your thumbnail under the edge of the bead but be careful not to drop the bead when it pops out. To replace the bead, line up the bead between your fingers where you can see the indents on both ends, and then rest the bottom indent on the end of the ring opening. Hold the ring tightly while you carefully push the top indent into the ring opening.
Once you have gotten the bead into and out of the ring a few times, rewash your hands and the jewelry, especially if you have dropped any part of the jewelry because you don’t ever want to introduce bacteria into your piercing. Next, carefully remove the bead from your current jewelry and slowly rotate the ring through your piercing until the ring opening is lined up with either end of your piercing and gently slid the ring out of the hole. If you feel the ring snag or get caught on any part of your skin you should stop, slide the ring back into place and try again. Looking in the mirror while doing this is often more confusing than helpful so try to do it by the way it feels. Once you remove the old jewelry, clean it before putting it into the dish because you don’t want any germs or bacteria from your old jewelry to get onto the new jewelry or your hands.
Next, remove the bead from your new jewelry, place the new bead in the dish and slowly put the end of the ring opening into the opening of your piercing. Gently rotate the jewelry through your piercing until the end of the ring opening pops out the other side. Just like when you removed your old jewelry, if you encounter any snags or pain do not try to force the ring through the hole. You should stop, remove the ring and try again. Once you have the ring inserted through your piercing, hold the bead firmly between your thumb and forefinger (like you did while practicing) and line up the bottom indent with the bottom of the ring opening. With your other hand, hold the ring and be careful not to twist your piercing. Firmly push the top indent of the bead into the ring opening until you feel it snap into place. If you drop the bead at any time make sure to wash it (and your hands) thoroughly before attempting to replace the bead in the ring. Changing a BCR is a tricky task but with a little practice it can be done. Just make sure to keep all the parts clean while you’re doing it so you can avoid infections.
If your BCR is a larger-size gauge you will probably need special tools to open and close the ring. These tools are called a ring opener, which stretches the ring to release the bead, and a pair of ring-closing pliers, which tighten the ring back to the right size to hold the bead firmly. Piercers will almost always use these tools to change any BCRs because it is easier and doesn’t put as much stress on the piercing. You should avoid using household tools to try to open and close your rings as they can scratch the metal ring and leave a rough surface that can scratch or cut the inside of your piercing as well as harbor bacteria and germs.
If you follow these rules, wearing new BCRs is easy, fun and fashionable. You can change your jewelry like you change your mood!