Body Jewelry in Depth: Anatomy of a Belly Ring

by Lorna
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belly jewelry basics

Since there are so many different styles and sizes when it comes to belly jewelry, we’ll start with the most simple breakdowns first.  There are three main types of body jewelry that provide the foundation for the majority of navel rings: the curved barbell (often called a banana bell), the captive ring or BCR, and the spiral barbell.

 basic types of navel jewelry

To accurately size these pieces for fit, you’ll need to find the following measurements:

For curved barbells, you need to know the gauge (thickness) of the barbell, the length of the item (measured straight across from one ball or decoration to the other), and to a lesser extent the size of the balls.  If you’re purchasing pieces that incorporate dangles or charms, you may want to know the dimensions of those too, but we’ll get back to that in a little bit.

 banana bell belly jewelry

When you’re looking at captive jewelry, you’ll still need to know your gauge, but instead of length you’ll be measuring the diameter of the item.  This is the distance between the two inside edges of the hoop at the widest point.  Ball size here will matter as well, but instead of threads, your beads will be held in by dimples.

 BCR belly piercing jewelry

Lastly, for spiral barbells, you’ll want the same set of measurements that you’d need for a captive ring.  Diameter can be a little more tricky to pinpoint here, but both that, and the size of the opening between the two free ends will be designed to allow for easy insertion into the majority of standard belly piercings.

 spiral navel rings

Now that we’ve got all that taken care of, we’ll look at some different styles of belly rings.  To start with, curved barbells will generally come in three basic types; those with a simple ball at the bottom that may be set with a gem, those with a fixed decoration in place of a bottom ball,( such as a flower or heart), and those with a dangling element of some kind.  There’s also what are called “top mount” or “top dangle” style navel rings, and these can have either a fixed or moving decoration as well.

 belly button piercing jewelry

Both BCR belly rings and spiral barbell items are generally simpler and less ornate, usually outfitted with classic gem balls or a single, smaller dangling charm.  Most navel rings will have dangles that are between 1/2″ and 1″.  For belly jewelry that has longer than average hanging decorations, you’ll want information about the approximate length of those too, to be sure that the moving pieces won’t get snagged by the waistband of any clothing you plan on wearing with it.

For more about jewelry and sizing, check out our Jewelry Sizing Category, and as always, buy smart.

by Lorna

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