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It comes as no surprise that many of the piercings which have grown in mass popularity recently are entirely contemporary in origin. With the first piercing parlor in the United States not even opening it’s doors until the late 1970s, it’s natural that many of our advances in body mod have happened within the past twenty five years. But did you know that many of the piercings we’ve grown to know and love are actually named after people instead of body parts? That’s just one way that modernization has molded the piercing industry through media.  For example:

Many of us call it a “bridge piercing,” but it’s also known by the simple name “Erl.”  And as you may have guessed, Erl is more of a who than a what.  That who is character actor Erl Van Aken, first pierced at the bridge of the nose in 1989 by an artist from Gauntlet, the first body piercing parlor in the U.S.

Then there’s the Madison.  Madison piercings, as you can tell, are named after a woman. Not just any woman though: Madison Stone. Ms. Stone was a film star in the late eighties and early nineties, and the first person ever publicly associated with piercing of the throat (just above the center of the clavicle).  Although the piercing that she lent her name to has evolved over the years with the advent of microdermal implants and surface bar jewelry, her name remains attached to any and all forms of it.

There’s also the enigmatic Ashley piercing. The Ashley is an inverse vertical labret, meaning that it goes through the lip from the inside, so that the only visible portion is a bead or gem seen “floating” in the center of the bottom lip. Though it’s difficult to determine exactly when the Ashley was first performed, regular vertical labrets began popping up around the mid 1990s, so the Ashley variation is certainly even younger.

There are also several piercings that have been named not after certain artists or celebrities, but by them, creating interesting monikers that have meaning to those who first coined them. Some of these include the nasallang, the daith, and the septril.

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