Deeper Knowledge: How Does My Jewelry Connect? is a series where we clear the confusion surrounding some of the most common questions in the piercing industry. This week, we explore the differences between threaded and threadless jewelry.
Threadless vs Threaded Jewelry
All threadless and threaded jewelry is not created equal.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. The two pieces that make up your stud are known as the post and the end. The post is the cylindrical piece with either a beaded (round) back or a flat back that the more visible and decorative part, known as the end, is installed into. Of the two options, flat backs are the more popular one as they’re designed to provide a flush fit.
As far as the actual materials that your threadless or threaded jewelry is made from, quality is the main difference between professional-grade and the costume props you’ll find in a bargain bin. Professional piercing jewelry is made with the highest quality materials for easier and faster healing, and is designed to be worn for as long as you’d like. It is often crafted using solid gold that contains biocompatible alloys, or bio-inert implant grade titanium or steel that will not cause a reaction in the body when installed.
There is still a bit more nuance involved when differentiating between threadless and threaded jewelry, and knowing the difference now can make your body art experience a much more enjoyable one.
When it comes to jewelry that is easy to install and update on demand, threadless jewelry is your answer. Also known as press fit, threadless jewelry has a universal pin in the decorative end component that allows it to fit all threadless posts, making it a dream for changing your look on a whim by simply swapping it out.
Since threadless ends have no threading, they’re held in place by the slight bending of the pin, creating tension. This tension can be adjusted, though it doesn’t take much to keep most pieces in place. With a slight push, you’re good to go.
The popularity of this jewelry type has resulted in a huge wave of jewelry from today’s most popular designers. There’s no end to threadless ends in sight.
There are actually two types of threaded jewelry, internal and external, and knowing the difference between them is crucial before you buy your body art.
If the threading is located inside the barbell and the stem is coming from the ball end, that’s internally threaded. If the stem is coming from the barbell side and the ball end has the threading, that’s externally threaded.
Internally threaded is the only appropriate style for a piercing, regardless of whether the piercing itself is healed or fresh. Externally threaded (jewelry with the stem coming from the barbell end) is the lowest quality jewelry and made from irritant metals including nickel, which is likely to cause a reaction or keep your piercing from healing. The threading itself can also irritate your piercing when you move it in or out, even if it is fully healed. It is not recommended that you ever use externally threaded jewelry.
Threaded jewelry is often used for specific styles of piercings, such as dermal anchors and surface bars, and to support larger ends. Viewed side-by-side, you can better see the difference in threaded (TOP) and threadless jewelry when installed:
Whether opting for threadless or threaded jewelry, there’s lots to keep in mind when selecting your next piece of body art, and we hope to have cleared up some of that confusion. If you don’t know, now you know.