What are Belly Button Rings?

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  • Written By: Wanda Albano
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2019
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Belly button rings, often also called navel rings, are jewelry adornments that are fastened to the body's navel by inserting a ring through a piercing in the navel area. This is apparently a very modern kind of piercing, as there is no evidence that the navel or belly button was ever pierced prior to contemporary times.

Contrary to the term, belly button rings do not always come in a circular shape. They may also come in a kind of curved barbell form (barbell). The metals commonly used in making this jewelry include surgical steel, solid 14k gold, silver, niobium, and titanium. Plated metals are seldom used because they have a tendency to break easily and/or cause the wearer allergic reactions and other irritations.

Belly button rings can be classified by thickness and size. For circular rings, the size is determined by diameter. For barbells it is measured by the length. Typical sizes include 5/16 inches (7.9 millimeters), which is generally the shortest; 3/8 inches (9.5 millimeters) or 7/16 inches (1.11 centimeters) which are the standard; and 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) which is the longest.


The thickness of the rings, on the other hand, is measured by gauge. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the ring. A 14 gauge barbell is the type of navel ring most commonly seen today. This is a curved, barbell-shaped ring which most often sits on the skin on top of the navel in a vertical position. Other thicknesses include the 12, 10, and 8 gauges.

Belly button rings are not for everyone. The most important consideration is that there be enough skin over the navel for the ring to hold. Otherwise, the piercing may migrate outward and cause other complications. Even though experienced body piercers may be able to attach rings to "outie" navels safely, it is not always advisable and the desired look may not be achieved.

Newly pierced belly buttons can take a long time to heal because the area is very prone to recurring infections and irritations. It is wise to disinfect and clean a new belly button piercing regularly and to continually assess the piercing for any changes in appearance. Cleaning navel piercings requires applying a cleaning solution to the piercing and rotating the belly button ring to allow the solution to permeate. The area should be rinsed thoroughly once or twice a day. But, it should be noted that overzealous cleaning may result in irritations which can hamper or prolong the healing process.

There is a great variety of belly button rings on the market today and it is understandable for the newly-pierced to want to try out the different styles right away. Be aware, however, that although the initial "captive bead ring" or surgical jewelry may be replaced with more fashionable rings a few weeks after the piercing procedure is done, it may take over a year for the piercing to be completely healed.


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Post 4

I think that of all the different kinds of navel and belly button rings, the captive diamond belly button ring is my favorite. You get the edge of a captive belly button ring with the little sparkle and girliness of a diamond. Definitely can't go wrong with that.

Post 3

A word for the wise about looking for belly button rings -- for sale rings are not the way to go. You really don't want to get a cheap belly button ring, because it is much more likely to break and is almost guaranteed to get infected.

Although it may seem like a pain to pony up for a nice belly button ring at first, you will save yourself so much time, pain, and money by just investing in a good one. That means for gold belly button rings, only buy 14k belly button rings, and for any other metal, make sure it's at least of surgical grade.

In the long run, you will end up saving yourself the money you would have spent by not spending it on cleaners and disinfectant.

Post 2

My best friend got a really cute dangle belly button ring for her 21st birthday, and she loves it. For her it's a symbol of independence and youth, but she's not expecting to wear it forever. She had been through a three year process of losing a lot of weight, and felt that the best way to celebrate her fabulous new body would be by doing something she could have never done with all that belly fat. So she got a dangling belly button ring, and so far, she says it's totally worth the pain and hassle of keeping it clean just to see the looks that people give her when they find out she has one!

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