Anonymous said: Is there such thing as quality Metal Mafia? I was perusing the piercings tag and found a piercer responding to an ask about their jewelry with "That metal mafias titanium jewelry is okay to use, and i only use their internally threaded products." Is that even possible for it to be "okay to use"? I've never heard anything good about metal mafia.
The following is my personal opinion and not representative of any companies I’ve worked for, endorse, or wear. That being said, this is the cold hard truth, so read it carefully.
Good body jewelry needs three components.
- Proper design: this means internally threaded or threadless end attachment, smooth edges, and designs that don’t leave gaps to irritate a wound or collect bacteria / fluids.
- Proper finish: the shinier a piece of jewelry is, the smoother it is. Microscopic pits and blemishes in jewelry can inhibit fluid from draining from the piercing and act like sandpaper, irritating even a healed piercing.
- Proper material: ASTM International has prepared standards for metals to be implant grade (that means safe for permanent implantation in the body). Quality jewelry companies have been making jewelry from implant grade materials for 20+ years now, and the Association of Professional Piercers requires members to only use steel and titanium jewelry that meet that implant grade standard. The APP lists other materials as safe for initial piercing, like nickel free 14k and 18k gold, platinum, niobium, and glass. For the sake of this post, we’ll focus solely on steel and titanium jewelry.
For a long time, the only companies manufacturing internally threaded jewelry were also the ONLY ones hand polishing it and making it from implant grade materials. That made it really easy to say “look for internally threaded jewelry!”- because we knew it was the easiest thing to look for and a really quick indicator of whether or not you were dealing with quality jewelry.
Now, side note: this jewelry has been around for over 20 years. Piercers in studios around the world have been offering it for sale it as long as it’s been available. The reason why those three components are so important is because they drastically diminish healing times and potential problems. We’ve known this for over two decades. People have been fighting this fight for longer than many tumblr users have been alive. Reputable piercers have always tried to disseminate accurate piercing knowledge (the APP Conference is going into its 20th year). For years, these people were called “Elitists” by piercers who didn’t know or didn’t care to educate themselves on why these standards were so important for you, the piercing client. Lower quality jewelry has a better profit margin, and some people heal with it decently (though that’s a testament to the power of the immune system, not the quality of the jewelry).
Anyhow, within the last three years or so, the piercing industry hit this critical mass where all of a sudden those “elitists” were now respected piercers! Using jewelry that met the standards of the APP (and common sense) was now popular! All of a sudden, APP membership and conference attendance exploded! The amount of studios offering REAL jewelry all of a sudden grew exponentially. So, all of these piercers who were ordering tons of navel curves with plastic gems and handcuffs dangling off them last month were now ordering real jewelry! Piercers now want internally threaded, well polished jewelry that has PROOF it’s safe to wear in the body.
Well, what’s a company like Metal Mafia to do? Follow the trend, right? So guess who now has internally threaded jewelry? Metal freaking Mafia. The thing is, they’re not making this stuff because they care, or want to improve, because they’re still making all that super crappy external stuff too. Money is money though, so they’ve got to fake it. Surface finish? Leave it in the auto-polisher longer. Mill certificates proving the material is implant grade? Well, those are a bit harder to cheat. So what do they do? Send paperwork written in Korean to piercers who ask for proof, and promise them it’s legit. It’s not.
Any piercer who was dumb enough to fall for that nonsense doesn’t deserve to pierce you, and they’re absolutely WRONG when they say that Metal Mafia jewelry is ok or safe to use in your piercing, fresh or healed.
TL;DR - Nope.