Association of Professional Piercers (APP) Initial Jewelry Standards
The revised minimum standard for jewelry for initial piercing is as follows:
1. Any and all materials that meet ASTM and/or ISO standards for implantation.
Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
i. [Note: The EEC Nickel Directive is a regulation that requires a low rate of nickel release for all materials used for costume or fine jewelry, belt buckles, watches, or other metallic accessories with direct skin contact. It does not specify nor prove that a material is safe to wear in the body; therefore, compliance with this directive alone is not sufficient for meeting the APP initial jewelry standards.
2. Solid 14 karat or higher yellow, white, or rose gold that is nickel and cadmium free.
Gold jewelry used for initial piercing may not be:
i. Plated, unless using materials approved by this standard over solid 14 karat or higher yellow, white, or rose gold that is 14k or higher, or white rhodium.
iii. Gold overlay/vermeil.
3. Solid unalloyed or alloyed platinum that is cadmium, nickel, and lead free.
4. Unalloyed Niobium (Nb) that is ASTM B392
compliant. This includes but is not limited to:
a. commercial grade 2 Niobium
b. commercial grade 4 Niobium that contains 1% Zirconium
5. Glass that is lead free. This includes, but is not limited to:
a. Fused quartz
6. All threaded or press-fit jewelry must have internal tapping (no threads on exterior of posts and barbells).
7. For body jewelry purposes, surfaces and ends must be smooth and free of nicks, scratches, burrs, stamps, hallmarks, polishing compounds, and other potentially harmful residues.
8. Metals must have a consistent mirror finish on surfaces that frequently come in contact with tissue.
9. All jewelry used for initial piercing on people above the age of 12 must be ASTM F2999
10. All jewelry used for initial piercing on people ages 12 and under must be ASTM F2923
Adopted February 05, 2009 [Most recent revision approved: 05/28/2019]
The APP Board of Directors has adopted a revision to the APP minimum membership standards for jewelry for initial piercings. Although a Members’ vote was taken to adopt the original standards, a membership vote is not required when establishing or revising membership requirements. The Board has opted to proceed without member polling for the following reasons:
- This revision simply updates and expands the standards set forth in the original document.
- The new revised standards better reflect the current practices of both the APP membership and the piercing industry at large.
- The APP has had extensive communication—both in person and in writing—from piercers questioning the out-dated and confusing nature of the previous standards.
- Regulatory agencies often utilize the APP standards and incorporate them into law. Maintaining the outdated standards can therefore have negative consequences for piercers using acceptable products that were previously not listed.
The practice of relying solely on the implant designation of a material has now been addressed. Although implant standards address biocompatibility of a given material when used for surgical implants, they may not always be directly applied to the use or required finish for body jewelry. Agencies that determine these designations and standards do so for both material quality and end usage and separate standards are required for surface finish. Implants may rest permanently against internal tissue unless surgically removed or replaced, and are sometimes designed for bone or tissue adhesion. Healing piercings, however, form tissue against the smooth non-adhesive surface of the jewelry, and this jewelry can be changed when appropriate. For these reasons we list conformity to a specification as it applies to material content only; the surface finish requirements are described separately.
Products with an ISO or ASTM designation are so noted and a statement specifying the finish requirements particular to body jewelry has been added. In addition, several common jewelry materials designated for applications other than implants have been proven through historical and practical application to be suitably biocompatible for initial piercing.