Human beings have been wearing jewelry for at least 25,000 years and ear adornments for around 7,000 years. Earrings, in particular, have been worn for a number of purposes—to signify ownership or social standing, as talismans to protect from evil, and simply as decorative accessories. Although the technology, placement of piercings, and style trends have changed considerably over the millennia, the practice of threading metal jewelry through a hole in the ear has remained popular.
One of the more recent trends in jewelry is permanent jewelry. Rather than having a clasp or the equivalent, permanent jewelry is specially measured for the customer and welded together as jewelry designed never to be removed. The most commonly seen type of permanent jewelry are custom-fitted bracelets and necklaces, but rings and earrings can be found as well.
Videos featuring permanent jewelry are trending on TikTok, indicating that it is especially popular with younger generations. A quick online search will show you that more women in their 50s, 60s, and beyond are embracing newer ear styling trends, including getting multiple piercings.
While several retailers across North America are set up to apply bracelets, anklets, and necklaces, a process typically referred to as zapping, only one currently offers permanent earrings.
At Honey Permanent Jewelry and Gift Boutique in Carmel, Indiana, you can schedule an appointment to have one of two sizes of 14K gold hoops permanently positioned in your ear. The lightweight earrings are zapped into place using a micro welder. Because the welding site is so tiny and the procedure completed so quickly, the process tends to be painless. Piercing the ear for permanent earrings is very similar to piercing for removable earrings, both in pain level and healing time. If a pierced hole is already present, aftercare is minimal.
Cartilage piercings are also sometimes referred to as permanent because while these ear adornments can be changed, they rarely are. In most cases, the initial piece of jewelry must remain in place for somewhere between 3 and 18 months to heal properly. Changing it earlier can lead to complications, including infection or harming the piercing. Types of cartilage piercings of the ear include:
- Dermal implant
- Industrial/construction/scaffold piercing
Risks inherent in permanent earrings and cartilage piercings are very similar to those of a traditional piercing. The following are some of the most common risks involved.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to either the metal in the earring or other materials used during the piercing. Allergic reactions are characterized by excessive discharge of clear fluid from the piercing, itching, redness, and swelling. They may sometimes be accompanied by small blisters extending out from the hole.
Extended Pain or Discomfort
Welded permanent earrings are no more susceptible to extended pain than traditional hoop or post earrings. Piercings that penetrate the cartilage of the ear, however, often take several months to heal completely.
Viral and bacterial infections are a relatively common complication with piercings of any sort. Infected piercings are typically red, swollen, and often warmer to the touch than surrounding areas. They may extrude yellow, greenish, or foul-smelling discharge, either with or without the presence of blood. The best defense against an infection is to keep the piercing clean.
Keeping your Piercing Clean
In order to keep a semi-permanent or permanent piercing clean:
- Wash and disinfect the site two to three times per day.
- Wash your hands before touching the earring, piercing, or surrounding areas.
- Avoid thick ointments or creams on the area unless recommended by a piercing professional
- Use earbuds rather than over-ear headphones
- Keep your hair clean, especially if it reaches the piercing
The professional performing your piercing will give you more detailed instructions on how to best keep your specific piercing clean and healthy. They will also guide you on what to do if you suspect an infection or allergic reaction.
Piercings always have some scarring risk, and cartilage piercings are especially prone to hypertrophic and keloid scarring. Individuals who are genetically predisposed to scarring should avoid cartilage piercings. Permanent earrings through the lobe of the ear should present no more likelihood of scarring than a typical piercing.
Consumers have recently turned their attention toward the permanent jewelry trend for many reasons. Retailers that zap bracelets, necklaces, and anklets in place can be found in several North American cities. At this time, only honey permanent jewelry and gift boutique offers permanent earrings.
It should be noted that cartilage piercings are occasionally referred to as permanent piercings or permanent earrings, as many people with these types of piercings rarely, if ever, take them out. Permanent and cartilage piercings come with the same complications, though cartilage piercings are more susceptible to complications than other piercings.