Raymond Gregory/iStock/Getty Images
Belly button piercings, also known as navel piercings, are one of the most common body piercings performed, especially among women. Popularized by celebrities such as Britney Spears and Beyonce, the piercing is usually placed through the upper rim of the navel, although the inverse navel piercing, where it is placed through the lower rim, is also common.
A major factor in choosing the initial jewelry for a belly button piercing is that these piercings can take a very long time to heal -- sometimes up to a year. They are not at an increased risk of infection, but they are easily irritated. It's essential to choose jewelry that won't catch and tug on clothes or cause friction in other ways.
The most common initial jewelry choice for a navel piercing is a curved barbell, sometimes known as a "bananabell" because of its shape. Master piercer Elayne Angel says, "If your abdomen is relatively flat or your navel is not deep, bar-style jewelry is the best."
A J-bar is a modified form of the curved barbell. The J-bar takes an acute turn at the lower end instead of a completely smooth curve. This places the lower ball of the jewelry a bit more forward. J-bars are used almost exclusively for navel piercings; some piercers feel that they heal better than the standard curved barbell, and some piercees think they look more attractive.
Teardrop Captive Bead Ring
A teardrop captive bead ring is a modification of the standard round captive bead ring used in other body piercings. The bead rests at the "point" of the teardrop, and the bar is curved in a long D shape. This jewelry type provides more depth and avoids some of the constriction problems that a traditional circle might cause.
Captive Bead Ring
Some piercees with a deep navel and well-defined rim can wear a round captive bead ring as their initial jewelry choice. The diameter should be about 1/2 inch; too-small rings will feel constricting. If you choose a ring as your initial jewelry, you may not be able to switch to a bar later, as the lower ball will sit too deeply within the navel to be comfortable or attractive. The same is not true in reverse; switching from a bar to a ring after healing merely means the ring will protrude a little more.
The jewelry chosen for an initial navel piercing, as for all body piercings, should be smooth and made of a hypoallergenic material. Typical materials include stainless steel, titanium, gold, niobium and certain medical-grade plastics and glass.
- The Piercing Bible; Elayne Angel
- BMEZine: Navel Piercing
- Raymond Gregory/iStock/Getty Images