by Nasrina Parvin Khan

Barbell style jewelry has a contemporary history. This fashion was popularized by Jim Ward in the 1970s, founder of Gauntlet (The first body-piercing studio in the United States) in the contemporary society. But he was not the only claimant of all the credit for it..


Earring is one of the most traditional body-piercing jewelry. An earring is a piece of jewelry which is mostly worn through a hole pierced on earlobe and sometimes other locations on the ear such as rook, tragus or across the helix. Usually earrings are made of metal. These also can be made out of bone, plastic or similar hard materials, precious stones, glass and beads. Nowadays, this traditional jewelry is an integral part of fashion for both women and men. Though typically the women all over the World wear them. We can’t find out a single woman whose dress up can be complete without a pair of earrings. Earrings give a finishing touch to one’s look and personality. Ear piercing among males has also become popular in North America and Europe. Males of other parts of the World are also trying for earring as fashion accessories.

Various kinds of earrings are available in the fashion market. Barbell earring is a variety of earring, which is worn by both genders. But it is most popular among the male.


The idea of barbell jewelries as well as barbell earrings came from the barbell, which is used for weight lifting. Actually barbell is a bar with adjustable weight at each end. Barbell jewelry has a similarity with the weight lifting barbell.

A barbell earring is a straight piece of metal with a ball or bead on each end. One ball or bead is permanently fixed and the other screws on and off. Barbell earring is also known as stud earring. The specialty of this earring is the appearance of floating on the ear or earlobe without a visible point of connection from the front side.


We can find out several designs of barbell jewelries, which have contemporary origin. But tribal people used simple, straight barbell jewelry. The Dayak of Borneo notably used these. Barbell style jewelry has a contemporary history also. This fashion was popularized by Jim Ward in the 1970s, founder of Gauntlet (The first body-piercing studio in the United States) in the contemporary society. But he was not the only claimant of all the credit for it. Actually he was introduced to barbell style jewelry by a tattooist and piercer from Frankfurt, Germany named Tatto Samy.


barbell jewelryThe ancient simple straight barbells modified with time and get a modern outlook in the contemporary age. We can divide barbell earrings in different types, such as: –

* Internally threaded barbells- These barbells have smooth ends with receiving threads tapped into the end of the bar. In this jewelry, the bead has a receiving tube machined into it with a threaded post extending from the center. Internally threaded barbell earrings have become the most common variety due to much less likely to cause damage and irritation at the time of piercing. It is more expensive than other because of its structure.
* Externally threaded barbells- in these barbells the post of the bar has threads at both ends to allow beads with receiving threads to be attached. When the jewelry is inserted or removed, externally threaded barbells tend to irritate the piercing. So, this barbell has become less common.
* Curved barbells- these barbells have a curvature. It is mechanically identical to the straight barbell except its curvature. The curvature of curved barbells range from slight curve to spiral to circular. As earring curved barbells are uncommon, but it is mostly used in navel piercing.
* Surface barbells- in these barbells the bar has a pair of 90-degree bends, in the same direction, to allow the jewelry to be used for surface piercing.
* Circular barbells- circular barbell is also known as horseshoe barbell for its shape. They are used for every piercing including earrings. They have resemblance with ball closure rings, except a larger gap, a permanently attached bead at one end and a threaded bead at the other like barbells. But it is much easier to use than ball closure ring.


Barbell earrings can be made out of any metal, which is appropriate for making body-piercing jewelry. Silver, gold, platinum, titanium, surgical steel etc are the few example of metal, which used in barbell earrings. Teflon or tygon are used for flexible barbells.

The design of barbell earrings depends on the design of beads or balls. There are wide variety of design and appearance of the beads. Vast majority of the beads are available simply in spherical design. Though every kind of shape is used in bead, like cubes, triangles, cylinders, cones, disks and so on.


Wide range of barbell earrings is available in the fashion market. There are precious, semi-precious and cheap ear barbells for all class. You can choose any one, which is fit, in your budget.

Most safe and comfortable barbell earring is BioFlex (BioFlex is a transparent steam, sterilized medical grade plastic, ultra light, flexible. It is adjustable in length using a simple cutter blade) ear barbell. This is suitable for ear cartilage, tragus and ear lobes. BioFlex barbells with plain or jeweled balls and minimum 26mm lengthen bar are available. The size and shape of balls can be different with one’s choice.

Externally threaded Titanium bent barbell with 1.6mm 14G US gauge, surgical stainless steel ear barbell, surgical steel multi threaded jeweled ear barbell for multiple ear piercing with 1.6mm gauge, 9ct Gold ear barbells with 1.6mm gauge, 9ct gold circular ear barbells with 1.2mm/1.6mm gauge, plain or jeweled titanium ear barbell with 1.2mm/1.6mm/2.4mm gauges etc are the example of some popular barbell earring in the latest fashion scenario. PTFE bar with various kinds of balls is also very popular. PTFE ear bars are equally suitable for fresh or healed piercing and can be safely used for ear lobes and cartilage. PTFE bars can be set with titanium balls, plain or jeweled surgical steel balls and other kind metal balls. The length of the PTFE bars and the length, size and shape of the ball and color of the jewel can be varying.

Now it is your choice what you will pick for you. But it is sure that all these barbell earrings will give your ear piercing a stunning look.