Jewelry Standards

The revised Minimum Standard for Jewelry for Initial Piercings is as follows:

  • The APP Initial Jewelry brochure has further information for the public.Steel that is ASTM F138 compliant or ISO 5832-1 compliant
  • Steel that is ISO 10993-6, 10993-10, and/or 10993-11 compliant
    • [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.]
  • Titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant
  • Titanium that is ASTM F67 compliant
  • Titanium that is ASTM F1295 compliant
  • Solid 14 karat or higher nickel and cadmium free yellow, white, or rose gold
  • Solid nickel-free platinum alloy
  • Niobium (Nb)
  • Fused quartz glass, lead-free borosilicate or lead-free soda-lime glass
  • Polymers (plastics) as follows:
    • Any plastic material that is ISO 10993-610993-10 and/or 10993-11 compliant and/or meets the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI material classification.
    • Tygon® Medical Surgical Tubing ND 100-65 or ND 100-80
    • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that is ASTM F754 compliant
  • The APP approves all ASTM and ISO implant standard biomaterials.
  • All threaded or press-fit jewelry must have internal tapping (no threads on posts).
  • For body jewelry purposes, surfaces and ends must be smooth, free of nicks, scratches, burrs, polishing compounds, and metals must have a consistent mirror finish.

This revised wording will be used on all future APP publications and correspondence where the earlier version of the standards was published.

Adopted February 05, 2009 [Revisions: 09/17/2018 - addition of ASTM F1295, 04/04/2017 - addition of rose gold]

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:

  1. This revision simply updates and expands the standards set forth in the original document.
  2. The new revised standards better reflect the current practices of both the APP membership and the piercing industry at large.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 designation compliance as it applies to material content only; the surface finish requirements are described separately below.

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.