New Porcelain Plugs

November 25, 2019 0 Comments

I have a confession to make


I've become smitten with ceramic. After many years of working stone, I adore the material, but the process is loud, slow, and very hard on my hands. I yearn for the ability to test and try new things quickly, a more varied production process, and a world of color that is prohibitively expensive or doesn't exist in stone. I genuinely enjoy working beautifully colored rare materials like chrysoprase, sugilite, and lapis lazuli. Still, there's something to be said for the idea of affordability and accessibility to color, and ceramic is the ideal material for that conversation.

My stone and metalwork aren't going away, but I am looking to shift more focus into exploring ceramic. My wife has also been learning and helping. Suzanne was instrumental in doing the firing shrinkage calculations, and she has done much of the glazing. The collaborative effort has been a lot of fun.

I wanted to start with a product that is as simple as possible, so we've created new ceramic color-front plugs in a range of gorgeous colors. From there, the size range can grow, and concaves and some of my carved styles such as flowers and trumpet flares can come to fruition.

Why use ceramic for body jewelry?


I think it's a unique material that deserves more attention. Some of the world's first body jewelry was ceramic, primarily porous low-fired earthenware. As cultures discovered other materials and how to work them, they moved away from ceramic in favor of more valuable or desirable materials such as jade and gold. Meanwhile, ceramic technology continued to progress, and now we have both the ideal materials and grasp of science to give it another shot.

From a business perspective, ceramic offers benefits to both me as a maker:

  • A multifaceted, highly technical production process ideal for someone who enjoys research and troubleshooting
  • The ability to batch produce for higher output that is easier on my hands (chronic pain has become an issue)

and you as a customer:

  • Color and style possibilities are enormous
  • Affordability in comparison to stone, especially for concaves and more complex projects
  • Ceramic plugs are lightweight (versus stone), comfortable, and durable.

Are they safe for healed piercings?


Yes! I've spent nearly a year selecting a clay body and formulating a base glaze that I believe is the ideal mix of safe and durable. The ingredients of both the clay and glaze are finely ground minerals and oxides and are 100% natural. Most of them are the same base materials and colorants that make up the stone and glass body jewelry we already wear.

My porcelain body is an inert, very fine-grained clay composed primarily of silica, kaolin, and feldspar. When fired to vitrification (the transformation of a substance into glass) at 2232°F, it forms a tough, solid, non-porous material similar to glass and stone. It has an absorption rate of about 0.5%, which means it is functionally non-porous, similar to a high silica content stone like an agate.

My base glaze for wearing surfaces is a borosilicate (boron + silica) mixture containing nearly identical contents as the clay. With the addition of more silica (a glass former) and feldspars (a flux, which lowers the melting point of silica), the powdered materials melt and transform into a thin layer of glass fused to the porcelain surface.

Just as not all wood, stone, or metal are safe for body jewelry, it's worth noting that not all ceramic is ideal or safe for wear in contact with the body. There are situations where a poorly formulated or underfired glaze may leach materials, and many clays have high absorption rates that lead to increased porosity. I also can't guarantee that my ceramic will be ideal for everyone. Bodies are wild, and they vary significantly in sensitivity to materials. Some people are allergic to titanium and pure gold, which is nearly impossible, but it happens.

I've spent a great deal of time researching and testing to develop the best product possible, and I welcome feedback to make it even better. That's one of the most exciting facets of the ceramic medium - there's always something to test or explore.

When can I buy it?

Ceramic color-front plugs will be available for purchase starting 11/29/19 (Black Friday). We're working on building stock, but some sizes and colors will require a short 7-10 day production time while we see which are the most popular. Process and photos of the colors are being posted to Instagram @onetribejewelry in the days leading up to launch. Click here to join my mailing list and be notified about the launch time as well as the first look at a rad secret color!




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Holiday 2019 Shipping Guidelines

November 24, 2019 0 Comments

It's the season of shipping, and all mail carriers are preparing for vastly increased volume and a flurry of last-minute shipments. To ensure your purchases arrive when you want them, please follow these guidelines for December 2019 shipping.

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Body Jewelry Consumer Survey 2019

July 21, 2019 0 Comments

Early this year, I set out to give independent makers and small businesses in the body jewelry industry a way to make smarter business decisions with analytics. We can look at our past sales and infer trends like our most popular sizes and styles, but I wanted to provide a broader look at the current size and buying patterns industry wide. After 16 years of business, I have enough sales records to see a general picture of my customers, but my data set is still limited. The goal of this survey is to create connections between size, style, and cost that allow us to make smart decisions based on what consumers are actively looking to purchase.

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Holiday 2018 Shipping and Closure Info

December 11, 2018 0 Comments

I am currently working hard to get all pending orders for standard made-to-order (non-custom) jewelry that have come in through the website finished and shipped in the days leading up to my holiday closure on Friday 12/21.

After 12/17 I can guarantee shipment of orders for in stock and ready to ship jewelry until the afternoon of 12/21 when the last mail shipment goes out.

I strongly suggest Priority or Express mail service to ensure any orders that are gifts or otherwise needed for Christmas to be delivered on time. I guarantee that we'll get it in the mail, but I can't control the shipping time.

My workshop will be closed from 12/22 to Tuesday 1/1 so I can rest my hands and spend time with my family. I may be in the workshop cleaning or prototyping but nothing will ship during this time. Correspondence will happen periodically, just be patient.

I'll be back in the workshop making jewelry and getting on with business as usual the week of 1/1/19. Thanks to you this business is now 16 years old. I appreciate your support. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Jared Karnes, Owner/Jeweler

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Sizing Chart
Size chart includes the sizes we make, and default flare size & wearing lengths.
We are happy to make pieces in odd sizes or with custom flares or wearing lengths.
Jewelry Size Flare Size Wearing Length
1.0mm (18g) 1-1.5mm 9mm
1.3mm (16g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
1.5mm (14g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.0mm (12g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
2.5mm (10g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
3.0mm (8g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
4.0mm (6g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
5.0mm (4g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.0mm
1-1.5mm
9mm
6.5mm (2g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
7.0mm (1g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
8.0mm (0g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
9.0mm (00g)
1-1.5mm
9mm
10mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
11mm (7/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
12mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
13mm (1/2")
1-1.5mm
10mm
14mm (9/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
15mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
16mm (5/8")
1-1.5mm
10mm
17mm (11/16")
1-1.5mm
10mm
18mm
1-1.5mm
10mm
19mm (3/4")
1-1.5mm
11mm
20mm (13/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
21mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
22mm (7/8")
1-1.5mm
11mm
23mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
24mm (15/16")
1-1.5mm
11mm
25mm
1-1.5mm
11mm
26mm (1")
1-1.5mm
11mm
27mm (1 1/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
28mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
29mm (1 1/8")
1-1.5mm
12mm
30mm (1 3/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
31mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
32mm (1 1/4")
1-1.5mm
12mm
33mm (1 5/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
34mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
35mm (1 3/8") 
1-1.5mm
12mm
36mm
1-1.5mm
12mm
37mm (1 7/16")
1-1.5mm
12mm
38mm (1 1/2") 1.5-2mm 13mm
39mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
40mm (1 9/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
41mm (1 5/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
42mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
43mm (1 11/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
44mm (1 3/4")
1.5-2mm
13mm
45mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
46mm (1 13/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
47mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
48mm (1 7/8")
1.5-2mm
13mm
49mm (1 15/16")
1.5-2mm
13mm
50mm
1.5-2mm
13mm
51mm (2")
1.5-2mm
13mm

Wearing length is the area of the jewelry that fits inside your piercing. 

Overall length (sometimes confused with wearing length) is the total measurement of the jewelry from face to face, including any additional flare or face area.

Diagram of jewelry styles with wearing length marked in green and overall length marked in red.

1. Flat face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overall length is measured from face to face.

2. Convex face double flared plug. Wearing length is measured from the inside of the flare edges. Overal length is measured from face to face.

3. Flat face double flared plug with flat flares. Wearing length is measured from inside the flare edges (the piercing cannot rest on the flat flare areas). Overall length is measured face to face.

4. Trumpet flare style plug. The dotted line denotes where the wearing surface ends on the front, because the larger portion of the slope cannot fit inside the piercing. Wearing surface is measured from inside the rear flare edge to the area on the front flare with the same diameter measurement. Overall length is measured from face to face.

5. Sloped single flare plug. Wearing length is measured from where the slope of the flare ends to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

6. Top-hat style single flare with convex face. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the end of the plug. Overall length is measured from face to face.

7. Top-hat style single flare with curved rear. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the beginning of the curve (the piercing cannot rest on the slope). Overall length is measured from face to face.

8. Top-hat style single flare with groove for an o-ring. Wearing length is measured from the inside flare corner to the groove (the piercing cannot rest on the groove). Overall length is measured from face to face.

9. Labret (round or oval) with a standard concave t-back. Wearing length is measured from where the wearing shaft meets the wing to the end of the flat portion (the piercing cannot rest on the slope).

Overall length is always longer than the wearing surface because it includes other sections of the jewelry that do not rest inside the piercing. If you are ordering a piece of jewerly and you specify an overall length instead of a wearing length, your jewelry will not fit properly. Order using "overall length" at your own risk. Knowing your ideal wearing length, which can change as you stretch your piercings, ensures you're able to order jewelry that will fit well from every vendor, every time.