Stone has had enormous impact on us both creatively and technologically. Minerals gave us the first chance to paint our lives with color and story, and take it with us for others to see. It turns out that aside from things which are alive (birds, bugs, plants), colors in nature, and particularly jewel tones, are actually very rare. Most vibrant colors are either the result of environmental light play, such as sunsets or the color of a lagoon, or they are biological - flowers, butterflies, etc. In either of these cases, the color is not permanent. It is location specific, temporary, or sadly, it dies.
It's important to know that the wearing length of jewelry is measured differently depending on the style of jewelry, and that it is not the same as "overall length," which varies wildly by style and only contributes to good fit in certain circumstances. If you are custom ordering a piece of jewerly and you specify an overall length instead of a wearing length, your jewelry will not fit properly. Knowing your ideal wearing length, which can change as you stretch your piercings, ensures you're able to order jewelry that will fit well every time.
It's true, there is nothing inherently "Mayan" about the style of jewelry that most of us have come to know as the "Mayan" flare. More than likely those of us making or wearing the jewelry with this name are not of this culture, and the style itself (which as been simplified to anything with a large front flare) is not unique to the Mayan culture. In fact, we hold in our antiquities collection pieces with large flares or drastically larger front faces created by cultures on the other side of the world from Indonesia and Thailand.
The demand for jewelry to adorn stretched piercings has never been higher. With that demand comes a marketplace hungry for new work and innovation, both aesthetically and technically. I believe the largest hinderance to that progress is the immense number of sizes at which people expect to be able to obtain similar styles.
For several years now I have been wrapping the wearable surface of my metal ear weights in natural thread. I do this because my ears do not care for some metals, and because I find that after the thread softens from some wear, they become much more comfortable than bare metal alone. This is particularly important with very heavy weights.
We get asked quite frequently to talk about labrets (lip piercings), methods for stretching and the dangers of tooth damage and gum erosion. Below you find a response to one of those emails which we think sums up our thoughts quite well on the subject.
I will speak simply of my personal experience with my own stretched labret, currently at about 21mm. Labrets and other oral work are really the only ‘common’ piercings that have the potential to result in permanent damage that is very expensive to repair, if not irreparable altogether, in comparison to other procedures and stretched piercings. There are some safeguards that can be taken to give you the best chance that damage will not occur, but the reality is that in many cases it will eventually happen over time and that is something that needs to be considered.