This is a tricky question to answer as a representative of the APP. Here’s what I can tell you. Read our brochures on material quality and appropriate styles. Then ask yourself a few questions. Do these stores sell implant quality materials, or something lower quality like “surgical steel”? Are they selling internal thread jewelry, or lower quality external thread jewelry? Can they tell you who made it, or where it was made? Does the jewelry come with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects?
You don’t always need to think expensive when you think high quality. If someone comes into my shop with only $20-30 and needs some jewelry they can walk out the door with an internally threaded or threadless piece of jewelry made out of implant certified, hand polished titanium. Sure, some of those gemmed or fancy pieces can get up there in price, but good quality basics are very affordable.
If $25 seems too much to spend on something you can wear safely for years think about how much you spend on things like coffee, fast food, or other indulgences. Skip Starbucks for a week and think of how much money you could have for some good body jewelry.
Try visiting a reputable piercing shop in your area. Have a conversation about what they offer. Any high end shop will love the opportunity to chat about what they carry and why they love it. Ask them what their opinion on mall jewelry is :)
Ryan Ouellette, APP outreach