Threading | Painful Pleasures Community


Learn all about internal versus external threading, common thread patterns, and basic body jewelry in this comprehensive threading guide.

by PainfulPleasures Last Updated: May 13, 2021

What Is Threading?

A thread is the spiral ridge pattern that winds internally into the jewelry metal or externally around a metal post, similarly to the threads found on a bolt or the inside of a nut.

Threaded body jewelry comes in parts that can be twisted, screwed, or fastened to each other. For instance, a threaded straight barbell typically comes with two threaded ends, which attach to the barbell shaft by screwing and tightening into place.

Basic threaded body jewelry includes straight barbells, bent or curved barbells, circular barbells, dermal/surface anchors, and labret posts.

Internal Versus External Threading

Externally threaded jewelry features threads on the end of the barbell and external to the shaft. These protrusive threads are screwed and tightened into an end ball or top. 

Note: Externally threaded jewelry is not suitable for fresh piercings. When an externally threaded barbell passes through the piercing, the protruding threads can irritate the newly pierced skin.


Internally threaded jewelry features threads that are inside the barbell. An end ball or top with protruding threads is inserted, screwed, and tightened into the internal barbell. 

Note: Internally threaded jewelry is ideal for fresh piercings. When an internally threaded barbell passes through the piercing, the skin is safe from the threading, because it is inside the smooth barbell.

Common Thread Patterns

All threaded body jewelry has a specific thread pattern. For two pieces of jewelry to fit together, they must have a matching thread pattern. For instance, a 0.9mm internally threaded ball or jewel top will only thread onto a 0.9mm internally threaded shaft. 

In addition to being cognizant of thread patterns, it’s also important to pay attention to gauge. For instance, 10g through 00g internally threaded body jewelry may have the same 2.0mm thread pattern. However, a 2.0mm internally threaded counterbored ball may only be the appropriate size for a 00g shaft, despite having a matching thread pattern with other sizes.

Refer to the tables below for common thread patterns by gauge for our non-custom and custom-made body jewelry.

Non-Custom Body Jewelry


Thread Pattern Thread Type Gauge
0.9mm or 0.8mm Internal 18g or 16g
1.2mm External 18g or 16g
1.2mm Internal 14g
1.6mm External 14g
1.2mm Internal 12g
1.6mm External 12g
2.0mm Internal 10g-00g (Counterbored Balls)
1.6mm External 10g


Custom Body Jewelry

Unlike our non-custom jewelry, custom-made body jewelry often identifies threading with the following formula: number-number [#-#] The first number identifies the size of the thread and the second number refers to the number of threads per inch. The items listed in the chart below will only fit with other items that have the same respective thread pattern (i.e. internal “o-80” threading will only fit with other jewelry that has a matching internal “0-80” thread pattern).


Thread Pattern Thread Type Gauge
000-120 Internal Often 18g, 16g (Sometimes 000-120 tops fit with Internal 0.9mm shafts*)
1.2mm Internal 14g
0-80 Internal Often 12g, 10g, 8g
2-56 Internal Often 6g, 4g
4-40 Internal Often 6g, 4g, 2g
8-32 Internal Often 0g, 00g, 11mm, 13mm

* 000-120 internal threading is not guaranteed to fit with 0.9mm internal threading. 000-120 tops may fit 0.9mm shafts sometimes, but are not always flush.


Questions or Concerns?

If you’re not sure whether two pieces of body jewelry will fit together, check the threading pattern. All threading and gauge information is specified in our product listings. If a listing doesn’t have a threading pattern listed, email us at We’ll be happy to address any questions or concerns.

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