Many hardwoods-- ebony being the most common example, but other woods such as chakte kok are also used, as well as woody grasses such as bamboo-- make excellent jewelry, especially for stretched ear piercings. While wooden jewelry works best in dry piercings, it has been used successfully even in tongue piercings. Properly finished wood jewelry has a tendency to thicken the skin of a piercing and drastically improve its health over metal or plastic body jewelry. I should point out that a small percentage of individuals have (or develop) a wood allergy to certain kinds of wood. In addition, many hardwoods are considered endangered, and care should be taken to ensure that jewelry is obtained ethically.
Common woods used in body jewelry:
- Charcoal wood
- Chakte Kok
- Pink Ivory
- Purple Heartwood
And many others.
Some people finish their wooden jewelry using wax, but many prefer simply oiling the wood using olive oil, Vitamin E oil, or Emu Oil. DO NOT use varnishes since that defeats the whole purpose of using wood in the first place. You may also want to sand your wooden jewelry periodically.
It should also be noted that wearing wood jewelry in the shower can cause the wood to swell. If this happens, you can sand it until your can run your fingernail against the jewelry without feeling the grain and then reoil.