Are navel bananabells and belly button rings the same?

If we take these definitions literally, there is a difference between navel bananabells and belly rings.

Aurora DUAL BOTTOM GEM Belly Ring
Navel bananabell

Navel bananabells are curved barbells specially designed for navel piercings – the top ball is slightly smaller than the bottom one. You can use curved barbells in other piercings, too – eyebrow, nipple, genital. Only these have both endings the same size.

Belly button rings, on the other hand, are full rings. There are a few kinds – captive bead rings, fixed bead rings, ball closure rings, seamless rings and segment rings.

Psychedelich Black STAR Acrylic BCR
Captive bead ring

Captive bead ring is a split ring and a bead is inserted between the ends. The bead is dimpled to fit the ends of the ring and to open and close the ring you have to use special pliers.

Ball closure ring differs from the previous one with a full bead and the ends of the ring that clasp around it.

Fixed bead rings are like captive bead rings with one end of the ring attached to the bead.

Seamless rings and segment rings are full rings with no beads at all.

These categories may sound a bit complicated. But – don’t worry – even body jewelry stores confuse ball closure rings (BCR) with captive bead rings. It’ll do if you know that there are BCRs and bananabells – curved barbells.

In the early 90ies navel piercing went mainstream and more and more girls inserted navel jewelry. Bananabells weren’t popular back then. As time passed by, people started to realise the advantages of curved barbells.

Curved barbells look better – the bottom ball sits in the middle of navel and is better exposed especially if there’s a gem set in the ball. Safety issues also play an important role. There’s a bigger likelihood to get a ring caught on something than a barbell.

Belly ring industry has developed loads of different styles since. Dangling and static charms, gems, animals, words and symbols – everything imaginable can be attached to bananabell. It all wouldn’t have happened had body piercing community not created the bananabell concept.

More and more folks choose bananabells instead of captive bead rings and for the sake of simplicity refer to them as belly button rings. These days even online body jewelry stores call these piercings belly button rings and so do I 🙂

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