What are Plug Earrings and How do You Wear Them?

Many people have questions regarding flesh tunnels, flesh plugs, and other jewellery designed for stretched piercings such as tapers and ear weights.

In this article we are going to tell you more about flesh plugs, so you have a better understanding of these styles of body jewellery.



Flesh plugs, or plugs, as they are often referred to as, are short tubular pieces that are designed to fit stretched piercing holes. Ear stretching is a ritual which has been practiced by a wide variety of cultures all over the world since ancient times. In fact, the oldest mummified body discovered to date, Ötzi the Iceman (3300BC), was found in the Alps between Austria and Italy. This European mummy had stretched ear lobes somewhere between 7–11 mm in diameter.

 Traditionally, bone, horn, wood, and stone were generally carved for ear stretching. However, other organic materials that have the right shape naturally, such as shells, teeth, and claws, have also been used. Some of these ‘naturally’ formed shapes are what inspire many pieces in our body jewellery collection. 

Historically, the practice has been used for the purpose of achieving social status, to scare enemies in war, and for aesthetic purposes. It has been and still is a common practice for people in many parts of the world, including Africa, Eurasia, America, and beyond.



There is a lot of confusion and misconceptions regarding gauges and plugs. A lot of individuals believe that these two terms are the same. However, they are not the same. The ‘gauge’ is a US scale of measurement used to identify the thickness of the jewellery. In the UK we use milometers (mm) to measure and label the thickness of our body jewellery.

The jewellery pieces that are used for stretched piercings are called flesh plugs, plugs, tunnels, ear weights etc. These types of jewellery should not be named gauges.



Flesh plugs can vary greatly in size, colour, materials, design, and style. They are solid and usually cylindrical in shape. They may be flared out at one or both ends to create a saddle shape which sits inside the piercing. Plugs are also sometimes kept in place by O-rings which are fastened around the ends. A variation on the flesh plug is the flesh tunnel, which is shaped in the same way, but hollow in the middle. To create a ‘tunnel’. Tapers, claw, talon, and spiral-shaped pieces are also used. We at Sacred Skin Body Jewellery are also big fans of Ear weights, with some beautiful brass pieces in our collection. We also have flesh plugs, tunnels and tapers made from natural stone, glass, wood, horn, bone and brass in our vast collection of ear stretching jewellery. Our ‘Organic Collection’ is full of pieces made from natural materials, many of these such as wood, horn, and bone plugs allow the piercing to ‘breathe’ better than metal or plastic.



If you want to have your ear stretched and get flesh plugs, you must look for a trustworthy and reputable piercer to execute your piercings. It is always worth paying more for skill and expertise than to have a damages or infected piercing. The same caution should be applied when searching for body jewellery. At Sacred Skin Body Jewellery we take great pride in both the aesthetics and quality of our pieces. If there is anything which you would like but cannot find in our collection, or if you require more information about a specific piece, then please get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

 We hope you love our plugs, tunnels, tapers, ear weights, and all of our other body jewellery as much as we do.