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Reviewed by: Dale
Date Added: 8-1-04
Jewelry bought: Assorted

As many of you are already aware, while I have a passion for all body modification and a great appreciation and respect for body jewelry in general, my true love is for natural body jewelry. There is just something magnificent and empowering about wearing natural materials that makes me feel more complete.

I first discovered Ebone Designs quite some time ago while searching the internet for suppliers of natural body jewelry. Their website is decent, but the photos are small, and even the ones with the ability to enlarge don't always work. Because of this, you can't get a very good feel for what Ebone has to offer that would truly set them apart from all of the other companies out there. With my time and energy stretched very thin, I decided to file them away in the back of my mind and make contact sometime in the future regarding a review.

Ebone Designs was brought back to my attention when I was doing some casual reading about Bear, a body modification artist located in Texas. Over the past 15 years, he has stretched his lobes to a magnificent 5 1/2", and the spools that he currently wears are a pair of ebony spools that were custom made for him guessed it, Ebone Designs. There aren't many companies with the capabilities to create quality jewelry this large, and seeing the photos of these gigantic spools prompted me to make the initial contact with Ebone regarding writing a review.

From the start, Ebone Designs has been a pleasure to deal with. Dy has been very attentive and has done whatever necessary to accommodate me and provide me with the necessary materials to write a thorough review. Within a month of initial contact, Dy and I were able to make arrangements for this process to begin, and before the month was out, the jewelry was already sitting in my mail box.

At first glance, I was concerned to see the package that the jewelry was shipped in, as it was a mailing envelope, and natural jewelry can be very easily damaged if not secured well enough. I was worried that I was going to open the envelope to find nothing but assorted shards inside, as I have had this unfortunate experience in the past. Upon opening the envelope, I was relieved to see that all of the jewelry was neatly and thoroughly packed in bubble wrap. Not a single piece from the shipment showed any signs of stress or damage due to shipping -- always a good sign. Included in this package were the following 6 pairs of jewelry: wood spirals (between 2 & 4 gauge), 9/16" blue obsidian double flared tunnels, 5/8" red coral double flared plugs, 5/8" green obsidian double flared plugs, 11/16" double flared horn plugs inlayed with a Borneo flower design in bone dust, and a pair of 1 1/2" double flared wood tunnels. I cannot make too many comments regarding the accuracy of the size of each of these pieces, as there was no size notation made on any of the pieces shipped, but seeing as all of the pieces were accurate to the size I stated above within 1/64", I feel confident that the sizes Ebone Designs provides are quite accurate. To give you, the reader, the best understanding of Ebone's quality, I am going to give you a brief description & analysis of each pair of jewelry below.

The Borneo flower inlayed horn plugs were nicely designs and had smooth wearing surfaces -- making them a very comfortable choice for plugs -- horn is a magnificent material for designing jewelry because it holds its finish quite well. From a cosmetic standpoint, this pair was slightly flawed, having small imperfections along the edges of the flares (horn is prone to chipping on flares), and with mildly noticeable marks from the lathe that the jewelry was turned on. The inlays are gorgeous, while not 100% perfect, which in this case actually adds to the appeal of the pair of jewelry, as they look more natural.

Hand carving made the wood spirals quite difficult to size, as they are not completely round, but seeing as wood is only intended to be worn in completely healed piercings, this should not present a problem to anyone. The pair are gorgeous and the coils are perfect -- large enough to be able to insert the jewelry easily, but tight enough to look pleasant and not draw unnecessary attention -- a nice conservative pair of jewelry that would be a great addition to any collection.

I was surprised when I saw the 1 1/2" tunnels, as the wearing surface appeared to be quite narrow. Upon further inspection, I discovered that the wearing surface is standard width, and it is just my perception that was skewed by the sheer size of the jewelry. These tunnels are quite nice, with an even grain and a warm brown color, they are brought to life by the highly polished interior and exterior. I would anticipate that they will be extremely comfortable, as they are the lightest pair of jewelry that I have ever encountered in this size.

Both pairs of obsidian jewelry are perfect -- absolutely flawless. I have a personal preference for the blue obsidian, but they are both gorgeous. Between the two pairs, I was not able to find a single scratch, nick, chip, or blemish of any sort. When the jewelry arrived, the first thing I did was slip in the green obsidian plugs -- they are heavier than the standard jewelry that I wear, but not uncomfortably so -- and they are the smoothest pairs of jewelry that I have ever seen in any material. I don't know what Ebone's carving techniques are for this material, but whatever they are, they are doing them just right.

Last, but certainly not least, are the 5/8" red coral plugs that I received. These plugs are some of the most unique pieces I have ever seen, and are absolutely gorgeous -- since no two pieces of coral are alike, each piece of jewelry is unique and has its own personality. At a glance, these pieces not only look uncomfortable, but they don't even look like they would be fit to wear in any piercing. Upon closer inspection (or feeling them), it becomes apparent that it is simply an illusion created by the material itself -- in reality, these pieces are highly polished and are extremely comfortable to wear. They are truly an incredible and unique pair of jewelry that will, without question, become a permanent addition to my collection.

It has been a pleasure to work on this review with Dy and Ebone Designs -- they are extremely courteous, make every effort to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, and are more than happy to discuss questions customers may have regarding special requests and accommodations. I would not hesitate to purchase any product from them in the future, as they were all of high quality, but the pieces that I feel really deserve your attention are their more interesting and unique products, such as their phenomenal red coral plugs.

Reviewed by: Lauren
Date Added: 4-29-02
Jewelry bought: wholesale order - plugs, ornaments, etc etc

When I first stumbled across Ebone Designs' website, I was struck at how amazing all their jewelry was. After emailing them with inquiries on a couple pieces and receiving a fast, knowledgable, and FRIENDLY response, I was ready to place my first order. It turns out a couple of the items I ordered were back ordered - they gave me the option of waiting 3 weeks for them to be made, or just making substitutes. Me being impatient went for more than adequate substitutes. I received my items within a week and a half. The only 'issue' I can try to have is the point that the pics are a bit misleading in terms of the size of the pieces. Since there were no dimensions offered except the guage, the cute petite stir ups I thought I was getting turned out to be about 3 times the size I imagined they'd be. Still beautiful, slight surprise tho. So anyway, one pair of ear ornaments I ordered wasn't in the items I received. I sent them an email, received an apology and got the ornaments THE NEXT DAY. Then I noticed that one of the posts on the above mentioned stir ups had been chipped. I sent them an email, received another apology, and this one took a bit longer but received 2 new posts (!) in about a week and a half. I love Ebone Designs, one of the best wholesalers I've worked with (it was me who was the pain in the ass on this transaction instead of the other way around) :) and I can't wait to place my next order. I more than highly recommend them.

Reviewed by: mamazen
Jewelry bought: horns 00ga, Carved Garudas 1/2"

I fell in love with this site. Although they do not individualy list wholesale and retail prices separately, I found the retail prices reasonable. The pair of Garudas in 1/2" had to be custom made, and not only did they do an exquisite job in doing them, but they let me know in advance that they had to have horn instead of bone for the claw part, which looks absolutely fabulous! The entire process took three weeks, from the time of inquiring about being able to do the pieces in custom sizes to the day I recieved the jewelry. The customer service is great!!

Reviewed by: broken
Jewelry bought: 1 pair of pear of 1/2" pear ornament jewelry

Well, after looking through Ebone's website, I came across the "clearance" section and noticed these interesting ebony "ear weights" (referring to the style, not the function, after all, ebony is pretty light). After e-mailing the company and getting back an incredibly quick reply, I sent over the payment and got the actual jewelry within a very short amount of time (a few days?). What can I say, the jewelry looks quite good and fits well, my only complaint is that the jewelry isn't exactly 1/2". I would have appreciated a millimeter listing instead of an estimate. However, I'm quite happy with the jewelry and the service itself was excellent. Besides that, the jewelry came really quickly and totally avoided the frustrating situation of waiting WEEKS for jewelry to come in. A positive experience, for sure. Despite their somewhat high quotes on organic jewelry (depending on the material), overall, I would recommend their business.

Reviewed by: Chris Astier
Jewelry bought: septum spike

I saw the webpage of this company on the BME webpage, and I was really knocked out by their jewelry. I have always worn metal jewelry, but had wanted a natural piece for a long time. I gambled with this company I'd never really heard of or ordered from.

On their webpage, I saw a septum spike design that really got me excited. Basically it was just a graceful curve, made from obsidian. Obsidian is a natural stone formed from volcanism. I knew of it's properties for making cutting tools (knives, atlatl and arrowheads) and jewelry. But I'd never really seen jewelry made of obsidian. On their page, they showed a few different colors the septum spikes came in, all beautiful I must say! I decided to go with basic black.

I ordered right off of their website, signing up for and using the PayPal system. It went off without a hitch, and the next day I got a call from Bali. One of the people who runs Ebone had gotten my order, via e-mail while in Bali, and was wondering about the particulars of the order. I'd forgotten to give them a little info they needed, and they wanted to get my order in ASAP, so they could get me what I wanted ASAP! (Holy cow! A business-person who remembers the customer will give repeat business, good word of mouth, and general "huzzah's" all-round when the customer is made to feel important!)

I was given a rough estimate of two weeks to get my septum spike. Two weeks was yesterday, and today I got home to find my septum spike in the mail. Good call for having to have it made in Bali, then shipped to me, it was one day off their estimate. Kudo's to the people that handled shipping.

To get to the point, I'm wearing the spike right now. Not only is it gorgeous, but surprisingly light! It really is beautiful, and I have to go to school in about an hour. I know I'll get comments, and even if I don't, I can feel a sense of smug satisfaction knowing that I have the most beautiful septum jewelry I've seen. Simple, yet elegant!

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