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Culture of Adornment

Published on: January 3rd, 2014

Occasionally, customers will come in who have offered their skin for another kind of body art: piercings. To find the birthplace of body piercing in America, you don’t have to look far from Ed Hardy’s San Francisco. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the city. “It was called Gauntlet,” says Koko Vayedjian co-owner of K&K Piercings. “They were the pioneers of modern piercing, and the commercialization of the business.”

Pipes, barbells, and vaporizers line the walls of K&K Piercings, the first dedicated piercing shop in Boulder. Vayedjian sits behind a glass case of body jewelry. Since 1991, he and his brother have been putting metal into the bodies of Boulderites, watching the same transformation occur in piercing that happened with tattooing. They learned everything they know from Gauntlet.

“The owner was a jeweler that started in the ‘70s, from the back of a house,” says Vayedjian. “So we went to California, met them, and they gave us pointers. All of the sudden, we were popular.”

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