THE MANY GAUGES OF CARTILAGE PIERCINGS
So you just pierced a new hole in your ear, but you’re not sure what size jewelry you should be looking for.
If your piercing was done with a needle in a piercing shop, they may have informed you of the size right there, but maybe you just forgot what your piercer told you. Or maybe your piercing was done with a piercing gun instead. Whatever the reason, if you’re curious as to what size a particular hole in your ear is, let me break it down a little simpler for ya.
An earlobe piercing that’s done with a piercing gun is a 22 gauge needle. Any standard size earring or post will fit you. If you’ve been pierced with a needle in piercing shop, most likely you’re at a 20 or 18 gauge. No worries! The smaller the gauge the bigger the hole, so any standard size earring can be worn in addition to 20 or 18 gauge captive rings, cartilage studs, etc.
*NOTE: If your cartilage piercing is done with a piercing gun, it will most likely be a 22 gauge piercing. You will want to look at standard size earring studs (like those shown above) rather than ones made specifically for cartilage piercings. It’s always good to check with your piercer for accuracy no matter what type of piercing (lobe or cartilage) so as not to stretch/damage the tissue.
For tragus, anti-tragus, helix, rook, conch and most cartilage piercings (any part of the ear other than your lobe) a piercer will use an 18 gauge (as seen above) or 16 gauge needle. Depending on the anatomy of your ear, the piercer may use a 14 gauge needle as well. Industrial piercings are typically pierced at 14 gauge. Most of the cartilage and BCR (captive ring) styles we carry come in both 18 and 16 gauge sizes. Captive rings also come in 14 gauge.
NOSE RING SIZING Q AND A: WHY DOESN’T MY NOSE RING FIT?
A lot of us with nose piercings will jump around a bit, try a few different styles, and ultimately pick one or two go-to nose rings that fit well without very much difficulty. But what happens when you find a bunch of nose rings you like, and most of them just plain don’t fit?
If you know your gauge size and the style you prefer but still find your nose jewelry sticking up or sticking out, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Not every nose will be the very same size and not every piercing will rest in the same place. So here’s a few common nose jewelry pitfalls, and trust us, most of them can be fixed.
Q: Instead of laying flat against my nose, why does my nose ring stick up leaving a gap?
A: If the actual gem or decorative portion that’s visible sticks up, you need to look at the rise of your jewelry. Rise is the length of the portion between the base of your nose ring’s gem and the curve, and many common nose screws or l-shapes have a rise of 6 or 7 millimeters. For those with slightly thinner nostrils though, a 5mm rise might be needed for proper fit, so you should look for an item with that smaller measurement.
Q: Why does the corkscrew part of my nose screw stick out at the bottom of my nostril?
A: If this happens it could mean you either have a slightly smaller nose than average, or that your piercing lays just slightly farther down your nostril. Neither of these are a bad thing, but they can make wearing screw style jewelry a little difficult. If switching to a nose bone style item is comfortable, that can be a quick and easy fix. For those who would prefer to stick to screws though, trying an item with a less pronounced curve or one that doesn’t make a full revolution may solve the issue.
Q: I want to wear a nose hoop but my piercing is a little higher on my nostril. How can I get a hoop that will fit without looking oversized?
A: If regular hoops don’t seem to be quite big enough but larger universal circulars stick out too much, a good fix is getting a custom bend. In this case, you can purchase a type of extra long, straight nose ring called a fishtail, and take it to your piercer to get a hoop custom bent for your unique nose.
Other nose ring questions? Ask us in the comments!
BODY JEWELRY SIZING BASICS: NOSE HOOPS
In the market for a shiny new nose hoop? Well before you buy, you’ll want to know exactly what size you need. Here’s how to find out:
The gauge is the thickness of a body jewelry item, and directly correlates to the needle size used for your piercing. Because there are so many different sized noses, nose piercings will also be done in different sizes. The most common are an 18 gauge, and a 20 gauge.
Even though the number itself is larger, the 20 is actually the smaller size; for body jewelry, size goes downas the number goes up. Nose piercings that were performed in eastern nations such as India may sometimes be a teeny 22 gauge, but for the most part 18 and 20 are our primary choices.
After figuring out your gauge, you’ll then need to know what diameter size you require. Diameter for nose hoops is measured as the distance from inside edge to inside edge across the widest portion of the hoop. Depending on how high up your piercing is and how large your nostril is, an incorrect diameter size can look a little funny, so this is actually pretty important aesthetically too.
The two most common sizes here are 5/16″ (8mm) and 3/8″ (10mm), but those with larger noses may prefer a slightly larger ring, so measuring one that you already know fits properly is a good idea. Alternatively, a piercer in your area can measure either your jewelry, your nose, or both and recommend a specific size for you.
Now all you need to do is choose the style of hoop you like best, and you’re all set.
NEED TO KNOW: BODY JEWELRY REPLACEMENT PARTS
If you’ve ever lost a body jewelry ball or had your favorite barbell chip, then chances are you’re familiar with body jewelry replacement parts. But how do you know exactly what to get to give you the same look? Follow these few tips and you’ll be good to go:
Knowing the gauge size (thickness) of the item in question is essential, even if what you need is a ball rather than a barbell or post. Because balls have a hollow portion that screws onto a barbell, you need one that’s made to fit onto the exact size barbell you have. All balls and posts that are sold separately as parts will be clearly labeled with the gauge size that they fit.
For posts or barbells, you’ll also need to know the length you require for your piercing, or for circular barbells, the diameter of the hoop. When in doubt, you can always get another piece of jewelry that you know fits you measured. Piercers can do this for you, and many of them don’t charge.
When replacing balls, spikes, or decorative tips, you’ll need to be sure that you get the right type of item. Captive ring replacement balls have no holes or threads, only dents that allow the edges of a ring to be held in place. If you need a captive ring ball, regular threaded tips won’t work, and if you need a screw on ball, captive balls won’t fit the bill. The same goes for items that are internally threaded, but don’t sweat it because the type of ball will always be listed, so there isn’t any guesswork.
The last thing to be aware of before grabbing a replacement ball is the size of the ball itself. Replacement pieces often come in multiple sizes to accommodate a range of different piercings, so if you’re set on creating the same exact look, you’ll need a ball that’s the same diameter size. There are always exceptions to every rule, but for the most part the common sizes here hold true:
So now you know exactly what you need to get. It’s time to take the replacement plunge. Go for it!
MEASURING UP: BODY JEWELRY SIZING BASICS
The length of an item is exactly what it sounds like, and applies to both straight and curved barbells and posts. For curved items, this will be measured straight across the distance between the two balls or decorative ends, not loosely along the curve. Most straight posts and bars come in a range of standard sizes, the most common of which are listed below.
Hint: for industrial barbells, you may find sizes that fall in between these exact measurements, but each will be noted in the product’s specifications, and generally annotated as a measurement in millimeters.
Diameter applies primarily to shields and circular barbells, like BCRs, segment rings, or horseshoe barbells. The diameter of these items will always be measured from inside edge to inside edge at the widest part of the circle.
Hint: when in doubt, just remember your standard sizes. 1/4″ diameter items are most often used for ear cartilage piercings, 5/16″ and 3/8″ for nose piercings and eyebrow rings, and 11mm and 12mm (1/2″) for lip rings and nipple piercings. Obviously there are many exceptions to these rules, but at least they’ll give you a general idea of what to shoot for.