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Gauge and Sizing

Gauge is the thickness of the jewelry which is based on the American Standard Wire Gauge. It starts at 36g and goes to 0g. The larger the number the thinner the wire will be. When choosing a gauge to be pierced at, the piercer must decide which is thick enough to reduce migration and tearing but thin enough to not add too much weight. See gauge to mm/inch conversion chart below for more information.

 

Gauge Metric Inches
20g 0.82mm 0.032 of an inch
18g 1.024mm 0.040 of an inch
16g 1.33mm 0.051 of an inch
14g 1.63mm 0.064 of an inch
12g 2.06mm 0.081 of an inch
10g 2.60mm 0.102 of an inch
8g 3.25mm 0.128 of an inch
6g 4.12mm 0.162 of an inch
4g 5.18mm 0.204 of an inch
2g 6.53mm 0.257 of an inch
0g 8.26mm 0.325 of an inch
00g 9.55mm 0.365(3/8) of an inch
000g 11.11mm 0.437(7/16) of an inch
0000g 12.71mm 0.51(1/2) of an inch

 

The other factor that goes into choosing the correct jewelry is the width or length of the jewelry. The width is area between from the inside of the ring or barbell at it's widest point. When picking the correct jewelry a few standard factures need to be addressed:

  1. How much swelling will happen during the healing?
  2. How flat will the jewelry be in the distance between the two piercing holes?
  3. How will the jewelry lay or hang with the body?

Swelling is a factor with all piercings. It is normal for non-oral piercing to swell anywhere from an 1/16 of an inch to an 1/8 of an inch. So if the piercing is going to be roughly 3/8th of an inch it is best to add an 1/8 of an inch and use a jewlry with a width of at least 1/2. With oral piercing, especially tongue piercings. the piercing can swell as much as a 1/4 or 3/8 of an inch. So it's best to pierce with jewelry with a much wider length and then downsize after healing. Rings, of course are a great deal more forgiving when it comes to swell than barbells or labret studs and will allow for a long more swelling. So often with rings the width is smaller than with post style jewelry. Having jewelry that is much longer or wider than the piercing during the healing period is much better than the painful experience of having a piercing swell beyond the width of the jewelry. Often after the piercing is healed, you can down size the width or change to a different type of jewelry. 

The length of the area from piercing hole to piercing hole also needs to be at least an 1/8 shorter than the jewelry to shorten the distance. We all know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, a short distance means a short tunnel of tissue that your body will need to grow which mean a shorter healing time. This is especially true of piercings done with rings or circular jewelry. Roughly only about an 1/4 to 1/3 of the ring should be inside the piercing. So if you are piercing a nipple that is about 7/16 of an inch wide it should be pierced with a ring that is at least 5/8 of an inch wide. Jewelry that is too small or too tight will cause longer healing time, migration or rejection, scarring and other problems.

The point of getting a piercing is to enhance the body. When done well it should fit the body and fit the shape of the area, Often if jewelry is too small it will stick staight out or look out of place. For example, a nipple piercing if jewelry is too small the rings will stick straight out instead of laying against the body. 

After the piercing is healed you still want the jewelry to be larger than the piercing area, this is especially true with piercings in areas of the body that expand and contract. For example, tongues, nipples and genital piercing all tend to expand and if the jewelry is too tight it can be very painful when they do. This is even the case with a well healed piercing.

Below are some standard jewelry sizes and types used when piercing. People come in all kinds of shapes and sizes so this is by no means a set size but just a general guide of what I have found works best for healing these piercings.

PIERCING  GAUGE WIDTH JEWELRY TYPE
Tragus 18g to 16g 3/8 to 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Anti-Tragus 18 to 16g 3/8 to 7/16

Captive Bead Ring

or Curved Barbell

Conch 16g to 14g 1/2 to 5/8 Captive Bead Ring
Daith 18g to 14g 3/8  Captive Bead Ring
Ear Cartilage 18g to 10g 3/8 to 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Ear Lobe 18g to 6g 3/8 to 5/8 Captive Bead Ring
Helix  18g to 14g 3/8 to 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Industrial  14g to 12g 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 Standard Barbell
Orbit  18g to 10g 3/8 to 5/8 Captive Bead Ring
Rook  18g to 16g 3/8 Captive Bead Ring

Cheek and

Beauty Mark

14g to 12g 3/8 to 1/2 Labret Stud
Labret  14g to 12g 3/8 to 1/2  Labret Stud
Lip  16g to 12g 3/8 to 7/16 Captive Bead Ring
Tongue  14g to 10g 3/4 to 7/8 Standard Barbell
Eyebrow  18g to 14g 3/8 to 7/16 Captive Bead Ring
Nostril 18g to 16g 3/8 to 7/16 

Captive Bead Ring 

or Nostril Screw

Spetum  14g to 10g 7/16 to 1/2 

Captive Bead Ring

or Spetum Retainer

Nipple 

 

14g to 10g

9/16 to 3/4

mosty common 5/8

Captive Bead Ring
Horizon Clitoral Hood 14g to 12g 7/16 to 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Vertical Clitoral Hood 14g to 12g 7/16 to 1/2

Captive Bead Ring

or Curved Barbell

Labia 12g to 10g  1/2 to 5/8 Captive Bead Ring
Prince Albert 12g to 8g 5/8 to 3/4 Captive Bead Ring
Frenum  12g to 10g 5/8 to 3/4

Standard Barbell 

or Captive Bead Ring

Scrotum  12g to 8g 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Guiche  12g to 8g 5/8 to 3/4 Captive Bead Ring
Foreskin  12g to 8g 1/2 Captive Bead Ring
Dido  14g to 10g 3/8 to 1/2 Curved Barbell

 

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