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.
|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 the area between the inside of the ring or barbell at its widest point. When picking the correct jewelry a few standard factors need to be addressed:
- How much swelling will happen during the healing?
- How flat will the jewelry be in the distance between the two piercing holes?
- How will the jewelry lay or hang with the body?
Swelling is a factor with all piercings. It is normal for a non-oral piercing to swell anywhere from 1/16 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch. So if the piercing is going to be roughly 3/8th of an inch it is best to add 1/8 of an inch and use jewelry 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 downsize 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 a 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 means a shorter healing time. This is especially true of piercings done with rings or circular jewelry. Roughly only about 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 the jewelry is too small it will stick straight out or look out of place. For example, a nipple piercing if the 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.
|Tragus||18g to 16g||9/32 to 3/8||Labret Stud|
|Anti-Tragus||18 to 16g||3/8 to 7/16||
or Curved Barbell
|Conch||16g to 14g||5/16 to 3/8||Labret Stud|
|Daith||18g to 14g||5/16 to 7/16||
Captive Bead Ring
|Ear Cartilage||18g to 10g||9/32 to 3/8||Labret Stud|
|Ear Lobe||18g to 6g||9/32 to 3/8||Labret Stud|
|Helix||18g to 14g||9/32 to 3/8||
|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|
|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||
|Tongue||14g to 10g||3/4 to 7/8||Standard Barbell|
|Eyebrow||18g to 14g||5/16 to 7/16||Curved Barbell|
|Nostril||18g to 16g||9/32 to 7/16||
|Spetum||14g to 10g||7/16 to 1/2||
Captive Bead Ring
|14g to 10g||
1/2 to 3/4
|Horizon Clitoral Hood||14g to 12g||7/16 to 1/2||Captive Bead Ring|
|Vertical Clitoral Hood||14g to 12g||3/8 to 1/2||
|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||
|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|