Ever wondered what gauge the normal ear piercing is? Like how big or small is the gauge size of the piercing?
You may not be that curious, but knowing the gauge of the normal or the standard ear piercing is crucial if you are planning to make your own jewelry or you are starting a jewelry-making business.
Information about the standard ear piercing gauge size is also important when you’re getting ear piercings because it means that you wouldn’t have the wrong earring posts forced into the ear piercing, causing drama.
In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about the standard or the normal ear piercing gauge. So, let’s get into it!
About Gauge – The Basics
Even before we look at what the standard gauge for ear piercings is, we need to understand all the basics of jewelry gauges.
For starters, the gauge (G) is defined as the thickness of any kind of body jewelry. It’s also a term that points to the size of the hole which the body jewelry is to pass through. Then you have the length (L), which is the length of the jewelry’s shaft design.
In the case of the circular barbells (horseshoes) or the captive bead rings, for example, the length points to the inner diameter of the piece of jewelry.
One thing you will notice about the gauges for the body jewelry is their taxonomy and the fact that they have a rather unusual numbering, and this can be very confusing because why does the smaller gauge number for jewelry represent a larger gauge size?
Well, to understand this counterintuitiveness, we’ll have to introduce you to the sizing and numbering systems for wires called the AWG or the American Wire Gauge System.
The AWG sizing system was created in 1857 for the sizing of the electrical wires, and though this numbering system is quite odd when it comes to the earrings and other kinds of jewelry for the body piercings, it actually makes sense for the wires.
Essentially, the numbering system is based on the fact that the thinner electrical wires always have a higher degree of resistance to the electrical current, while the thicker wires have less resistance to the electric current.
Therefore, a thin 20 gauge wire has a higher resistance to current than the thinner 16 gauge wire. In other words, a very fine 20 gauge wire needs more current to pass through its drawing dies than the 16 gauge wire.
And so, the higher the AWG or gauge number for a wire, has the smaller diameter. And an earring with a thicker wire has a smaller gauge number than the thinner earrings.
Standard Ear Lobe
So, what’s the standard gauge for the ear lobe piercings or jewelry, and why is it an important measure?
Well, despite what most people think about piercings, there is a standard gauge size that the professional piercers stick to, and these correspond to the standard sizes for the earring posts, which is why you need to get your piercings done by the professionals.
Getting piercings at home and without proper piercing equipment may mean ending up with a smaller piercing than what is recommended, and the earrings you put in later will traumatize the ear lobe, which will cause more harm than good.
The professionals not only know what to do to reduce the risk of injury and get the piercing at the right spot, but also use a hollow needle that is intended for the piercing, and this allows them to create the right sized piercing, which will match with the size of the jewelry that goes into the piercing.
The hollow needle used by the professionals is also ideal because it promotes faster healing of the piercings while also minimizing scarring – it removes tissue in the piercing area gently. This needle is also friendlier and less painful compared to the typical piercing gun.
What’s this means is that the professional piercers opt for the thicker gauge needles for the standard ear lobe piercings. The thicker gauge needle doesn’t irritate the piercing as it heals when compared to the thinner gauge needle, especially when the jewelry is pulled out fast, accidentally.
That said, the standard ear piercing for the ear lobe is either an 18g or a 20g – when piercing is by the piercing gun. But with a professional piercing where the hollow needle is used, the ear lobe piercing is either a 14g or a 16g.
GAUGE CHART for Ear Piercings (Gauge-to-mm)
- 20 gauge = 0.812mm
- 18 gauge = 1.024mm
- 16 gauge = 1.291mm
- 14 gauge = 1.628mm
- 12 gauge = 2.053mm
- 10 gauge = 2.588mm
- 8 gauge = 3.264mm
- 6 gauge = 4.115mm
- 4 gauge = 5.189mm
- 2 gauge = 6.544mm
- 0 gauge = 8.251mm
- 00 gauge = 9.266mm
Areas Of The Ear
While a professional piercer will guide you when it comes to getting the right piercing sizes, you should know more about the different areas of the ear because they will affect the type of ear piercing you get.
For the ear lobe piercings, most piercers have these piercings right at the bottom of the ear, with additional piercings on the cartilage part of the lobe. Most of the lobe piercings are 20g, and for the cartilage piercings, the size depends on the exact place the piercing goes on the cartilage.
- Forward Helix
Piercings on the Forward Helix located that the top part of the ear’s cartilage, where your ear connects the head, are mostly the 16G, 18G, and the 19G.
- Helix Piercing
Then you have the Helix piercing, which is located next to your forward helix or the outer rim of your ear, stretching all the way down to the ear lobe. This piercing works with earring size 16G, 18G, 19G, and even 20G.
Next is the Anti-Helix, also known as the snug. This piercing area is the part that rests snuggly against the helix, and the idea piercing or earring sizes are the 16G, 18G, and the 19G.
- Rook Piercing
There’s also the Rook piercing, which is right under the Forward Helix. The Rook is the part of the ear that separates the inner and the outer portion of the ear’s cartilage. This piercing on the rook is often the 16G.
- Conch Piercing
You may also want a Conch piercing – the conch is next to the rook, and it gets its name from the fact that it’s shaped just like the conch shell. Piercings and jewelry on the conch are either 16G or 19G.
- Daith Piercings
The Conch is followed by the Daith, which is located right under your rook, and like the rook, it works best with the 16G jewelry pieces such as the captive bead ring, the curved and the circular barbell, depending on your style or preference.
- Tragus Piercings
And under the Daith, just above your lobe, you have the Tragus, which is ideally worn with the 16G and the 19G jewelry sizes. Note that the tragus refers to the cartilage that sticks out right in front of your ear canal, and this piercing takes a bit of time to heal properly, often up to a year.
- Anti-Tragus Piercing
This is the cartilage flap opposite the tragus, connected to your earlobe. The ideal jewelry for piercing in this area is the 16G piercing.
- Orbital Piercings
The orbital is the part of the ear, right above your upper ear lobe piercing, and where cartilage starts from on your outer ear. The orbital piercings are quite unique in that they only use one earring or type of jewelry, often the captive bead ring that connects two piercings. The jewelry on this piercing is often other than the 14G or the 16G pieces, an
What gauge is a normal ear piercing?
The standard piercing gauge varies with the piercer you work with, but most of the piercers prefer the 18G jewelry for most piercings. They also follow the guide above when determining the gauge size of the piercings, depending on the location. However, most of the piercings and piercing jewelry used are between 16G and 18G.
Is 16 gauge normal for ear piercing? Why?
Most ear piercings are either 16G or 18G, and the 16G is pretty much a normal gauge for the ear piercings.
Most of the earrings and other kinds of jewelry for the ear are 16g pieces of jewelry because the piercings on the lobe tend to stretch to either 16G or the 18G size.
This size also opens up more possibilities in terms of the jewelry that you can buy and wear.
Can I put a 14g in a 16g piercing?
Yes, you could put the 14g earring in the 16g piercing. But when you consider the opposite, the 16g earring posts are thinner than the 14g posts.
In other words, downsizing shouldn’t be a problem, and you can wear the 16g after the piercing heals.
16g vs. 18g piercing? Which one is Better?
Essentially, the 16g piercing needles are ideal for the cartilage piercings like the helix, tragus, conch, rook, and daith, while the 18G piercing needle is for most of the earlobe piercings.
So, choosing between the two depends on the location of the piercing. That said, 18G jewelry is ideal for healed cartilage piercings.
Choosing the right earring posts with new, healing, and healed piercings in different areas is important because it ensures proper healing and your overall safety.
And though you have many options, the 16G and the 18G piercings and jewelry are the most common options.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.