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Here at Body Candy, we get questions from time to time about the sizing, styles, and materials of our body jewelry, so we’ve decided to answer some of your most pressing questions right here on the Body Candy Blog.  Our first challenge: “How do I size this?”

So first lets do a quick general sizing overview.

Gauge: The thickness of the wire or portion of the item that passes directly through the piercing.

Diameter: The measurement across a circular opening, usually measured across the widest portion of an item from inside edge to inside edge.

Length: The general distance from tip to tip of the wearable portion of an item, i.e. the part that is worn inside the actual piercing.

Measuring Gauge

The best way to accurately measure for gauge size is to invest in a sizing tool or go to a piercer; there are also printable charts available which are helpful in deciphering larger gauge sizes.  However, if you aren’t able to use any of these methods, the easiest way is to take a piece of thread, wrap it around the barbell, and clip it so that the ends just barely touch eachother (this may take a couple of snips to get just right.)  Then, place the thread flat on a hard surface, line it up with a ruler, and measure it’s length in millimeters as exact as possible.  Now all you have to do is follow the simple equation below, and you’ve got your gauge size.

Measuring Diameter

If you can’t get to a piercer, diameter can be measured with a tool, and also fairly accurately with a protractor (just remember to allow for the size of the protractor pin.)  If all else fails, measurement can be taken using a pencil, paper, and a ruler, remembering to mark at the inside edges of the item with dots instead of slashes.

Measuring Length

Length is most easily measured at home by placing the item (with tips still on) against a piece of paper on a flat surface.  right at the points where the barbell meets the tips, draw a set of short, straight lines, and then use a ruler to measure the length between the lines.  Again, this measurement can also be taken at your friendly neighborhood piercing parlor.

Straight Barbells

This is the type of jewelry used for tongue piercings, as well as several other piercings of the septum, helix, nipple, nose bridge, and others.  All straight barbells will be measured for length by taking the distance between the tips, whether they be ball tips, hammers, bondage rings, spikes, or other 3-dimensional decorations.  Gauge size as always will be the diameter measurement or thickness of the barbell portion of the item.

Curved Barbells

For curved barbells, the length measurement is actually made straight across from tip to tip, rather than along the curve.  This goes for banana bells, eyebrow rings, and other jewelry used for piercings of the navel, eyebrow, neck, and surface piercings that utilize curved barbells instead of surface bars.

Nose Rings

Nose ring sizing is slightly tricky, but if you keep in mind the general rules of measurement it makes perfect sense.  The portion that actually rests inside the piercing itself is what will be measured for length; this means you’ll start under the decoration or gem setting, and measure straight down to the place where either a bulbous tip, a curve, or an angle begins.

Labret, Monroe, and Tragus Jewelry

Jewelry worn in these piercings, as well some worn in other piercings of the ear cartilage and dimples, is measured from the flat disc-like end to the bottom of the ball or decoration.  For special stylized labret and monroe jewelry like spikes and lippy loops, just remember the rules and measure the wearable part of the piercing from tip to tip.

Horseshoes, Circulars, Captive Bead Rings, Segment Rings, and Hoops

For all of the multi-functional circular body jewelry styles, instead of length and gauge, you’ll need to measure diameter and gauge.  Diameter is always measured from inside edge to inside edge at the widest point.

Plugs, Tunnels, and Tapers

The best thing to keep in mind when measuring plugs for gauge size, is to always measure at the portion of the item that will be inside the ear.  For straight tapers and buffalo tapers, this will be the widest point, right where the o-rings rest, and for tunnels and saddle plugs, it will be the wearable portion in the middle, between the two ends or flares.  When dealing with specially shaped items, like spiral tapers, measure the part that will be in your piercing, which is generally right about where we’ve marked it.

Nipple Rings

Nipple bars will be easy to size, as they are measured for length in the same way as a straight barbell (the distance between the two decorative tips.)  For shield style nipple jewelry, you’ll also need the diameter measurement of the decorative shield as this will determine fit as well.  Sizing of the rest of the item is a matter of preference.

We hope this cleared a few things up, and look forward to answering more of your important body jewelry queries in the future!

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