There are six basic materials that most nose rings will be made of: stainless steel, gold, sterling silver, titanium, bioplast, and acrylic. They can also be found in platinum, glass, and carved organic material like bone, but these media are generally more expensive and harder to come by.
After choosing a material, there are four things you’ll need to know to get the perfect nose ring. The first is what style. The four common nose ring styles are the nose bone, nose screw, L-shape, and the hoop. Nose bones are a short, straight piece with a slightly larger ball-like tip that holds them in place, while nose screws are held in by the corkscrew-type curve at the end. L-shaped nose rings are kept in place by the ninety degree angle at the base, and nose hoops are either moveable with a tiny opening that prevents them from falling out, or fitted with a small disc at one end that holds them into the nose.
There is also an item available on the market called a fishtail nose ring, which is meant to be taken to a piercer and shortened, shaped, and bent for a custom fit. This type of jewelry cannot be worn as is, because it is extra long (19mm or 3/4″), and has no shaping to hold it in place.
Next you’ll need to know above the gauge size of the item. Standard sizing for nose rings is normally a 20 gauge; this means the thickness of the portion that goes through the piercing is approximately .8 millimeters. Nose piercings can also be done in a slightly larger 18 gauge (1 millimeter thickness), or in the case of some Indian style piercings, a very tiny 22 gauge (only about .65 millimeters thick). Knowing the correct gauge size is incredibly important to be sure the item fits comfortably without slipping out.
Once gauge has been determined, then you’ll need to know sizing for the ring itself. The length sizing for a nose ring is the length of the portion that actually passes through your piercing, not including any part that shows or rests inside the nose, and is measured from the base of the gem or decoration, to the curve, bend, or sphere. Average is about 6 millimeters, but for those who have slightly thinner or thicker nasal cartilage 5mm and 7mm are readily available. Other sizes for piercings that are done in non-traditional areas of the nostril can be custom made or created from a fishtail item.
For nose hoops, sizing won’t be measured as length, but instead as diameter. This is the measurement of the widest portion of the hoop from inside edge to inside edge. The standard for sizing here is 5/16″ (8mm) or 3/8″ (10mm).
The final element to perfectly size your nose ring is the most aesthetically important: the size of the gem or decoration that will show. There are nose rings called “micro nose rings” out there that have extremely small ornamentation (usually a gemstone), but for the most part nose rings’ decorative tips come in three basic sizes, which are 1.5 millimeter, 2 millimeter, and 2.5 millimeter. Some non-geometric shapes may be up to around 3.5mm in one of their dimensions, but usually no larger.
Now you’re ready to pick out the perfect nose ring that will beautify, enhance, and comfortably fit your specific nose!