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So you just pierced a new hole in your ear, but you’re not sure what size jewelry you should be looking for.

If your piercing was done with a needle in a piercing shop, they may have informed you of the size right there, but maybe you just forgot what your piercer told you. Or maybe your piercing was done with a piercing gun instead. Whatever the reason, if you’re curious as to what size a particular hole in your ear is, let me break it down a little simpler for ya.

An earlobe piercing that’s done with a piercing gun is a 22 gauge needle. Any standard size earring or post will fit you. If you’ve been pierced with a needle in a piercing shop, most likely you’re at a 20 or 18 gauge. No worries! The smaller the gauge the bigger the hole, so any standard size earring can be worn in addition to 20 or 18 gauge captive rings, cartilage studs, etc.

Cartilage/Tragus Earrings

*NOTE: If your cartilage piercing is done with a piercing gun, it will most likely be a 22 gauge piercing. You will want to look at standard size earring studs (like those shown above) rather than ones made specifically for cartilage piercings. It’s always good to check with your piercer for accuracy no matter what type of piercing (lobe or cartilage) so as not to stretch/damage the tissue.

For tragus, anti-tragus, helix, rook, conch and most cartilage piercings (any part of the ear other than your lobe) a piercer will use an 18 gauge (as seen above) or 16 gauge needle. Depending on the anatomy of your ear, the piercer may use a 14 gauge needle as well. Industrial piercings are typically pierced at 14 gauge. Most of the cartilage and BCR (captive ring) styles we carry come in both 18 and 16 gauge sizes. Captive rings also come in 14 gauge.

Cartilage/Tragus Earrings


  • B

    I got my cartilage pierced about 3 years ago with a gun but want to be able to wear regular cartilage jewelry such as an 18g or 16g. Is there any way those would fit in my pierced holes in my cartilage if I stretched them, or is that dangerous. Also, if I cannot can they be re-pierced over the holes I already have?

    Brenna on

  • A

    Hi Denise,

    This one varies a bit depending on the piercer/piercing – but either a 16g or 18g needle. Don’t be afraid to ask your piercer or head in for a consultation first.

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

  • D

    What size needle eo they use when theypiced youtop for your ear

    Denise Mcintire on

  • k

    i have 4 in each ear (plus an industrial), i’m trying to get my 3rd (both ears) to a 6 from an (uneven) 8. my fourth is standard 18 gauge. my first is at 00 and my second is a 4. any suggestions? my left ear takes the taper to a 6 but doesn’t let me follow through with a tunnel. my right ear (closed up during a surgical procedure, only started restretching in january) won’t even get past the 8 on the taper. it is definitely in the cartilage now.

    kathryn jinx on

  • K

    I have 3 cartilage piercings that I got done probably 3 years ago. I got them pierced with a needle and then eventually switched then to regular sized earrings that would go in your lobe. I just bought a set that has flat backs and they are a 16g. I was able to get them in, but its painful. I just want to make sure this is okay and I didn’t do something wrong. It’s hard to find any gauge smaller than that with flat backs. Any information would be helpful!

    Kacey on

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