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Published Wednesday, January 25, 2023

How to Find the Perfect Jewelry to Fit Your Nose Piercing

Published August 3, 2022

Trying to figure out what jewelry you need for your nose piercing can be a challenge. Whether you’re looking for the perfect nose ring after the healing process that seemed to take forever, a nosescrew for a special event, or a new nosebone just because you deserve it, finding jewelry that is as comfortable as it is attractive is important.

The nostril is a popular place to have pierced, and there is a good range of jewelry styles to choose from when shopping for new nose jewelry. But when considering which jewelry to buy, it’s vital to remember that each person’s nose is different and knowing what measurements you’ll need is the first step to finding the piece you’ll be happy to add to your collection.


Know Your Gauge

When we discuss the gauge of body jewelry we’re talking about the thickness of the jewelry, in particular the section that fits inside your piercing. We usually refer to that part of the jewelry as the “wearable area.”

The most common sizes for nostril jewelry are 20 gauge and 18 gauge, although some jewelry can also be as small as 22 gauge.

  • 22 gauge is 0.6mm thick. This gauge is usually only available in silver, or other precious metals.
  • 20 gauge is 0.8mm thick. 20 gauge is a size frequently preferred by piercers and nose jewelry in this gauge is available in such materials as gold, silver, titanium and steel.
  • 18 gauge is 1mm thick, and this size may currently be the most popular gauge for nose piercings. Like the 20 gauge versions, 18 gauge is available in most metals, but can also be found made out of glass.


The easiest way to find out what gauge nose ring you need is to ask your piercer when you’re getting pierced. But if you're like me, your eyes may have been watering too much at the time to type the information into your notes app. If your piercer isn’t available for questions, there are several ways to measure your jewelry’s gauge:

Use Calipers

A caliper is an inexpensive tool to get highly accurate measurements for body jewelry. You can use it to measure the gauge or other dimensions of your jewelry, as well. It’s even possible to use it to measure the positions of your piercings on your anatomy to obtain useful specifications if you don’t have jewelry available. Use steel calipers with care, it’s possible to scratch the polished finish of your jewelry with them, which can affect its comfort of wear. Plastic calipers are less expensive and won't pose the same danger to your nose ring. After consulting your piercer, calipers are your best option!

Compare Your Current Jewelry to Our Gauge Card

We include a free gauge card with each order we ship, and you may already have one handy if you’ve ordered from us before. We also have our gauge card available to download and print. The gauge card should have the different thickness options marked clearly for easy comparison. You should be able to determine which gauge your nose piercing is by holding your old jewelry up to designated marks on the card.

Gauge card image

Use a Gauge Measurement Wheel

Gauge wheels are tools intended for measuring straight wire, not oddly shaped pieces of body jewelry. The wheel is a round piece of thin steel or plastic with grooves of different thickness cut out of the sides. It’s possible to use one to estimate the gauge of a nose stud by inserting your jewelry into those cut-outs, but like steel calipers, gauge wheels made out of metal have sharp edges that can scratch your jewelry.

Another similar tool is a sheet metal gauge tool, which looks like a small rectangle with similar cutouts along one side that fit different gauges. These tools function the same way as a measurement wheel and suffer from the same weaknesses.

Find The Length or Diameter

The second measurement that will be useful to find for the perfect fit is the length (or diameter) of your nose jewelry. How you can best identify those specifications depends on what style of nose jewelry you want to wear, so let’s review the most common nose jewelry designs, the pros and cons of each design, and where to find their wearable lengths.


Nose bone measuring

Nosebones are nostril studs with a gemmed or plain front, and a straight wearable post flared slightly at one end. This back flare is usually a small ball, and it is used to keep the stud from falling out. The benefit of wearing a nosebone is that, like the design itself, it is very straightforward and usually simple to pop in or remove. On the other hand, the flared bulb can be as much as 0.5mm larger than the post. Inserting this design can cause irritation in an unhealed or inflexible piercing. They are designed to only be worn when your piercing is well healed.

To measure the wearable length of a nosebone, you can use calipers, a gauge card, or a ruler to find the distance between the front end and the back bulb. When finding this specification, it is important not to make the mistake of measuring the entire piece, end to end. You do not want to include the rise of the front end and the thickness of the back bulb in your calculations.

If you don’t have an old piece of nose jewelry at hand, or if you are downsizing the length of your jewelry after healing, you can use calipers to measure the thickness of the outer part of your nostril.



Nose bone measuring

Nosescrews are similar to nosebones, in that they have a straight wearable section that sits in your piercing. However, instead of a thicker back flare, they have a bent section that is worn inside the nostril and comes in two distinct styles:

  • A straight bend nosescrew, has a back section that is left straight, usually bent at a right angle to the post, forming an L-shape that sits in your piercing.
  • A nosecrew with a curved back, also has a 90 degree bend in the post, but the back section has an additional curve in it. This curve is rotated through your piercing, much like a corkscrew in a cork, to gradually insert the piece.

Nosescrews can be easily put in without the possible discomfort that can be caused by a nosebone. On the other hand, the curved section that sits inside of your nose has the potential to fall forward and be visible in your nostril. Some people can also find having the back part of the nosescrew sit inside the nose can feel slightly uncomfortable.

To measure the wearable length of a nosescrew, use a tool to determine the length of the post between the front of the piece and the inner edge of the angled bend. Like a nosebone, calipers are the most useful tool to discover the wearable length for your best fit if you don’t have an older nosescrew for comparison.


Nose Hoop

Nose hoop measuring

A nose hoop or nose ring, is a circular design that goes through your nostril piercing and curves around your nose. There are many different types of rings that can be worn as a nose hoop, including clickers, captive bead rings, seamless rings, segment rings, and open nose hoops with a disk on one end that sits inside the nostril to hold it in place.

To determine the best fit for your nose hoop you need to measure the inner diameter of the ring. For a snug fit, the minimum diameter of the ring will need to be the same as the distance between your nostril piercing and the lower edge of your nostril. Of course, rings with diameters that are larger than that can still usually be worn comfortably and make a bold statement, but they are also more prone to getting snagged on hair or clothing.



Labret measuring

Labret studs are often thought of as meant for lip piercings, but it is a very versatile design that you can wear many ways. With the growing popularity of the threadless designs, and the increasing availability of small gauge internally threaded versions, labret studs have become a great option for nostril piercing jewelry.

They have a large number of options for external ends, whether you like gemmed discs or other decorative shapes. Labrets also have the advantage of the straight post without having a screw section that sits inside the nostril or having to insert the flared back of a nosebone. The only disadvantage is that the design requires you to insert it from the inside of your nostril. That can be a struggle depending on the location of your piercing, but one that can be made a lot easier with the help of a taper.

Like nosebones and nosescrews, the wearable area for labrets should be calculated by measuring the length of the post between the front and back disc. If you reference the total length of the labret, it is likely to be loose in the piercing.


Why Sizing is Important

If a nosebone, nosescrew, or labret has a post that’s exposed on the outside of your nose, the length is probably too long. If the nosecrew you’re wearing can be seen inside your nostril then it may not be the ideal design for your anatomy. If your nose hoop is too tight, it won’t just look pinched, it will be uncomfortable in the long term. If your jewelry regularly gets snagged, if your piercing is irritated because your jewelry is loose, if you are constantly having to manually adjust your jewelry so that it looks the way you want it to, then it’s probably a good time to reassess what size jewelry you need.


If you’ve made the daring choice to have your nose pierced, then you probably know what quality of jewelry you want to wear. Everyone deserves jewelry that they love and that you can be comfortable wearing. Finding the right fit for your jewelry is an important step in finding that dream piece that made you want to get pierced in the first place.


With the knowledge to find the jewelry that fits the way you want it to fit, you can explore the wide variety of designs, materials, and embellishments that are available to you.