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Published Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Body Jewelry (For A Friend)

So it’s finally happened. You have a friend with piercings. Maybe a nostril. Maybe a helix. Maybe even stretched lobes or -- gasp -- a stretched labret. Whether they’re a friend, significant other, mother-in-law, employee, random acquaintance or [other], you now find yourself in a pickle.

Relax. There's an easier way.

You need to get them a gift. They love their piercings. You want to get them something that goes in those piercings. Maybe gift giving is your love language. Maybe you got all of your other bridesmaids matching earrings. The point is, you now find yourself delving into the world of body modification.

It’s no biggie, you figure. You can handle this. Then you start seeing references to gauges, to inches, to millimeters. What’s the wearable? Maybe you could eyeball it, but are they talking length or diameter?

You didn’t know this would require an engineering degree. What are you supposed to do? Caliper your friend’s jewelry?

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. In this guide, I will tell you everything you ever need to know about every kind of body jewelry you could possibly want to buy someone. And I’ll tell you how to make sure it all fits and makes everyone happy.

But first, let me say this: Did you know that Bodyartforms has gift certificates? It’s true. If your friend/significant other/rad mother-in-law has their birthday/engagement/diamond jubilee coming up soon, you can always get the gift certificate this round and come back next time for the goods.

That having been said, let’s talk subterfuge.

If your friend’s birthday is next week, you can’t just roll up and say, “Sooooo, what size are those plugs in your ears anyways? Are you, like, allergic to any metals? Why? Oh, no reason.”

What you can do: Look at the piercing, then say, “Hey, you know these things (point at piercing), those are so pretty! I wish I could do something like that...but it’s so confusing.” It opens up the conversation by focusing on you. That way, you can ask questions and not give yourself away. You can even take notes.

And maybe even use the information to get a piercing yourself. They are pretty cool.

Or, if your friend’s birthday isn’t for six months, or if you don’t care about spoiling the surprise, you can just come out and ask. Tell them you may want to buy jewelry for them, and see what sizes they need for everything. I wish I could tell you there’s a way to eyeball this stuff, but sizing is super specific, and if your friend has a 6 gauge labret, they absolutely will not be able to wear a 4 gauge or an 8 gauge. Think of it like shoes. You need to know the right size.

So now you have notes. Let’s talk jewelry.


AKA “Those big round things people wear in their ears.”

AKA Plugs, gauges, tunnels. spacers, stretchers.

Your friend has stretched earlobes. If your friend says, “My ears are stretched to an 8” they’re likely referring to an 8 gauge.

Complications? Actual measurements. 8 millimeter isn’t the same as 8 gauge. Also, they may say something like “half inch” or “three eighths”. These are measurements in fractions of an inch.

We have tons of great stuff.

I know. That sounds complicated. It’s not. To simplify, you’re looking for a gauge, or for a fraction of an inch, or for millimeters. We have a handy guide here to help you with conversions.

Once you have that number, you are golden. Shopping is easy. On Bodyartforms’ main page, you can filter by jewelry type, gauge, material, and price. That will put you right at the jewelry you’re looking for.

Additional considerations:

Preference. Does your friend tend to wear a certain material? Do their plugs look like glass, wood or stone most of the time? It’s usually good to get someone something similar to what they already wear. Looking for something beautiful and cost effective? Stick to glass and stone. These are attractive materials that aren’t as likely to cause reactions.

Reactions. Yeah, about that. See something that would look absolutely fantastic on your friend’s lobes and it’s made of wood, brass or other alloy metals, copper, etc? You’d need to ask your friend about it. Some people have issues with wood. Alloy metals can often only be worn short term (A lot of these pieces are intricate and designed for special occasions though, so your friend might still want them). For these kinds of materials, you may want to check with your friend, just to make sure.

Options. Plugs are not your only option. Use the filter on the front page of Bodyartforms to select “hanging designs” and your friend’s gauge, and you will be introduced to a world of amazing jewelry. Talons, claws, spirals, dangles, coils, twists, hoops, weights. All of these are names for things you can wear instead of plugs. The best part is that if you know your friend’s gauge or measurement, you know what size to get. It’s the same as the plugs.

The Description. Click on a piece of jewelry, and you’ll see larger images and a detailed description. Read the description. It contains information that may be important. Some complex pieces may have larger ends and smaller wearables, so you’ll see a note saying “You have to be at least X size to wear this”. That size is the minimum. So your friend’s size needs to match that.

Wearable. Some people have thicker or thinner lobes than others. That means that a smaller or larger wearable might fit better. You’d have to ask your friend about this, or roll the dice. Chances are it will work for your friend. If you want to cheat on this, buy spirals, talons, tapers, twists or coils. These are longer pieces that hang, and therefore don’t have wearables.


AKA Stuff around the lips.

Your friend has a labret piercing, philtrum (like a labret but up top), snake bites, spider bites, or other piercing around the lips which penetrates from the inside of the mouth to the outside.

What you’ll need to know: Gauge and wearable.

Gauge is usually either 14g or 16g, and wearable tends to be either 5/16ths or 3/8ths. You’ll have to ask what camp they fall into.

From there you are all set. Go to the front page of Bodyartforms and use the filters for jewelry type: Labret, select the correct gauge and length and hit the Filter Jewelry button.

Additional Considerations: Not much. Unless your friend has a really thick labret, like a big piece of stone or glass coming through there. That’s a stretched labret. It works a lot like plugs. Luckily, we have an incredible selection of these. Just filter by Jewelry Type: Labret and Gauge and you’ll find what you’re looking for.


AKA Bananabells, Belly Rings

Your friend has a pierced belly button. Good news: This is one of the most industry standardized piercings. Bad news: None.

Navels tend to be 14g and 3/8ths of an inch or 10mm. And 3/8ths inch and 10mm are super close to the same size, so you don’t need to worry about that either. Chances are if your friend has a pierced belly button, they are this size. Or you can try this:

“So, your belly button thing. Is that like, just a standard size jewelry?”

Boom. Nailed it.

From the front page of Bodyartforms, you can filter by Jewelry Type:Navel and by material and price (Or pick discounts and sales). Then the world is your oyster.


AKA, the one in the middle of the nose.

Your friend has a septum piercing.

What you need to know: Gauge, wearable.

You can put this wherever you'd put a ring.

Septums tend to be either 14g or 16g for gauge and 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch or 5/16ths inch for the wearable. If you’ve got that info, you’re good to go. Some of the most fashionable nose jewelry comes in the form of what we call “clickers”. It’s really simple to wear, looks elegant and gorgeous, and is like a general purpose cheat code for piercings. You can put a clicker on your helix, in a nostril piercing, etc. Basically anywhere you’d put a ring, you can put a clicker. And you won’t need special pliers to get a captive bead in. Win!

Additional Considerations: Punched or stretched. It is possible to punch or stretch the septum to a larger size. If your friend wears big stuff in their nose, you may have a stretched septum situation.

If you’ve already asked their gauge and they gave you a number smaller than 14g or in some measurement (i.e. 1/4 of an inch) then you’ll need bigger jewelry. You can get something like a pincher that fits the gauge (Pro tip: look through the user submitted photos to get an idea of what it will look like worn). You can also get something nice that dangles, like a captive. The real key here is what your friend normally wears. Do they wear pinchers in their nose? Or more dangly ring type stuff? Let their preference be your guide.


AKA Nostrils.

Your friend has one or more nostril piercings. These are on the side of the nose.

This jewelry tends to fall into four types: Bones, screws, hoops and rings.

What you need to know: Gauge and wearable.

Gauge tends to be 20g or 18g, but 16g and 14g are getting more popular. Wearable is either length (For screws and bones) or diameter (For rings and hoops).

Best bet? Nose screw. They’re cute, you can get all kinds of gem colors, metal colors, designs. And most of the time just knowing the gauge is plenty to make a purchase.

Nose screws aren’t too complicated either, you just need to make sure that the wearable length is right for your friend’s nose, otherwise it won’t fit quite right.

For rings and hoops, diameter is usually 5/16ths or 3/8ths. So if you friend likes to wear hoops or rings then go for it! Pro tip: If you see a ball on the ring then it is likely a captive ring. If you don’t see a ball, then it’s probably a hoop. It looks like it goes all the way around, but it doesn’t.

Super-duper Pro-tip: Instead of getting a captive, go clicker. A clicker can work just like a captive without the bead, so your friend won’t have to wrestle that tiny bead into place.

Go to the front page and filter by Jewelry Type: Nose, and gauge and wearable and you’re all set!


“This is really pretty, but…”

What happens if it just doesn’t work out? It’s not the right size, not the right material? Your jewelry will come in a heat-sealed baggy. If this is your first jewelry purchase for your friend, do not remove it from the baggy. As long as the seal isn’t broken, you can return it to Bodyartforms for a refund.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our amazing customer service department and ask. They’ll help you out.