How is Jewelry for Nose Piercings Measured?

If you’ve ever wondered what the sizing means on nose stud listings you’re not alone! Between inner diameter, outer diameter, rise, gauge, and length it’s easy to get confused.

Here’s a quick breakdown on what the different measurements mean:

  • Inner diameter: Ideally, nose rings should be measured using inner diameter because this gives you the most accurate fit. The inner diameter is the measurement from inside edge to inside edge – imagine a straight line drawn horizontally through the inside of the hoop. To get the most accurate figure, a nose ring should be measured for inner diameter using a caliper, but you could use a ruler in a pinch.
  • Outer diameter: This is the measurement from outside edge to outside edge. I personally don’t like measuring nose hoops for outer diameter because I find the inner diameter gives a much more accurate fit – you will most likely receive a nose ring that fits smaller than you thought it would if you buy one measured using outer diameter.
  • Rise: The rise is the part directly after the bend that goes through your piercing (the part attached to the charm or gem) found on a nostril screw or L-shaped nostril stud. The rise is typically 6mm-6.5mm tall when you’re looking at nose studs online because this size will fit most people. However, not everyone will find that the standard rise fits comfortably – more often than not, it ends up just slightly too tall which results in the charm or gem not sitting correctly on your nose. An alternative to buying a nostril screw or L-bend is to buy a fishtail nose stud – it looks like a charm with a really long straight post – which you would then take to your piercer to have them bend it for a custom fit specifically for your nose.

Quick Note – If you’re wondering whether or not you can measure your own nose for the rise at home, the answer is yes. However, you will need to use a caliper!

  • Gauge: The gauge is how thick the metal is on your nose ring or stud. The most common sizes are 20 gauge and 18 gauge. Remember – the smaller the number, the thicker the metal. So, a 22 gauge nose stud is thinner than an 18 gauge nose stud.
  • Length: The length may refer to how long the post is on a fishtail stud, or it may refer to the part after the bend on a nostril screw or L-shaped stud. This measurement will dictate whether or not the end of the nose stud will stick out of your nostril. If you have a well-fitting stud I would highly recommend keeping the measurement of the bend handy for when you decide to buy nose jewelry online. Don’t forget, a fishtail nose stud is not meant to be worn as-is! You will need to have it custom bent to fit your piercing into either a screw or L-shape.

Measuring Your Actual Nose Piercing for a Hoop

Before you buy a nose ring online, it’s really important to measure your piercing! If you don’t, you likely won’t get the most comfortable fit. This is especially true if you want a nose hoop that will hug your piercing.  The inner diameter that you wear has nothing to do with how big or small your nose is, but rather how high up or low your piercing was placed.

The measurement that you need to take is the distance from the piercing hole down to the edge of your nostril. This is best done using a caliper for accuracy, but you could use a ruler.

Here is how you do both:

  1. Caliper: Line up the top jaw with your piercing hole and the bottom jaw with the edge of your nostril – I much prefer doing this with a digital caliper because it’s easier to see the reading, even if you’re measuring your piercing in the mirror.
  2. Ruler: Cut a small strip of paper and line the top of the strip up with the piercing hole. Next, use a pen or a pencil to mark where the edge of your nostril is. You can now place the paper next to a ruler and measure how far down the mark that you made is. I highly recommend doing this in millimeters, and also avoiding simply holding the ruler up to your nose.

Measuring is the Key to Getting Comfortable Nose Jewelry

If you’re having a hard time finding nose studs and rings that fit well, I would highly recommend taking the time to measure your piercing either at home or with your piercer. A small 1mm change can make a huge difference in how well your nose jewelry fits! I also highly recommend using an o-ring with nose studs - and even nose hoops. Although it can be awkward to install onto the jewelry initially, an o-ring will keep nose hoops from spinning around, which is important if you have a decorative part that you're trying to keep in the same position, and it will allow you to make minor size adjustments to nose studs that fit ever-so-slightly too big.