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What size septum ring do I need?

If you’re going to buy jewelry online, then you need to know which size septum ring you need. There are several important size considerations to keep in mind for septum pieces.
  • Gauge: You will need to know how thick the jewelry is that you wear. The gauge will be notated like this: 16G, 16Ga, or 16 gauge.
  • Inner diameter: You will need to know which diameter of ring fits you well. This will usually be listed in millimeters or inches if you’re buying in the US. For example, if you’re buying a hoop you would see it listed like this: 8mm (5/16”).
  • The size of the design: You will need to take the size of the actual design into consideration. Some designs will take up part of the inner diameter, which is incredibly important to know because it will affect the way the ring fits. Others may just be too large to fit your personal aesthetic because the design hangs low enough to touch your upper lip.

Looking for some unique septum jewelry? Check out the bats, skulls & other designs by Metal Lotus!

What size septum ring do you get pierced with?

The most common gauge for septum piercings is 16 gauge (approx. 1.2mm thick), however your piercer may decide to use a different gauge depending on your individual anatomy. While 16G is the typical starter gauge, some people choose to size down to 18 gauge (approx. 1.0mm thick) or size up to 14 gauge (approx. 1.6mm thick).

What is the standard septum ring size?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to inner diameter and piercings. You will need to learn how to measure your piercing, measure an existing piece of jewelry that fits well, or ask your piercer for help to ensure that you are buying the correct diameter ring. The inner diameter that you wear depends on how high up your septum piercing is placed. You cannot base the diameter you wear how large or small your nose is.

How do you measure your septum piercing?

Although having your piercer help fit you is better, you can measure your piercing at home using just a piece of paper and a ruler. Cut a small strip of paper, line it up with the bottom of the piercing hole, and mark where the edge of your nose is on the paper with a fine-tipped marker. Then, measure the marked portion against a ruler that is marked in millimeters to get the smallest inner diameter that you can comfortably wear. If this is how you decide to measure, I would recommend measuring several times just to make sure you get approximately the same size each time.

how to measure your septum piercing
In the example above the marked portion of the paper measures approximately 6mm (1/4"). You can see in the next picture how a hoop with a 6mm inner diameter fits the nose closely.

What gauge is my septum piercing?

The gauge refers to the thickness of your jewelry. You will need to have an existing piece of jewelry to find out this aspect of the sizing, you cannot measure which gauge you wear just based on the piercing hole.

The gauge is important to know because you can damage your piercing if you try to force jewelry that’s too thick through it, or unintentionally downsize your piercing if you buy jewelry in a smaller gauge. If you don’t remember which gauge your septum was pierced with, then I would highly recommend asking your piercer prior to buying any new jewelry because taking this measurement at home uses tools that you may not have. You cannot measure the gauge of your jewelry accurately with a ruler. In a pinch, you could use a gauge card to compare your current jewelry to if you have one from a previous body jewelry purchase, but remember, this will only be accurate if the graphics on the card were properly sized.

If you would like to take the measurement at home you can do so with a caliper (or a micrometer if you have one). Use the bottom jaws of the caliper that are intended for outside measurements, and make sure that you aren’t forcefully clamping the jaws down onto the jewelry. If the measurement you take is approximately 1.0mm, then you wear 18 gauge; if the measurement is approximately 1.2mm, then you wear 16 gauge; and if the measurement is approximately 1.6mm, then you wear 14 gauge.

Check out some cool 18G, 16G & 14G septum jewelry: Niobium Captive Bead Rings

How do you measure the diameter of a septum ring?

A septum ring is measured using the inner diameter, but unlike a nose hoop, the inner diameter is usually measured in a straight vertical line inside the jewelry. This is because a septum ring is typically not fully round like a nose ring is, and the diameter that will fit you properly is based on how far up the piercing was placed (as opposed to how wide the septum is between your nostrils).

An alternative to measuring your actual piercing is measuring the inner diameter of a septum ring that already fits you well. You can do this with just a ruler that has millimeter measurements, or you can use a digital caliper for a more accurate result.

inner diameter of septum ring
Some designs will take up a portion of the inner diameter, like the septum rings that I make, so it’s very important to check for additional sizing considerations each time you buy from a new seller. For example, in the description for each of my septum pieces I list how far into the inside of the hoop my design will sit. You will need to measure your piercing first to find out which inner diameter fits your septum closely, then add the amount listed for the design to that size to ensure you get a ring that will fit with enough room. To keep things simple for you to measure at home, my inner diameter measurements are based on what the diameter is prior to putting the bead into the hoop.

Another thing that you may want to keep in mind is the size of the actual design to avoid getting one that will hang too low below your nose, which is why I always include how wide and tall my designs are in the description, as well. If you don’t have a lot of space in between your nose and upper lip, then you may not like the way larger designs hang. The total height of the design may also matter to you if you have a philtrum (medusa) piercing so you can avoid getting a septum piece that annoys you.

Should my septum ring be tight?

No, your septum jewelry should not be such a close fit that it feels tight or constricting. If you like the look of a snug fitting piece of jewelry where the ring sits close to the bottom of your nose, then it’s incredibly important that you measure your piercing (or better yet ask for your piercer to help fit you) so that your jewelry fits properly. Having a slightly looser fit is always better than one that places any pressure on your piercing, so make sure you round up to the next whole number if you find that your septum is in between sizes when you measure.

What types of jewelry is used for a septum piercing?

The most common types of jewelry used are circular barbells (a U-shape with a ball on either end), captive bead rings, and D-rings or clickers. You can also wear a straight barbell or a curved barbell through your septum if you’re looking for something more discreet. Segment rings are also used for septums, which is a style of jewelry that works like a captive ring but a section of a hoop pops out instead of a dimpled ball or bead design.

What’s the best metal for a septum ring?

Titanium, niobium, karat gold (14-karat and up), and platinum are some of the best metals for septum jewelry. Unless your piercing is stretched large enough to wear the jewelry through a tunnel, you should avoid rings that are made entirely out of silver or another metal that tarnishes like brass. It’s perfectly fine if the part of the design that hangs down is made out of silver.

However, the part of the jewelry that actually goes through your piercing should be a metal that resists corrosion and has a high biocompatibility. I don’t recommend using a sterling silver hoop because silver will start to turn colors very quickly in a moist environment like the nose, and you will constantly have to take the jewelry out to polish it in order to avoid irritation. This is why I’ve chosen to make all of my captive hoops out of commercially pure niobium.

Ready to pick out a septum ring? Take a look at my designs: Septum Jewelry by Metal Lotus

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