I started gauging my ears about 6 years ago – I came home from the local body shop with a couple of tiny tapers, and sat in my bathroom cringing for about half an hour with a jar of petroleum jelly as I gently pushed the taper through my tiny, standard sized ear piercings, and came out with a new addiction.
Since then, I’ve gone up to eyelets, with my larger ear piercing being 9/16″, and my smaller being a 2g, then gradually shrinking them back down when I took my jewelry out for a while. I love gauges – it’s a multicultural form of body modification that is never limited to just one look, and there are so many ways to style them. As I’ve become a boring adult with a towering pile of responsibilities, I’ve forgotten how much fun you can really have with a piercing like this.
Forget about just finding the perfect set of plugs – with gauges, you can do so many fun things to make yours unique. Whether you’re a guy or gal, there’s an edgy look out there for you that I’m sure you haven’t tried yet – take a peek through these and see what you think.
Captive Beads and Tunnels
One of the first things I did right around the 00g mark was started piling captive bead rings through my tunnels. At that point, I could fit three rings at a time in each ear, and the result was…kind of badass. I opted for surgical steel all in the same diameter, but I’ve seen people do them in graduating sizes and multiple colors too.
What really sets the look off though is the tunnel you use with this look. Silicon jewelry looks cool, but the rings don’t slide around as freely, and too much weight can contort the shape of soft tunnels like that. I liked the uniform look of a surgical steel tunnel personally, something with a narrow edge like this:
Double or Nothing With Eyelets
Eyelets are just a fun way of saying, two earrings on the same ear, right next to each other. I had my ears double pierced when I started gauging, so I figured what the hell – I’ll do both of them. The coolest thing about having two or more gauged piercings on one ear is that you can really have some fun with the coordinating jewelry.
More often than not, your secondary hole is going to be a smaller gauge than your first, so I always liked to get matching jewelry, just in two different sizes, or coordinate a complimentary color. So if I had a pretty piece of jewelry like this in my larger hole:
Then I would put something that coordinated well with that piece, like a simple opal stone plug in my secondary eyelet, like this:
This new trend of having two small eyelets directly side-by-side is really beautiful too – it definitely follows that raging trend of minimalism, and looks great on both guys and gals.
Use Gauged Jewelry to Wear “Normal” Earrings
One thing that kind of bummed me out when I started gauged my ears was how limited the selection of body jewelry was. Back then, there weren’t nearly as many options out there, and if you wanted something really unique, you’d either have to make it yourself, or spend a small fortune on Etsy.
Of course, now we have retailers like FreshTrends that are stocking all kinds of beautiful jewelry, and the number of options we gauged out gods and goddesses have is pretty staggering. If you’re like me though, the grass is always greener on the other side.
All too often I’ll be in Target or something and see a pair of chandelier earrings and think to myself, How can I make that work? I’ve done some crazy tinkering with this concept, and come up with a few solutions, the simplest of which is to just look for jewelry with hangers or clasps instead of studs, and use a coordinating tunnel to wear it, like with this combination:
The only issue you might run into here is that dangle earrings are usually designed to just wrap around a normal sized piece of ear flesh – with tunnels in, the standard sized hook they come with might be a bit of an awkward fit. In a pinch, I usually just bent the hanger around my tunnel, but you can also replace that little piece on your dangle earrings with a 16g coordinating captive bead, or just a longer piece of jewelry grade wire.
With this type of jewelry where you have a stud instead of a hanger, I did something abominable – I drilled a hole in my wooden plugs. I picked up a cheap pair from the local body shop, grabbed a teeeeeeny tiny drill bit, and put a hole in them, not going all the way through, but going deep enough to set the stud. Then I put a dab of hot glue on the stud itself and pressed it into the hole until it was set.
It was kind of tricky because you can really only do this with silicon or wood plugs, but it was really handy for those pieces of jewelry that wouldn’t have looked right with a hanger in place instead of a stud.
Get Creative with What You Put Through Your Tunnels
One of my favorite things to do with gauged ears is just found things around the house to put through them. I know, I’m a weirdo. But seriously, with holes that big, you can really get creative with what you wear, so why stop at just jewelry?
Now of course, only body jewelry has the grade of materials you really need to keep nasty reactions and infections at bay, so I never do this without a tunnel in place, protecting the tender flesh inside my piercing from the non-surgical grade materials I’m using. Surgical steel tunnels are always my go-to.
All the same though, it’s pretty fun, and with a good set of surgical steel tunnels, there’s quite a bit you can drop in there, from padlocks (don’t lose the key), to carabiners, safety pins – even a bottle opener key chain. It can look as badass or silly as you want it to, so start digging through your junk drawer and see what fun ideas you can come up with.
What cool ways have you styled your gauges? Tell us in the comments below, share photos, or tag us in a sweet picture of you rocking your own gauge style on our Instagram – #freshtrends.