The industrial ear piercing is one type of body modification that involves two holes being pierced in the cartilage of the ear such that a barbell can be placed through both of them. When deciding on an industrial piercing, part of the process will be choosing the gauge -- whether 14G or 16G -- that works the best for your body and needs.
Gauges are a unit of measurement (denoted as a "G" after the number) that indicates the diameter of a piece of body jewelry. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter of the jewelry. Conversely, the lower the gauge, the larger the diameter of the jewelry. So a piece of 0G jewelry is .325 inches in diameter, while a 18G piece of jewelry is .04 inches in diameter. The smallest gauge available for body jewelry is 20, while the largest is 0000, after which gauges are measured in fractions of an inch. When getting a new piercing, the piercing artist will ask you to specify which gauge you would like your new piercing to be. 18G, 16G, 14G and 12G are all fairly standard gauges for ear piercings.
Industrial piercings are a type of ear cartilage piercing that involves piercing two holes in the ear so that a barbell can be placed between them. The industrial piercing bisects the top of the ear, creating a straight line that contrasts with the rounded curve of the ear. Industrial piercings can be placed at nearly any angle on the ear. When getting an industrial. a piercer will do the two holes separately, allow them to heal with a ring or small barbell in each, and then swap out the original piercing jewelry for a single barbell after both holes have healed sufficiently.
Choosing the Right Gauge
Deciding on the right gauge for an industrial piercing depends on a number of factors. The gauge you choose when you get pierced initially will determine the size of the jewelry you purchase to wear in your new piercing after it heals. Since the industrial piercing goes through the ear cartilage, there is less possibility for stretching or "gauging" it as many people do with their bottom lobes. The difference between a 14G and 16G industrial barbell is a matter of .013 inches, making them only slightly different. Consider your jewelry preferences and the types of barbells you'd like to wear in your new piercing when deciding which gauge to go choose.
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Other Body Jewelry Differences
Besides gauge, there are other differences between types of body jewelry to take into account with getting a new piercing or purchasing new jewelry. Body jewelry can either be internally or externally threaded, meaning that the screw threads are either inside of the "ball" part of the barbell, or the inside of the "stick" part of the barbell. You will also need to choose the length of the barbell to make sure that it fits comfortably in your piercings without pulling them together or extending too far out from your ear.
Not everyone should get an industrial piercing; but the person doing the piercing may not tell you this vital piece of information. If you proceed, and you end up with what is called a "shallow industrial piercing", it may cause scarring, and most likely, an infection.
Marysia Walcerz has been writing since 2008. She has been published in several compilations of artistic and philosophical work, including "Gender: Theory in Practice" and "Retold Comics." Walcerz has a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and philosophy from The Evergreen State College.