Tunnel earrings, better known as flesh tunnels (or another variant, earlets), are among the most popular types of large gauge jewelry made specifically for stretched earlobes. Along with ear plugs, these jewelry pieces are amazing when it comes to stretched earlobe piercings. They are made to be comfortable even for the long-term wear and are often made to be very light so they don’t become a nuisance even if you have your earlobes stretched to very large gauges.
There is some confusion, however, on selecting the right size tunnel earrings. It is not always clear how to proceed here or how the gauge system actually works. Luckily, this is an easy thing to explain, once you understand a few key facts.
Proper Gauge Measuring
In order to get the proper size for your tunnel earrings, be it flesh tunnels, earlets or ear plugs, you need to choose the jewelry that is the same size (gauge) as your piercing. Meaning, the diameter of the hole in your earlobes has to be the same as the diameter of the jewelry. Stretched lobes can have very large holes, but don’t worry – there is jewelry that can accommodate your piercing. It is important to keep in mind that you need to link the piercing hole with the jewelry of the same size and you should be alright.
What is a gauge? A gauge is a measurement, in this case, representing the size of the piercing hole or the jewelry. Sometimes, you may hear people refer to jewelry made for stretched piercing as “gauges”, but this is incorrect. Even the smallest piercings and thinnest jewelry have their gauge – for example, ear piercings are often done in gauges from 18 gauge to 12 gauge. Starting from these smaller gauges, piercings can be stretched to larger gauges, such as 8 gauge or 0 gauge. Remember, smaller numbers represent larger holes and vice versa.
In order to find the best tunnel earrings for your stretched earlobes, you need to know your current gauge. As you stretch your piercing to larger and larger sizes, your gauge changes. You may start with a small gauge such as 16 gauge and then gradually stretch your hole to something bigger, for example, 8 gauge. During all these steps you need to keep in mind how big your earlobe is. In other words, you need to know your current gauge, because this is the only way to know which jewelry size to order.
In case you are unsure, there are several ways to go. The first one is to have a taper or another stretching device that fits you (or, alternatively, to stretch to that new size). Another way to go is to have a tunnel earring that fits you, such as a flesh tunnel, earlet or an ear plug. Once you have something that fits your stretched earlobes you will need a gauge wheel to measure it. Measuring jewelry with a gauge wheel is easy so this is a quick way to know which is your current gauge.
Selecting the Right Size Tunnel Earrings: Tips
- In case you don’t have anything to compare your stretched lobes to, you can buy a cheap set of tapers to try them out. You may need them anyway once you decide to stretch your lobes further.
- Alternatively, you may visit your piercer and ask them to measure your stretched lobes to determine your current gauge. This may not be a standard service in your piercing studio so expect to pay an agreed price for this.
- Whatever you do, make sure to know your current gauge before you order a new pair of tunnel earrings. Do not guess! Guessing can lead to errors and serious problems. You should never wear jewelry that is too small or too big for your piercing.
- As you stretch your lobes further, you will need bigger jewelry. Do not risk it with your smaller jewelry pieces because it may promote shrinking. In other words, if there is nothing of a sufficient size to keep your lobes stretched to a certain gauge, the hole will begin to shrink. You may end up needing a smaller gauge than the one you stretched to previously.
- On the other hand, beware of the jewelry that is too big for your hole. Sometimes, people use jewelry to stretch their lobes to a bigger size, but this should be done only using specialized jewelry pieces made for gradual stretching, not tunnel earrings. Flesh tunnels, earlets and ear plugs are not good jewelry pieces for that. If you wish to gradually stretch using jewelry, go for crescents, spirals and claws.
Donna Carlson is a staff writer for TheChainGang. She combines her love for body piercings with adult fun, such as sex toys, BDSM and other forms of pleasure. She says: “Piercings and sex toys often complement each other in the most sensual ways. I am happy to help you discover new ways to pleasure yourself and your partner. With a bit of practice, anyone can learn how to enhance their love life. And with a bit of courage, anyone can enjoy body piercings”. In addition to intimate piercings and adult toys, Donna also writes about body jewelry and other piercing adornments.