How to Figure Out the Size of Your Belly Button Ring

Belly button rings are the jewelry inserted into a navel when it is pierced. Most initial navel piercings are done with a curved barbell, a piece of jewelry consisting of a stainless steel bar with beads that unscrew at both ends. Less commonly, captive bead rings may be used. A captive bead ring, or CBR, is shaped like a C, with a bead held in place by pressure between the two ends. Rings are measured by gauge and diameter, while barbells are measured by gauge and length.

A young woman with a bellybutton ring. (Image: Jupiterimages/>>/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your hands and piercing with antibacterial soap and warm water. Dry well and remove the jewelry from the piercing.

Step 2

Unscrew the beads from the ends of the bar if your jewelry is a curved barbell. Leave the bead out if your jewelry is a CBR.

Step 3

Use a ruler or dial calipers to measure the distance across the ring. Measure across the inside; do not include the ring itself in the measurement.

Step 4

Determine if the bar of your barbell is internally or externally threaded. External threading means the ends of the bar look like screws; internal threading means the ends are hollow. If the jewelry is externally threaded, use a ruler or dial calipers to measure the bar itself, between the threads. If the jewelry is internally threaded, measure the entire bar.

Step 5

Use a wire gauge wheel or dial calipers to measure the gauge of the jewelry. If using a gauge wheel, slip the bar into the 14-gauge hole first. If it doesn't fit, try the 12- or 16-gauge holes.

Things You'll Need

  • Antibacterial soap

  • Ruler

  • Wire gauge wheel

  • Dial calipers


The standard gauge for a navel piercing is 14. The standard length of a curved barbell for a navel piercing is 3/8 inch or 7/16 inch.

Piercers often use a longer bar for the initial piercing to allow for swelling. Beads can be screwed onto a shorter bar for a snug fit after the piercing has healed.

Look for internal threading when buying body jewelry. External threads can cause trauma to tissue, especially in a new or unhealed piercing.


Do not attempt to change jewelry in a piercing that is not yet fully healed. Navel piercings take between six and 12 months to heal completely.

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