I am often asked what the best gauge is to make earwires with. That is both an easy, and hard question to answer!
Easy answer: 20 gauge is the standard thickness for regular lobe piercings.
Hard answer: Sometimes your design requires you to use a thicker or thinner gauge to work with your beads, budget, or other findings.
Thicker Wire – If you want to make a piece with thicker wire, something that will show off the color of your wire or hold its shape better than 20 gauge, then 18 gauge is a good pick. Most people can wear 18 gauge in a fully healed ear piercing, it may just feel “tight” for a little while after putting it in. Unless the earwires will be for gauged ears, I do not recommend using anything thicker to go through the ear itself. If your design allows for it, you could use 20 gauge for just the actual piercing part of the earring, and a thicker gauge for the rest, as in this piece:
Thinner Wire – If you are working in solid gold, or have a tight budget and even sterling silver is making it tighter, then you may want to consider using 22 gauge instead of 20 gauge. Overall, I do not recommend this, as I feel it is more important to have a sturdy earwire for the long rung than to save money in the short term. If you are going for a very light and small piece that will not need to support much, if any, weight, or have a wearer who has ears that don’t like even 20 gauge, then 22 gauge may be applicable.