Solve Jewelry Allergies

By | March 9, 2018

I had an aunt that insisted that my uncle buy her only “pure gold” jewelry, due to the fact she was “allergic” to any other jewelry. My poor uncle had to discover, to his chagrin, that there really isn’t any “pure gold” jewelry, which would be too soft to use in any practical sense, and that my aunt’s allergies cropped up even when he bought the “purest” he could find.

After a doctor’s visit, my aunt discovered she was allergic to nickel, a tough elemental metal that is mixed with the gold, with some copper, zinc and silver for good measure, to stiffen the end product and make it easier to shape due to the increased tensile strength of the metal. This has been a common practice for centuries after it was discovered that even 85% pure gold was very soft and would wear out quickly. 24K (or Karat) gold is 100% pure, and would wear away in no time.

Copper is naturally occurring in the body, as is silver and zinc, but not nickel. So, it makes sense that nickel-containing jewelry is the culprit of the allergic reaction. This reaction is called Contact Dermatitis and can show up at any age. Once you have dermatitis, and your doctor has tested you to verify it is indeed a nickel allergy, you may find that your best course of action is to avoid nickel jewelry as this type of allergy often lasts decades (if not longer).

So how can you treat this allergy without losing your precious gold? Unfortunately, white gold is white due to the nickel it contains. However, you may purchase 18 Karat yellow gold (and possibly 14 Karat yellow gold) if it is nickel free. Here are some tips that may help: For gold rings, coat the inside with clear nail polish, about three coats. This should keep the metal off your skin, but will eventually wear off, and it may damage the ring itself. Coating earring posts is not recommended as it does wear off. Hence, use platinum or hypoallergenic posts.

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An easy approach would be to sell all your nickel containing accessories such as white gold or gold filled jewelry. Then, purchase items that do not contain nickel, but are just as attractive. Copper, although a very base metal to wear, can be worked into beautiful pieces. They have to be well taken care of, though, and tarnish, especially when exposed to acids in the sweat. This can often result in a green stain on the skin where the jewelry was. Often copper jewelry artisans will use a clear coat of enamel or other barrier material on areas that touch the body to avoid such a reaction.

Sterling silver can be a wonderful and beautiful replacement when it is made nickel free. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. The other metals can be any metal (including nickel). Fortunately, it is usually copper. However, to be certain, buy pieces that say “nickel free”.

Platinum, though higher priced, is made into many types of jewelry such as bracelets, rings, and pendants. Many people feel it is even more beautiful than white gold.

Titanium is a durable metal that is hypoallergenic. It is wonderful for people with allergies. Jewelry made of Titanium can last almost forever.

Try to avoid “surgical stainless steel” as they may contain nickel, but there are reports from nickel allergy sufferers that they get no reaction from it.

Do not trust “German silver” as it is nearly pure nickel mixed with other base shiny metals.

All in all, you do have great choices over white gold jewelry. If you truly desire gold jewelry, 18 Karat yellow jewelry (not electroplate, plated, or filled) won’t cause a reaction. Affordable alternatives exist that you can truly enjoy. You should have no regrets for improving your health and quality of life by making a change from white gold.

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Being allergic to earrings is painful. Find useful solutions to earring allergies – so you can enjoy wearing all types of jewelry.