Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"I Can Only Wear Gold Jewelry" - The Truth About Jewelry Allergies

"I can only wear gold jewelry, everything else breaks me out." My mother, like many people, develops contact dermatitis when her skin comes in contact with some types of jewelry. The dermatitis is a result of an allergic reaction to the nickel found in many types of jewelry. Nickel allergies are very common. More women tend to suffer from nickel allergies than men. First I looked at gold jewelry. However white gold may. White gold alloys contain nickel and other "white" metals to produce its silver coloring. Gold filled jewelry metal is created when a base metal is coated with a layer of gold. Gold filled differs from gold plated by the amount of gold applied. The layer used in gold filled jewelry is typically 50 to 100 time thicker that the layer used to coat gold plated products.
Next I looked at silver jewelry. For those who are nickel sensitive, fine silver and sterling silver are great choices for "white" metals.
Fine silver is by definition 99.9% pure silver. Typically silver jewelry is made of sterling silver. Sterling silver is by definition 92.5% pure silver. Since copper is the normal metal used, sterling silver is a great metal for nickel allergic people. Some other metals that are considered safe for people with nickel allergies are:
Copper - Copper jewelry is generally considered pure and not mixed with nickel or nickel alloys.
Platinum - Platinum jewelry contains 95% platinum and 5% of a secondary metal typically iridium.
Titanium - Titanium jewelry is both hypoallergenic and durable. It is a highly recommended metal for those who suffer from nickel allergies.
Fashion or costume jewelry typically contains base metals that include nickel.
German silver or nickel silver is a metal to stay away from where jewelry is concerned. German silver does not contain any silver. The silver refers to the silver coloration of the metal. If you do buy a piece of jewelry and are concerned that it may contain nickel, commercial test kits are available online. April Williams is the owner of Eluna Jewelry Designs, widely known for an exquisite selection of gemstone pendants, sterling silver earrings, and reproduction sea glass jewelry. 

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