Jewellery and allergies

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Jewellery & Allergies

When your unfortunately allergic…

If you, like many of us, have unfortunate allergies, and find it complicated to buy the right jewellery that will not make you itch, than we are hear to help.

Many of us have allergies to different types of metal, so we have listed the most common below, to help you select the perfect jewellery for you.

When looking for jewellery, you need to look for jewellery that is hypoallergenic. This means that it is made in a way that reduces or minimises allergic reactions.

Hypoallergenic: designed to reduce or minimize the possibility of an allergic response, as by containing relatively few or no potentially irritating substances.
— Dictionary.com

The most Common Allergy: Nickel

Nickel is often found in jewellery that is plated with gold or silver. Most often it will be found in jewellery of lower quality. However, as many metal types are alloys - mixtures of metal - traces of nickel can be found in a lot of jewellery.

Most common symptoms of allergies towards nickel is red and itchy skin, while wearing jewellery.

Allergies and metal alloys

Pure metal, such as 24 carat gold or fine silver, is often alloyed with other metals to strengthen the materials. Alloyed, simply means that they are mixed together and, therefore, not only gold or only silver. Almost all jewellery is made in this way, because silver and gold in its pure form is a very soft metal and, thus, not very durable.

Metals to avoid: May contain Nickel

Metal can me made in very different ways, but usually the following metals contain some form of nickel:

  • Plated jewellery: although the top layer may be sterling silver or 18 karat gold, the middle part is not. This means that eventually the top layer will wear off.

  • White gold: White gold is usually mixed with nickel. It is than plated with a protective layer called rhodium. White gold will, therefore, not cause any allergic reactions if the rhodium layer is maintained.

  • Gold with lower carats: Gold below 18 carats may be alloyed with nickel.

Metal with no Nickel

To avoid Nickel - and the annoying itching - we recommend going for the following metals and alloyed metal, as most experts state that they very rarely cause allergic reactions. These metal alloys are considered to be hypoallergenic.

Nickel free metal and alloyed metal:  

  • 24 carat gold / pure gold

  • Fine silver / pure silver

  • Sterling silver: alloyed with copper

  • Platinum

  • Titanium

  • Stainless steel

  • Copper (may cause miscolourings but does not contain Nickel)

  • 18 carat yellow gold: usually alloyed with copper and silver

  • Aluminium (currently, not used much in jewellery, but some researches say it may be used more for jewellery in the future).

All the above metals, apart from 18 carat gold, are pure metals, and, therefore, do not usually cause allergic reactions. Most allergies occur because a lot of jewellery is mixed with other metals, such as nickel.

We hope this helps you select the perfect jewellery. Amongst our current collection we recommend the Twin Snowdrop bracelet in Sterling Silver (925s). In the future we are also planning to include bracelets with 18 carat gold. If you want to read more about the benefits and drawbacks of different types of metal read our post “What our jewellery is made of”.