Do you think you’re allergic to jewellery metals? Sometimes it’s just tarnish and dirt so cleaning it helps, but if not, then choose which metal from the list below and be careful where you buy it. Even lower carat gold can tarnish!
It is reported that up to 15% are sensitive to nickel – it usually shows as a red painful rash.
-Base metal with nickel in it (or silver/gold plated where worn though) not adhering to EU nickel regulations i.e. bought outside the EU or an irresponsible vendor
-Tarnish and dirt – this can be on any metal including silver and gold, so clean it!
Less common but possible:
18ct white gold – the nickel alloy type of white gold - ask which type of white gold it is, there are two types, the type with nickel in should be avoided if you are sensitive
Stainless steel (non-surgical grade) – alloy can occasionally leach nickel so not quite as hypo-allergenic as described
Pretty rare (certainly if EU produced):
Sterling and argentium silver – non-EU alloys may contain nickel
9 ct gold – often it’s tarnish causing the ‘allergy’ – non-EU alloys may contain nickel
14 ct goldfill – quite rare – if you’re OK with your gold earrings then this would be fine.
18ct and 22ct gold – rare
Vermeil – thick gold plating over sterling silver – see sterling silver
Fine silver – is 99% pure silver – no nickel, no copper
Base metal plated- EU regulated alloys may contain nickel at extremely low proportions but bound in tightly so should not leach out and cause problems
Copper – not normally contains nickel but can become tarnished quickly
Brass – normally contains copper but should not leach out – non-EU alloys may contain nickel. Can also tarnish.
Surgical grade stainless steel – these should be better than non-surgical grade, many stainless steel earrings are sold as hypo-allergenic and they have nickel in them. I tend to avoid them.
Titanium family of metals – highly inert and safe enough to be used in body parts
handmade jewellery hypoallergenic earhooks
Clean your jewellery and remove tarnish especially from earring posts and hooks. I recommend a Town Talk polishing cloth.
Buy from reputable dealers preferably in the EU and ask about it. EU regulations are the tightest for allowing only a very small amount of nickel and it has to be tightly bound so you should not be allergic.
Use clear nail vanish to coat the parts which touch the skin, although this will need repeating.
If the metal on your jewellery turns green (which is rare) this is usually copper either from bare copper jewellery or from sterling silver with copper in it which has leached out and should not have done. It is harmless but may irritate. It usually can be polished off.
Consider using the hooks extreme hypo-allergenic for earrings – and for swopping your favourite beaded earrings to these hooks – just ask!