Before you rush off to buy an attractive antique necklace for your other half, make sure she isn’t allergic to the metal you choose. Jewellery allergies are actually pretty common, and most of them are caused by the element nickel. Nickel is commonly used in the manufacture of precious metal alloys. In cheaper items of jewellery, it is often the base metal.
So if you or someone you would like to buy an attractive antique necklace for suffers from a metal allergy, finding a piece of jewellery that doesn’t irritate the skin can be challenging.
What Exactly Are Metal Allergies?
Those who experience metal allergies will have contact dermatitis as their skin comes into contact with the jewellery.
Common Jewellery Allergies
Nickel is the main metal people tend to be allergic to. Nickel dissolves in water to form salts.When you sweat or wash, the salts sink into the skin causing a painful, itchy reaction. Cobalt and copper used in jewellery can also cause allergies.
Therefore,while many people might think they’re allergic to silver and gold, they’re actually more likely to be allergic to the alloys combined in the silver or gold to make the items less expensive. Lower karat gold and silver pieces are often mixed with copper and nickel which are allergens.
Metal Allergy Symptoms
The main symptom experienced is contact dermatitis. Typically, a reaction will occur within 24 hours of wearing the item and will disappear once the item is removed. The rashes usually appear around the area of the skin that the jewellery came into contact with, but it can spread to other areas of the body. The allergic reactions can be mild to severe and can indeed increase the wearers’ vulnerabilities to infections.
Symptoms will include red, swollen skin that is itchy. In more extreme cases, the skin will become cracked and dry.In some cases, blisters may form.
Jewellery Materials That Are Hypoallergenic
Before you buy an attractive antique necklace, consider today’s modern technology and the creation of several numerous hypoallergenic materials. Some of these give off a shiny look similar to precious metals and others feature vibrant colours and unique designs.
Varieties of Hypoallergenic Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery is perfect for formal occasions and memorable gifts. Here are some types of hypoallergenic fine materials that can create elegant pieces.
14-karat gold. When looking for gold jewellery, look for pieces higher than 14 karats. Items that are lower than that typically contain nickel and other allergy alloys. Avoid coloured gold like rose gold, which very often has copper in it.
Palladium. If you’re looking for a white gold item, choose palladium pieces. It’s a silvery-white metal that looks like it’s platinum but far more affordable.
Platinum. Platinum is an attractive silvery-white colour. It’s a shiny metal that is naturally hypoallergenic and usually made up of not more than 10% of alloys.
ArgentiumSterling silver contains 92.5% silver along with 7.5% alloy. It’s a hypoallergenic alternative for copper but still looks like standard sterling silver. Argentium is also tarnish resistant.
Men’s Jewellery that is Hypoallergenic
Metal allergies may be less common in men, but there is still a small percentage that suffers from contact dermatitis. Apart from the metals listed above, men can also choose from:
Titanium. This highly durable metal. A lot of men’s rings have titanium in them. This metal is highly resistant to corrosion, even when exposed to sweat or chlorine.
Ceramic. A synthetic material, ceramic is usually used in rings and watches. While there’s no metal, the material is still durable while also being lightweight and chip and fade resistant.
Tungsten. This metal is typically used as an alloy in gold jewellery. It is highly resistant to scratches.
Ear piercings are highly susceptible to chemical reactions in certain metals, so many people prefer to buy hypoallergenic earrings. Experienced jewellers recommend purchasing surgical-grade stainless steel earrings. Look for the words “nickel-free” and “surgical” when shopping for earrings that won’t cause allergic reactions.
Fashion Jewellery That Won’t Cause Allergies
People often think that cheaper materials in funky fashion jewellery can cause allergies. But in fact, there are a number of trendy designs and styles that are hypoallergenic. Rubber and plastic bracelets, for example, are pretty accessories as are leather necklaces that won’t cause skin reactions.
Handmade Jewellery that is Hypoallergenic
Many crafters sometimes find it hard to find materials for customers who are prone to metal allergies. Metal beads and even earring hooks contain fair amounts of nickel and copper, but there are a few alternatives that can be used to make pretty pieces. Crafters can look for loose beads made of clay, plastic, glass, and crystal. Some customers also like crocheted and knitted jewellery; macramé can produce attractive accessories.
People who suffer from mild allergic reactions can often manage to wear jewellery with lacquer coatings. The coating acts as a protective layer between the skin and the actual material of the jewellery. Special lacquers can be easy to apply to jewellery and add an attractive shine to any piece.
Metal allergies don’t have to keep people from wearing lovely, fashionable jewellery or even from wanting to buy an attractive antique necklace. There are a great variety of hypoallergenic choices that look wonderful and offer various other benefits to the wearer.
Before purchasing a piece of jewellery, check the materials of the pieces carefully and if there’s any doubt, use a metal testing kit.
Always keep your pieces of jewellery clean to avoid any risk of infection when an allergic reaction does occur.
Hypoallergenic jewellery can make for the perfect gift if you don’t know whether the recipient suffers from contact dermatitis or not. Try experimenting with different types of hypoallergenic metals to find a style that will meet your unique preferences and tastes.