A nickel allergy can be very unpleasant, especially if you don’t know about it. It can prevent you from wearing certain jewelry pieces and there is always the risk of getting blindsided. You buy a gold cuff bracelet that looks gorgeous and when you get home you discover that you cannot wear it. Yes, even precious jewelry metals can contain nickel. So what can you do about your nickel allergy? Read further to find out more about this topic and how to deal with it.
A nickel allergy vs. a gold one
There are many people who believe they have a gold allergy when, in fact, they have a nickel one. Remember that it is extremely rare for somebody to be allergic to gold. However, it can happen. The skin where the jewelry piece rests becomes itchy and red. To alleviate this, you have to take off the jewelry piece and wash the skin with water and soap. In case of a nickel allergy, similar symptoms appear.
So how can you tell whether you have a gold allergy or you are allergic to the nickel in the gold alloy? Fortunately, there is a simple test – try a nickel-free solid gold jewelry piece and see if the symptoms appear. If they do, then you have a very rare gold allergy. But, most probably, they won’t which means that you actually have a nickel allergy. Continue to read further to learn why that happens and how to deal with it.
How to deal with a nickel allergy
Nickel is a strong metal with a lustrous appearance and a silvery color. Because of its durability, jewelry makers use it in gold and silver alloys. Both gold and silver are soft metals, so the nickel, as well as other metals, has the purpose to strengthen them.
And while most people are ok wearing jewelry that contains this metal, some people have a nickel allergy. Does this mean that you can never wear gold or silver jewelry? Of course not.
Nickel in gold jewelry
With gold, for example, the higher the purity of gold in the alloy, the lower the nickel concentration. This means that 24k gold, which is 100% pure gold, doesn’t contain any nickel. Obviously, 24k gold can’t exist in jewelry because it is too soft. But 22k gold exists and while it is not 100% pure gold, it is almost there (91.67%). This means that the percentage of nickel in the alloy (if any) is extremely low and unlike to cause allergic reactions.
On the other hand, low-karat jewelry pieces, such as 10k gold, will contain more nickel as they have less gold. If it turns out you have a nickel allergy, it’s best to stick with 18k or 22k gold piece. Of course, you can also try wearing 14k solid gold jewelry pieces and see if you get an allergic reaction.
When it comes to white gold, it is best to avoid it if you have a nickel allergy, regardless of its karat type. White gold is a direct mix between yellow gold and other metals that give it is silvery appearance, such as nickel.
Wearing hypoallergenic jewelry
Besides limiting your exposure to white gold and wearing high-karat solid gold jewelry pieces, you can also wear other metals that don’t contain nickel.
Platinum, for example, doesn’t cause allergies and doesn’t usually contain nickel. However, it could happen that a certain platinum jewelry piece contains an amount of nickel so it is best to ask the jeweler.
Besides platinum, you can try wearing sterling silver or even stainless steel. Both of these metals are very good for people who have a nickel allergy. Of course, if you want to play it very safe, you can also buy hypoallergenic gold jewelry which doesn’t contain any trace of nickel.
Beware of jewelry repairs & ring resizing
If your hypoallergenic gold ring needs resizing and you take it to the jewelry shop for that, you may have the surprise to discover that it’s not hypoallergenic anymore. In general, jewelers use an alloy that contains nickel to repair jewelry and resize rings.
This is why you have to ask before if there will be any nickel involved in the process. Tell your jeweler about your nickel allergy and ask them whether they can avoid using nickel. If they can’t you will find another jewelry shop to help you with the repairs. After all, you don’t want to be so cautious when buying jewelry only to throw it all out the window with a simple repair.
If you enjoyed reading this article and want to find out more about jewelry, browse through our other articles as well. You will discover interesting content that will make it easier for you to become a jewelry expert. To view our unique jewelry collections visit Ana Luisa online jewelry store.
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