How to Shop For Jewelry When You Have a Metal Allergy

How to Shop For Jewelry When You Have a Metal Allergy

The materials used in jewelry making have changed quite a bit over the years. To make jewelry more affordable and accessible, precious metals are combined with cheaper metals and alloys. In some cases, this practice makes the jewelry sturdier, but it can also cause contact dermatitis in many people. This irritating condition often makes people avoid the jewelry counters, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Avoid nickel

Nickel and alloys containing nickel are the main culprits in metal allergies. Nickel is found in most costumes and less expensive jewelry as it has a high polish and is very durable. It is also easy and cheap to produce. So, when buying jewelry, ask questions to find out if there is nickel in the jewelry. With earring wires and backings, make sure it says “surgical stainless steel” somewhere with the jewelry.

And avoid copper

Copper is another allergen found in some metal alloys that often causes contact dermatitis. Especially when buying sterling silver, look for Argentium Sterling Silver, which is a hypoallergenic alternative to copper. Most sterling is 92.5% silver and the rest is metal alloys. Don’t hesitate to ask if you are not sure that copper alloy is not in your silver.

Buy gold that is higher than 18 karats

For people with metal allergies, it’s important to buy gold that is higher than 18 karats, as most metalurgic allergies disappear after 18k. Stay away from colored gold, which can contain copper and other metal alloys. If you are looking for white gold, a less expensive and hypoallergenic substitute is Palladium which resembles platinum in its color and shine. Its alloys often replace nickel and rhodium in white gold.


Platinum is a naturally hypoallergenic metal that is prized for its silvery-white sheen. It contains less than 10% alloy metals and as such, is less likely to provoke a reaction.

Many people have contact dermatitis, and the jewelry industry has been working to address the problem for years. So, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your contact dermatitis, contact Frank Pollak & Sons today.

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