You’ve probably heard the term “hypoallergenic earrings”, but what does it really mean? In a world full of noise, it can be difficult to sift through all of the information and get a straight answer. Luckily, we’ve put together this informative article to educate you on nickel allergies and how to choose hypoallergenic earrings. Keep reading to learn more on this all too common problem.
Ok, But What is Nickel?
You’ve probably heard of nickel and at least know that’s it’s a kind of metal. What does this have to do with jewelry? Well, nickel is actually used as a base metal in a lot of jewelry, meaning the shape of the piece is formed with nickel and then plated with gold, silver, platinum, etc. This means that a small percentage of the metallurgic (that’s what kind of metals there are) content is actually nickel, and not pure gold, silver, or platinum.
Nickel is essentially a cheap filler for jewelry, dropping the price (and the quality) of certain pieces, but causing discomfort in the form of rashes or other allergic reactions for those with a nickel allergy. Somewhere between 10-20% of the population actually suffer from this allergy, making purchasing jewelry a risky business if you’re in that percentile.
Nickel has one more fatal flaw associated with it. According to the CDC, certain nickel compounds have actually been identified as carcinogens, or in layman’s terms, cancer-causing agents. That’s right; nickel and the human body simply aren’t compatible. Unfortunately for us, nickel is found in trace amounts pretty much everywhere; from our food sources, pipes, silverware, drinking water, in the air, and more.
These trace amounts don’t generally cause complications, and, in fact, most cancers caused by nickel exposure come from those exposed to nickel dust in manufacturing. We’d venture to say that despite this fact, reducing nickel exposure in all forms is probably a good idea for everyone.
Hypoallergenic earrings and other jewelry is either nickel-free or contains minor amounts of the metal, which is supposed to prevent any kind of allergic reaction. Unfortunately, the best way to truly be hypoallergenic is for the metal alloy to contain no traces of the metal whatsoever.
The best way to go about choosing hypoallergenic earrings is by following these simple tips:
- Ensure you’re purchasing from a reputable source.
- Ensure the metallurgic content is such that no nickel is present.
- The purer the precious metal, the less extra filler will be present. 24k gold is 99% pure.
- Buy a testing kit to ensure no nickel is present.
By following these four simple steps when purchasing jewelry, you can ensure you’re getting the best possible quality and price for your hypoallergenic earrings or jewelry.
Purchasing jewelry online can be intimidating, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the brand. It’s essential to your success to research the company you want to purchase from. Do they use high-quality materials? Are they highly reviewed? Do they have any complaints against them?
Checking user reviews anytime you purchase something online is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a good product. The customers who have already purchased and used the products know whether or not they’re functioning, of high-quality, and perform well. You’ll likely find reviews on whether or not the jewelry causes a reaction as well.
Buying pure gold, silver, titanium, platinum, etc, can be more expensive than their counterparts, but remember that as with anything, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the jewelry is, even if it’s listed as “gold jewelry”, the higher the nickel content will be. You’re essentially paying for a piece of nickel (or other metals) coated with gold or silver.
You should be able to ask your jeweler about the metallurgic content of a piece. If they’re not sure what it is, you can always purchase a nickel testing kit for jewelry to ensure there is no nickel present. This simple investment will help save you thousands on jewelry that is listed as hypoallergenic but may not be so.
You may simply want to spend the extra money and invest in a piece that is pure gold/silver/etc. This investment can not only ensure the piece retains more of its retail value should you wish to sell it later, but it also ensures you’re not exposing yourself to nickel. Not to mention, purer metals hold their luster much better than those infused with fillers like nickel, so you’ll be getting a better-looking piece as well. After all, the looks are what we purchase jewelry for anyway, are they not?
Without nickel or some other base metal, gold is quite soft and easy to scratch/damage. Take good care of your jewelry by having it cleaned regularly and stored in a dry, temperate environment. The better you care for your investment, the more it will be worth in the long run.
Jewelry is a luxury item. We purchase it to look better, to show off status, and to express our love for that special someone. There’s no reason to expose ourselves or those we love to harmful materials such as nickel. If that means spending a bit more money on purer metals, then it should be an easy decision. There are plenty of nickel-free/hypoallergenic alternatives available, or you can simply buy the higher-priced, purer metals for a lasting investment and more high-quality piece that you can wear over and over again without any discomfort.
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