Silver and Gold are not necessarily nickel-free, in 9 carat gold there isn't actually that much gold! The gold in jewelry is alloyed with other metals - and it is crucial to find out what those other metals are. Look for "guaranteed 100% nickel-free". Find a supplier/retailer who caters to and understands this need. Many don't! Addition: Palladium and Platinum jewelry are nickel free. 950 Platinum is 95% pure Platinum and 5% of either Iridium or Ruthenium (all part of the Platinum family). Palladium is also part of the Platinum family, but much lighter and less expensive than Platinum. Only a small handful of jewelry designers, like myself, create jewelry using Palladium mixed with 24K Gold to yield a 18K Palladium combination.
Hi, This is my knowledge since I work in a fashion jewelry company. The state of California has lead and nickel requirements for jewelry in order for the jewelry to be considered safe. Nickel is not a problem since most jewelry factories in China are nickel-free . However, California considers jewelry that has less than 600 ppm (parts per million) for lead safe (this is for adult jewelry, for children jewelry it is a lot lower). If an earring is considered lead/nickel compliant, that means that the earring has some lead/nickel but lower than the threshold. Lead/nickel free means that they have none. However, I know that that it is VERY difficult to make completely lead free jewelry if it has metal plating. Many companies put lead free even though they should actually be writing lead compliant. Just my 2 cents.
You can coat the backs of the jewelry with clear nail polish, that does help somewhat, you still need to limit the time that you wear the jewelry though... Find out what you are allergic to, is it the gold or the nickel, sometimes if its gold you can get 10 K gold instead of higher values and that helps... If its the nickel then you would need to get the nickel free jewelry...
One good way to tell is to use a nickel test kit. This is practical when you want to test an earring which you've already purchased. If you are purchasing a new earring, look for "guaranteed nickel-free" or "hypoallergenic" or "100% nickel-free". Jewelry marked with one of these will have no nickel or very little nickel and are less likely to irritate.
Some people might be allergic to fake jewelry. Many pieces of jewelry contain the component called nickel which is one of the most common causes of jewelry allergies. The itchy rash generally appears in the areas where jewelry is worn. As a nickel alloy sits against the skin, the natural sweat and oils from the skin oxidize the metal. As a result of the oxidation, a thin layer of nickel salts form on top of the jewelry. Those nickel salts irritate the skin and cause the allergic dermatitis that are characteristic of a metal allergy.
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