Metal Allergies: Your Guide To Safe Jewelry Shopping

Metal Allergies: Your Guide To Safe Jewelry Shopping

Do you struggle to wear jewelry, as you often have an allergic reaction to it? For many, this becomes very frustrating, as it's always lovely to accessorize when you're going out (mainly if it's for a special occasion).

Thankfully, we're here today to give you some good news. There is jewelry out there that is considered 'hypoallergenic' and is safe to wear if you have sensitive skin. So let's have a look at this further.


If you have allergies, you likely look for products marked "hypoallergenic" to avoid triggering an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic means a product contains a few allergy-producing substances known as allergens. Such reactions include rashes, itchiness, and other skin irritations. 

It may take repeated or prolonged exposure to nickel items to develop a nickel allergy. In addition, treatments can reduce the symptoms of nickel allergy. Once you create a nickel allergy, however, you'll always be sensitive to the metal and need to avoid contact.

Metals are known as 'hypoallergenic'

Pure metals, such as 24K gold, sterling silver, fine silver, copper, titanium, and stainless steel, are hypoallergenic metals. This is because they either do not contain nickel or trace amounts of nickel.

Surgical-grade stainless steel may contain some nickel, but it's generally hypoallergenic for most people. Be sure that your earring backings also are made of hypoallergenic materials.

If you have a less severe reaction to metal, you might be able to get away with wearing sterling silver. However, since nickel is the most common metal allergy, avoid it. We highly recommend nickel-free jewelry. Sterling silver and 18-karat gold work well for most people.

Another metal that should be safe for you to wear if you have metal allergies is platinum. Platinum used for jewelry is 95% pure platinum and 5% iridium. Therefore, it is typically a lot less likely that platinum is the cause of allergies.

How can you tell if the jewelry is nickel-free?

If it contains it, that is likely what triggers your rash, as this common allergy affects an estimated 40 million North Americans. A nickel spot test can be easily purchased online. Put a drop of the test solution on a cotton swab and rub the metal. If the swab turns pink, the jewelry releases nickel.

What metals are best for sensitive ears

  • Titanium will not irritate even the most sensitive skin. Since titanium is inert and non-reactive to almost all chemicals, it will never corrode, tarnish, or rust.
  • Niobium is naturally nonallergenic, and its color can be changed, which makes it a perfect metal for earrings. They can be worn safely, even by people with a metal allergy, and do not have plating or coating that will eventually tarnish or wear away. Niobium is the perfect material.
  • Platinum is non-reactive and, therefore, a great option if you're looking to get your ears pierced or for earrings that will not set your allergies off. The only downside is that platinum is costly, so it's not an affordable metal for fashion jewelry.

Metals that are NOT recommended for earrings

  • Gold-plated, gold-filled, or gold overlay/vermeil jewelry is not acceptable for sensitive ear piercings. All of these involve coating a base metal with a layer of gold. If the gold surface of your earrings wears or chips off, your piercing can be exposed to the metal underneath, which may give you an allergic reaction.
  • Stainless steel is an alloy of chromium, molybdenum, and nickel. Even if it states it's 'nickel free,' the other alloyed materials could be highly reactive, or the reaction between the alloyed metals may cause issues, so that's something you may need to keep in mind.

While having an allergy to metal may limit the jewelry you wish to purchase, there are a variety of metals that jewelry is being made from that you will be able to wear.

It will be easier for you to purchase your jewelry from a reputable jeweler and always talk to them about your metal allergy so you won't have an allergic reaction to your lovely new piece of jewelry.

At Aquaria Gems our jewelry should not cause you an allergic reaction since they are made with only 925 sterling silver and 18k gold.  We bring you the some of the best products avaliable.  Come shop our store and see for yourself. 

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