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Allergy to Nickel etc.

Q: Why am I allergic to some gold jewellery?

Every year we get a few customers who believe that they cannot wear gold jewellery because they get an allergic reaction to it. Some believe that they are allergic to gold. We have never yet known anybody who was allergic to pure gold.
The most common cause of allergic reactions to jewellery is nickel contained in the alloy. Nickel is, or was, frequently used in white gold alloys because it is inexpensive, hard, and has a strong whitening effect. Better quality white gold alloys use palladium, which has excellent properties but is more expensive.
An EC directive is due to come into force soon which will ban the use of nickel in jewellery, or restrict its use to very low proportions.
The next commonest cause of allergies for jewellery wearers appears to be detergent or other chemicals which lodge between the jewellery, usually rings, and the skin. Hairdressers are often affected. Rinsing well can help, but it is probably best to remove rings before using any troublesome chemicals, and use a barrier cream.
A few jewellery wearers still seem to be slightly allergic to yellow golds, nickel cannot be the cause because it is not used in yellow gold alloys. In most cases sufferers only experience problems with low gold content alloys such as nine carat, so upgrading to a better alloy such as eighteen carat usually solves all problems.
The other common components of nine carat gold alloys are copper, silver and zinc. Zinc is usually very well tolerated, it is used in many medical preparations. Silver and copper do not usually cause allergic reactions, but both will form compounds with atmospheric pollutants which may be the cause of some reported problems. When copper and silver are present in high carat alloy such as eighteen or twenty two carat, they are more resistant to attack by chemicals, because they are bound more closely with the gold content, and this will explain why high carat alloys cause fewer problems.
Strange as it may seem, but using anti-perspirants can exacerbate metal allergy problems. It has been found that the sweat of a healthy person in a sauna can contain 20 times the nickel content of blood plasma, this may help to explain why exercise can improve health. Anti-perspirants can reduce the bodies natural way of eliminating heavy metals. Healthy natural lifestyles tend to improve health, whereas unnatural practices can cause problems.
Of course some men think they are allergic to jewellery, mostly they are just allergic to buying it for their wife because they would rather put the money towards a new BMW, Jag, Ferrari, or such other toy.

You may wish to visit some of our other pages:-
Gold Alloys by Weight & Volume
Hardness & Durability of Gold Alloys
What is White Gold? the Lowest Possible Price

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