Monday, July 12, 2010

Don’t be Rash - Alternates for the Allergic

Some folks feel that their choices in jewelry are severely limited by having contact allergies – presumably caused by the metals used in jewelry. You may have acquired a handful of items that you always wear, and shy away from anything new for fear of a reaction.

But, depending on the actual cause of the allergy – there are a whole bunch of exciting choices in hypo-allergenic jewelry – and if the mass market isn’t catering to both your tastes and your allergies – you can always make your own!

If you google Niobium and allergy – you will find a lot of references to body piercing jewelry and niobium as being non-allergenic. Not just unlikely to react – but no one has experienced it reacting. And – it comes in colours. We have it as wire, so you can make ear wires, or wire up a pendant, or make jumprings for chainmaille.

Also very good for not creating a reaction – titanium is also extensively used in body piercing jewelry.

Steel – Stainless and Surgical
Stainless steel works well for many to beat the rash, and surgical steel is a type of stainless steel – a more refined alloy, that is used in implants, such as hip joints – where an allergic reaction would be very nasty indeed.

Metal Clay/Pure Silver
Metal Clays such as Art Clay Silver and Precious Metal Clay are 99.9 % pure silver. As such – with additional metals present, they are less likely to cause a reaction.

Nickel is by far the most common metal that causes skin irritation, and while pure nickel is seldom used – it may be present mixed with other metals in an alloy – so going for the pure stuff sometimes eliminates the rash and reaction.

And of course, gemstones and glass are seldom an issue – so good quality findings, such as clasps and earwires may solve your problem. Avoid the discount store junk.

On the other hand – if you have been maintaining that you are allergic to everything except gold and/or platinum and diamonds for the sole purpose of ensuring that your husband buys you expensive gifts – well – that’s another story.


Carol Tannahill said...

I love the look of the new copper and brass findings but worry about contact dermatitis, not to mention green skin. Is there a product available to treat them to reduce one or both problems?

dragonjools said...

The new copper and brass findings have a permanent finish which prevents them from tarnishing or turning you green. A huge improvement from the "bad old days!"

The raw brass - like the cuffs - can change the colour of your skin. In that case, some kind of barrier is advisable - such as a layer of varnish or acrylic coating.

Nail polish will work in a pinch - but I don't find it lasts too long. There are acrylic top coats available - I'm trying to remember the name of the one I used to use. It will come to me.