5 Facts About Nickel-Free Earrings

Posted by Blomdahl USA on Apr 19th 2019

Do you or your child have problems wearing pierced earrings? Do they cause a rash or other irritation? We’re not talking about an infection from a new piercing. Instead, this is for earring wearers who have healed piercing holes but suffer from a condition called contact dermatitis from their jewelry.

What happens is when you put your earrings in, you’ll start to feel itchy, and the ears become red and inflamed. It’s happening a lot, and the culprit is usually from a metal called nickel. It’s a durable metal used in almost all jewelry as a base metal to add durability and strength, especially to soft gold.

It’s time to switch to nickel-free jewelry so that you can look beautiful without the worry.

What is Nickel?

Nickel is a hard yet supple, silvery-white shiny metal that has a slight golden color. Nickel got its name from a medieval German mythological creature called “Nickel.” German miners confused the red nickel ore with copper ore, and when they could not extract the copper, they blamed it on the bad spirit “Nickel,” and the name stuck.

Today, we find nickel in most common metals such as stainless steel and most jewelry, both costume and high-end. Unfortunately, approximately 17% of people have an allergy to nickel. Traditional earrings, bracelets, and necklaces can cause itchy, red skin. There are two ways to avoid it, either by not wearing jewelry (not an option) or wearing nickel-free jewelry.

If you are new to the nickel-free earrings trend, here are five facts to get you up to speed.

1.Nickel-Free and Hypoallergenic Are Not the Same

If you see "hypoallergenic” on a jewelry label, it claims that it causes fewer allergic reactions than other ones. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is allergy-proof or free from nickel. For example, some surgical-grade stainless steel does contain small amounts of nickel, but it's low enough to be called hypoallergenic for most people.

2.Metal Jewelry Options Without Nickel

To avoid nickel alloys entirely, look for the following jewelry metal options. They are considered nickel free and meet the EU Nickel Directive which limits the amount of nickel exposure from wearing earrings and other jewelry.

  • Sterling silver stamped .925 means it’s 92.5% pure silver alloyed with other metals, usually copper. They don’t use nickel in it.
  • Niobium is a metal you see that reflects a rainbow of colors when anodized. It is hard like titanium but malleable enough to make wire and jewelry.
  • Pure medical-grade titanium is an element and contains no other metals. It is highly resistant to corrosion. It is shiny, and dark gray or silver in appearance.
  • Pure gold contains no nickel. However, it is too soft to use in jewelry which is why they alloy other metals with it to make it stronger. 14k yellow gold is usually 58% gold, 25% silver, and 17% copper. If you have a nickel allergy, avoid white gold because it contains nickel for the color and strength.

3.Nickel-Free Doesn’t Always Mean Metal

When we think of nickel-free earrings, we think of other metal alternatives. However, there is one nickel-free option that is right for everyone. It is medical-grade plastic.

Initially made for sutures in surgery, medical plastic does not harbor bacteria, is light-weight, strong and very comfortable to wear all day and all night long.

4.All Nickel-Free Earrings Are Not Equal

People opt for surgical stainless steel such as alloys 316, 316L, 304, 317, etc. Unfortunately, these alloys all contain nickel, so chose earrings like titanium or medical grade plastic instead.

For example, our medical-grade titanium earrings protect your skin because there is no nickel.

5.Covering Nickel is Not a Solution

You may read that by adding “clear nail polish on jewelry may help,” but don’t believe it. It’s a temporary solution at best and will end up wearing off while you wear your jewelry, causing irritation at the worst time.

If you suffer from an allergy to nickel there is only one solution, buy nickel-free earrings.

Everyone Can Wear Nickel-Free Earrings

Blomdahl USA has exclusive jewelry designers who create pretty earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that work with any outfit or occasion.

Many of our pieces have sparkling Swarovski Crystals to enhance any look. Moreover, you can feel confident when giving nickel-free earrings as a gift. They are comfortable, stylish and will last a lifetime.