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Nickel Allergies

All of the jewellery in this store is 100% nickel free.

Nickel is sometimes used in jewellery as it is quite corrosion resistant and binds well with other metals which make it good for alloying with gold and as a binding layer over a silver item which is to be plated with gold.

Nickel does react with compounds of nitrogen, the amino acids in our bodies belong to this group. If you have an allergy to nickel, your body will react to contact with this metal, usually in the form of a rash. Once you have become sensitive to nickel, smaller amounts will be enough to trigger a reaction.

As an example, you have never had a reaction to nickel. However, you have your ear pierced with a nickel plated stud and the nickel binds to the cells in your blood. If the cells change their composition sufficiently, your body will think that you have an infection and your immune system steps in to fight it. When this happens this tissues swell up and more antibodies are sent to fight it which will dissolve more nickel and things escalate.

Surgical Stainless Steel

Surgical stainless steel is an alloy containing chromium (for scratch and corrosion resistance), molybdenum (for hardness and the ability to keep a cutting edge) and nickel (for a smooth and polished finish). The nickel content in surgical stainless steel can also trigger a reaction in people with an allergy to the (nickel) metal. It is often used in jewellery for piercings and most people don't realise the potential problems for an allergy sufferer.

Sometimes your perspiration under a ring or bracelet is enough to start this vicious circle. Once you have had a reaction to nickel your tolerance will quickly fall and the next reaction will require less exposure to this metal.

Not everyone is sensitive to nickel and they will have no problems wearing jewellery with nickel either in the alloy or plated onto the item. Nickel plating on costume jewellery gives a beautiful silver surface over a cheap base metal such as brass.

Other metals are normally used in place of nickel today for alloying, zinc and palladium are common and will rarely cause an allergy in the way nickel can.

Nickel is still quite widely used in plating of costume jewellery however.


All of the jewellery in this store is 100% nickel free.