Hypoallergenic Vs. Sterling Silver Earrings

Updated July 19, 2017

Have you wondered about the difference between hypoallergenic jewellery and sterling silver jewellery? If you've experienced an allergic reaction to jewellery, the distinction is important.

Hypoallergenic Jewelry

Hypoallergenic jewellery is made for people who experience allergic reactions to normal jewellery. Most people who experience such reactions are allergic to nickel. Hypoallergenic jewellery is made out of pure metals such as stainless steel, which does not contain nickel. Silver and gold, by contrast, can contain varying degrees of nickel. People who are allergic to nickel can still wear these metals, however, if they purchase high-quality (often referred to as "fine") silver or gold, which is 99.9 per cent silver or 99.9 per cent gold.

Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver jewellery is a jewellery alloy of 92.5 per cent silver and 7.5 per cent other metals. The other metal in sterling silver is generally copper, but it can also be germanium, zinc or platinum. Traces of nickel can also be found in sterling silver jewellery and can cause an allergic reaction in people with intense jewellery allergies. However, most people who are allergic to nickel can wear sterling silver jewellery.

Nickel Allergies

Roughly 15 per cent of the population is allergic to nickel. Symptoms include skin rash, redness, swelling, itching and burning at the site of contact. If you experience any of these symptoms while wearing jewellery that is not stainless steel, 99.9 per cent silver or 99.9 per cent gold, you may have a nickel allergy.

Finding Hypoallergenic Jewelry

All jewellery vendors should be able to tell you what their jewellery is made of. If you find a vendor who sells stainless steel jewellery, you have found hypoallergenic jewellery.

Tips for Those Sensitive Skin

Ears and wrists are the most common trouble areas for people who have jewellery allergies. While you might be able to wear a necklace that contains nickel in it, your ears might become irritated if you wear a matching pair of earrings. For this reason, it is wise to buy only jewellery that is sterling silver, gold, or stainless steel with gold plate.

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