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Best hypoallergenic metals for jewellery

If you've ever experienced discomfort, such as itching or rashes, from wearing jewellery, the issue often isn't the metal itself but the impurities it contains. While many people immediately think of gold or platinum when it comes to hypoallergenic options, there are actually a variety of metals that can be considered skin-friendly.

The ultimate solution to this issue is hypoallergenic jewellery, which can be crafted from a range of metals, including but not limited to 24-karat gold and platinum. Our ethically sourced jewellery primarily focuses on these two metals, but there's much more to explore and understand about hypoallergenic options.

We want to share the reasons why.


What causes metal allergies?

Before diving into the world of hypoallergenic jewellery, it's helpful to understand the root cause of metal allergies. The primary culprit is often nickel, a metal commonly used in various alloys. When your skin comes into contact with nickel, it can trigger allergic reactions ranging from mild itching to severe rashes.

Nickel is so pervasive that even gold and platinum jewellery can sometimes contain it, especially when they are not 24 karat. This is why even seemingly high-quality pieces can sometimes cause discomfort.

While nickel is often the main offender, it's not the only one. Other metals and impurities can also trigger allergic reactions. If you're interested in delving deeper into the specifics of gold contact allergies, we recommend reading more about gold sodium thiosulfate and its role in gold allergies.

By understanding the common causes of metal allergies, you'll be better equipped to make informed choices when selecting your next piece of jewellery.

So, is hypoallergenic the same as nickel-free?

It's a common misconception that "hypoallergenic" and "nickel-free" are interchangeable terms when it comes to jewellery, but they're not. While nickel-free jewellery is devoid of nickel, making it less likely to cause an allergic reaction for those sensitive to this particular metal, "hypoallergenic" is a broader term.

Hypoallergenic jewellery is designed to be less likely to cause allergic reactions, but it may still contain other metals or materials that some individuals are sensitive to. So, if you have specific metal sensitivities, it's always worth double-checking the composition of your hypoallergenic jewellery.

Which metals are hypoallergenic?

When it comes to hypoallergenic jewellery, not all metals are created equal. The term "hypoallergenic" itself can be a bit misleading, as its definition can vary depending on the manufacturer. So, double-check the quality and materials of the jewellery you're considering.

Pure gold and platinum stand out as hypoallergenic metals due to their low reactivity. These precious metals are less likely to react with other elements, making them ideal for long-term wear without causing skin irritation. Specifically, 24-karat gold and platinum contain no nickel or other common allergens, virtually eliminating the risk of allergic reactions.

However, it's sensible to be cautious with metals like white gold or even 18k gold, which often contain nickel. The presence of nickel and other impurities increases the likelihood of an allergic reaction over time. So, while these metals may offer a brilliant shine initially, that lustre often fades as low-quality plating wears off.

What are the best hypoallergenic metals for jewellery? 

Pure platinum

Platinum is often hailed as the apex of hypoallergenic jewellery, and for good reason. Its low reactivity means it's less likely to cause skin irritations or allergic reactions, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin. But the benefits of platinum jewellery don't stop at being hypoallergenic. This precious metal is incredibly durable, resisting scratches and tarnish better than most other metals. Its density and weight give it a luxurious feel that many find appealing.

Moreover, platinum holds its value well, making it not just a piece of jewellery but also a sound investment. Its rarity and enduring quality mean that platinum pieces often appreciate over time, offering both aesthetic and financial rewards. Take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of platinum to learn more. 

Pure 24-karat gold

When it comes to gold, 24-karat jewellery is the purest form you can get, and it's this purity that makes it hypoallergenic. Unlike lower karat golds, which may contain allergenic metals like nickel, 24k gold is free of such impurities, making it ideal for sensitive skin.

Beyond its hypoallergenic properties, 24k gold offers a timeless appearance that has captivated humans for centuries. Its rich, warm tones are universally flattering and versatile, suitable for both modern and traditional styles.

In terms of investment, 24k gold holds its value exceptionally well. Its purity and timeless appeal make it a sought-after asset that can appreciate over time. Whether you're looking for a piece to wear daily or something for special occasions, 24k gold offers both beauty and investment potential. Learn more about the benefits of gold jewellery and why 24k gold makes excellent jewellery.

What about other types of gold, like 14k and 18k?

While 24k gold is the gold standard for hypoallergenic jewellery, what about its lesser karat cousins like 14k and 18k gold? These types of gold are not pure; they are alloyed with other metals, including nickel, to enhance their durability and change their colour. Unfortunately, it's these very impurities that can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations for some people.

If you have sensitive skin or known metal allergies, you might experience discomfort when wearing 14k or 18k gold. The nickel content in these alloys is often the culprit behind the itchiness, redness, or even more severe allergic reactions. Therefore, if you're concerned about potential skin reactions, it's important to know the composition of your gold jewellery.

It's worth noting that the lower the karat, the higher the likelihood of impurities, and consequently, the greater the risk of an allergic reaction. So, if you're in the market for new jewellery and have sensitive skin, it's always a good idea to double-check the materials and opt for higher karat or pure metals when possible.

For a detailed comparison of different types of gold, you can read more in our gold comparison guide.

Is sterling silver safe for nickel allergies?

Sterling silver is often viewed as a safer choice for those with nickel allergies. However, it's not pure silver; it's an alloy usually containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals like copper. While it can be nickel-free, these other metals may still cause allergic reactions. Copper, for instance, can lead to itchiness or redness for those sensitive to it.

If you have metal allergies or sensitive skin, consult with a jeweller about the sterling silver's composition before making a purchase. So, while sterling silver is generally a better option than nickel-based metals, it's not entirely risk-free.

Investing in quality hypoallergenic jewellery

Quality matters in hypoallergenic jewellery. By choosing high-quality, hypoallergenic gold and platinum pieces, you're not only safeguarding against skin irritation but also investing in timeless style and enduring value. Our ethically sourced collection is crafted exclusively from pure 24-karat gold and platinum, ensuring both hypoallergenic properties and luxurious appeal.

Our range includes hypoallergenic options like pure gold earrings and pure platinum necklaces, each crafted to meet the highest standards of purity and quality. These aren't just beautiful pieces to wear; they're also smart investments that appreciate over time.

Elevate your style and protect your skin by investing in quality hypoallergenic jewellery.