Metal allergies are fairly common. I recently stumbled upon a blog post by a young woman describing a newly developed allergy to her favorite David Yurman silver ring.

Rings with openings against the skin that can catch moisture and dirt, like this David Yurman ring, need regular cleaning when worn often. Lack of cleaning can cause the skin to be irritated when the ring is worn.

She claims to have worn the ring almost every day for two years. Suddenly she began developing a rash from the ring. After not wearing it for a few days, the rash went away. Feeling that the rash may have been a fluke, she put the ring back on. The rash returned. She assumed that she must be allergic to the nickel coating on the ring.

There are a few things that need to be addressed concerning her allergic reaction. First things first: A piece of jewelry worn constantly for two years needs to be cleaned. This is especially true if the piece has a hollow area where dirt and moisture can build up. Rings and stud style earrings are the most common offenders in this regard.

When a piece hasn’t been cleaned for a while, its wearer can actually begin to react to all the dirt and moisture resulting from lots of wear with no cleaning. My guess is that this is what happened to the wearer of the David Yurman ring.

Secondly, most silver jewelry (David Yurman’s included), has no plating at all or is rhodium plated which is hypoallergenic. Nickel plating is not commonly used on fine jewelry.

 

So what should you do if you are allergic to your jewelry? Follow these steps, of course!

1: Take the item(s) to your jeweler and have it cleaned in their ultrasonic. It shouldn’t cost you anything to have the item cleaned and your jewelry will look great when its done!

2:  While at the jewelers, ask them to check the jewelry for any sharp or damaged areas that might be scraping your skin. Also have them make sure there are no stones sticking through the metal that might cause irritation.

3: If the item is a ring, is it too small? A ring that is tight on the finger can cause a lot of irritation. Make sure to have it sized to fit you properly.

4: If your earrings always seem to be bothering you, make sure to keep them super clean. After a proper cleaning at the jewelers, use a q-tip and some rubbing alcohol to clean the posts regularly. Also try applying a tiny dab of triple-antibiotic ointment on the posts before putting them on.

5: You may actually be allergic to your jewelry! Don’t fret though – our friend rhodium is here to help!!!

 

Rhodium is a bright white, hypoallergenic metal that can be adhered to the surface of gold, silver, platinum or palladium. If you are allergic to a silver or white gold, you can have the entire piece rhodium plated. This will provide an ultra thin layer of protection between your skin and the metal you’re allergic to.

If the piece is yellow gold or two toned (both a white and yellow colored metal) you can opt to rhodium the entire piece or just specific

The top ring has a coat of rhodium, the bottom ring does not. Rhodium not only helps protect against allergic reactions, but looks beautiful too!

areas of the piece. For example, if you are having problems with a yellow gold ring but don’t want the entire piece colored white, a jeweler can rhodium only the inside of the ring where your finger makes contact with the metal.

If your earrings are giving you trouble, the posts and the backs of the earrings can be rhodiumed so your ear is not touching the metal you are allergic to.

Hopefully following all these steps will allow you to wear your jewelry without a problem.  However, if the problems persists, make sure to ask your jeweler for additional advice!

Cheers,

Jess the Jeweler

 

Read more about rhodium: The Magical Rhodium Tour: “You want to do what to my Ring?!”