You can’t go wrong with gold – it is trendy, versatile, and timeless. But what happens when you have an allergic reaction to your gold necklace? Should you believe that gold isn’t really the best in jewelry making and that the rest of the world lied about its awesomeness?
Well, the truth is that gold necklaces are classy and often make excellent accessories. Unfortunately, it is an imperfect material, and you may develop an allergic reaction to it.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the gold necklaces and why they may cause skin allergies.
So, let’s get started!
Why are you allergic to your gold necklace?
The reason why you are allergic to the gold necklace has to do with the fact that the gold used in the gold necklace is an alloy, an alloy containing nickel.
In its natural form, gold is too soft to be carved into jewelry, and the only way to strengthen it and to use it in jewelry is by mixing it with metal alloys. One of the metals added to gold – to harden and strengthen it, is nickel. And while the percentage of nickel added to the gold is variable, depending on the gold’s percentage purity, the presence of nickel is often the reason for the allergic reactions. Note that low purity gold is made whole with higher quantities of the metal alloy (s), which means that the 10k gold contains a lot more alloys than 18k gold.(We explain why 18K gold is good for wedding rings here)
At the same time, higher karat gold will only have traces of nickel, while the gold costume/ fashion jewelry pieces will have a high nickel content, resulting in significant irritation from nickel allergies.
Note that a nickel allergy is a sensitivity reaction to nickel. It is one of the rare allergies known to only affect about 1 in 8 people. If you are allergic to nickel, you will notice a red, itchy rash on the parts of the skin in contact with the jewelry. The symptoms and the gold reaction is uncomfortable but not painful. Read more details in this post!
Allergic to gold necklace – Is it Normal?
Yes, allergies to gold necklaces are pretty normal. Jewelry allergy is also known as contact allergy dermatitis, and it’s often the result of an allergic reaction to the nickel in gold.
As mentioned above, gold jewelry is often made of some nickel, which strengthens the gold. The nickel causes nickel allergies.
Besides the solid gold pieces of jewelry made with nickel, your gold necklace may also cause an allergic reaction if the piece is gold plated rather than a piece of actual solid gold jewelry. This often happens where nickel is used as the base metal but plated with gold. So, the moment the gold layer wears out, the base is exposed, resulting in irritation.
1.Higher Karat gold necklace
One of the things you could do to prevent your skin from flaring up is by investing in higher-karat gold necklace pieces. As mentioned above, the higher karat gold necklaces contain only trace amounts of nickel, making them easy and more tolerable on your body.
You should also avoid the gold plated pieces of jewelry because they often contain a gold layer over base metal with metal alloys that could cause skin reactions. The most common metal base is nickel, and in some cases, it may have a sterling silver base, also with nickel as the metal alloy.
That said, you should avoid while gold necklaces if you are allergic to nickel. White gold jewelry is made of yellow gold that’s mixed with other metals to make it whiter; often, there’s nickel added to the white gold, hence the higher risk of allergies.
Keep in mind that white gold jewelry may be plated with rhodium, but the rhodium layer wears down eventually, exposing the nickel base metal that comes in contact with your skin, causing the allergic reaction.
This is the other excellent solution if you struggle with gold allergies is to invest in a hypoallergenic necklace. These are the necklaces that are free of nickel or any other metals that would result in allergies.
Some of the metals that make hypoallergenic necklaces include platinum, nickel-free sterling silver, and medical-grade surgical stainless steel. Platinum is a great option if you can afford it, but if you can’t, the other alternative metals listed above could work best for you.
The other recommended option is a hypoallergenic gold necklace – this is a gold necklace that is 100% free of nickel.
The last hypoallergenic option is titanium, and this would work well for you if you are looking for something that isn’t as soft as silver. Titanium is also a low maintenance metal that is both durable and ultra-lightweight.
If your skin gets irritated from wearing a gold necklace, you probably have a gold allergy.
But that isn’t exactly a reason for you to avoid wearing gold necklaces – all you need to do is to avoid jewelry with nickel.