White gold earrings are versatile and stylish, and you can wear them with pretty much anything in your closet.
The disadvantage of these beautiful earrings is that while you will love them from day one, your ears may be irritated after you’ve had them for some weeks or months because of allergies.
Why are you allergic to white gold earrings?
White gold allergies come about because white gold is a metal (gold) alloy containing nickel.
If you experience some sort of allergic reaction to the white gold jewelry and have a rash or redness on your ears after wearing the white gold earrings, it means that you are allergic to a specific metal component in the gold rather than the gold. Allergies to gold, specifically, are rare; but the reaction would be because of a reaction to nickel.
White gold allergies result from the metal alloys with nickel. While gold jewelry is regarded as the very best in the game, you cannot have jewelry made of pure gold because pure gold is too soft, and it cannot be used to make jewelry. For hardening and extra strength, the pure gold is made into an alloy using other metals like nickel and copper. Nickel is the metal that is often used to create the metal alloy. Unfortunately, the properties that make nickel the perfect metal to add to gold also result in allergies that now make you hate the white gold earrings.
But not all white gold jewelry will cause an adverse reaction when worn. Essentially, the metals with a lower level of gold purity, in other words, the lower karat pieces of jewelry, tend to cause the most severe reactions than the higher karat white gold pieces of jewelry. The higher karat gold pieces contain less nickel, hence a reduced risk of skin allergies (contact dermatitis). The lower karat white gold pieces will have less gold and more of the metal alloys, hence more nickel and an even higher risk of adverse reactions.
That said, there is no fast or hard rule when it comes to choosing specific types of jewelry or knowing that the jewelry selected will cause allergies. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if your skin gets irritated after wearing the earrings.
Allergic to white gold earrings – Is it Normal?
Yes, having an allergic reaction to white gold earrings is normal (but only after the rhodium plating layer wears off).
Gold alloys, as mentioned above, contain nickel, which is often used in gold jewelry to harden the gold. The low purity gold jewelry has more alloys, which means that the jewelry will easily cause reactions, unlike the higher karat gold jewelry.
Notably, white gold jewelry is slightly yellow gold jewelry with rhodium plating. While the rhodium plating is allergy-free and keeps off allergies, the layer of rhodium wears out after some months, exposing the gold base layer, and with it, the skin gets in contact with the nickel in the gold, hence allergies.
1.Opt for Hypoallergenic Jewelry Metals
If you struggle with metal allergies, the safest route for you would be to look for jewelry made of the best hypoallergenic materials. The best hypoallergenic materials are hypoallergenic and nickel-free, which means that the jewelry is free of allergens. Such jewelry options include surgical stainless steel, sterling silver, titanium, and platinum. You could also opt for the high karat gold jewelry made with no nickel. Also, you should consult the jeweler when buying the jewelry to ensure that the jewelry is nickel-free.
2.Invest in higher-karat white gold jewelry
The best thing to do when looking for white gold earrings that will not cause allergies is to opt for the higher karat white gold jewelry. Although this kind of jewelry will cost more, the higher karat white gold jewelry contains trace amounts or no nickel, which means no allergic reaction, rashes, or irritation in any other manner.
Essentially, the 10k to 14k white gold jewelry will have more of the metal alloys, meaning more nickel, hence a higher risk of allergies.
However, the 18k white gold jewelry would be a great option for you because they contain 75% gold and 25% metal alloys. Out of the 25% alloy, 8% is made of nickel. Generally, this is a trace amount, which means a lower risk of allergies.
The higher percentage of pure gold in the 18k gold will also increase the value of the jewelry. Therefore, persons struggling with nickel allergies may be better off with the 18g white gold jewelry – just keep in mind that you could still have a rash if you wear the 18k white gold pieces because of the 8% nickel in the white gold jewelry.
3.Get the white gold piece re-plated.
The other thing you could do to protect yourself from rashes and irritation is to take the piece of jewelry back to the jeweler for replating.
The rhodium plating allows for the addition of a strong layer of protection for the white gold jewelry. Rhodium plating will add a layer of protection, preventing allergies. Just make sure that the rhodium plating is free of nickel.
White gold allergies are normal because of the presence of nickel in the earrings.
But you could lower the risk of allergies by replating the piece, buying higher karat white gold jewelry, or investing in alternatives like platinum or titanium earrings.