Is sterling silver hypoallergenic? or Is 925 sterling silver hypoallergenic is a question that might come to your mind when you want by 925 sterling silver jewelry. In the world of metals, silver is one of the metals regarded as precious. As a result, this metal is also hypoallergenic.
Here I write a post on 10 hypoallergenic metals for the wedding rings. If you guys want to know more. Please read
Although pure silver will not cause reactions or allergies, the biggest catch when it comes to silver is that the pure form of the metal is too soft for use in jewelry.
Therefore, the only way that silver and other soft metals become jewelry is if they are alloyed. In other words, let no one lie to you that they are selling you a pure silver necklace, ring, bracelet, or earrings, because it’s non-existent.
What about sterling silver?
Sterling silver is often advertised as the form of pure silver which is mixed with other metals, creating a harder metal.
But is silver or sterling silver hypoallergenic?
The simple answer is, maybe.
Whether a piece of sterling silver is hypoallergenic or not will largely depend on the metals infused into the pure silver to harden it.
Over the years, I’ve worn several pieces of silver jewelry, and the interesting bit is that it’s difficult to find two identical pieces of silver, unless you keep going back to one jeweler.
Some pieces will cause bad reactions, while others will not cause an itch and can be used on the most sensitive ears. Being one of the guys with extreme sensitivities, I can attest to the fact that not all jewelry pieces dubbed hypoallergenic is actually hypoallergenic.
Therefore, the long and short of it is that sterling silver may or may not be hypoallergenic.
About Sterling Silver
In its pure form, copper is hypoallergenic with the only problem with copper being its reactivity and the fact that it’s quite susceptible to tarnishing – copper reacts with oxygen to form copper oxide which is the cause of the tarnishing. When mixed with other metals, however, copper loses its hypoallergenic properties.
Besides copper, the other silver alloys include germanium, silicon, zinc, nickel, and platinum. Note that when nickel is used as an alloy of silver, you will most certainly get an allergic reaction because nickel is highly hypoallergenic. So, if you are allergic to a piece of silver jewelry, first check if it has nickel.
You could also tell that a piece of jewelry has nickel if it causes redness, itchiness, swelling, or rashes when you wear the jewelry. It’s also worth mentioning that while the nickel added to sterling silver is negligible, you will have a reaction if you are highly sensitive to nickel.
So, while Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, we cannot determine with absolute certainty that the sterling silver jewelry purchased is actually hypoallergenic.
Again, depending on your skin’s or body’s sensitivity, 925 sterling silver might or might not be hypoallergic.
For instance, I’m quite allergic, and I cannot wear most sterling silver jewelry. My sister and best friends, on the other hand, have some sensitivities, yet they seem to tolerate sterling silver quite well.
Does this mean that all the sterling silver jewelry around us is not hypoallergenic? Well, no. The sterling silver jewelry pieces made by reputable jewelers tend to be more on the hypoallergenic side since the silver used is mixed with safer and less reactive or non-reactive metals to make alloys.
The biggest cause of Allergies in Sterling Silver Jewelry
The hypoallergenic sterling silver jewelry is often made by dubious jewelers and manufacturers who will mix the silver with cheap metals such as nickel. (we do not use nickel in silver)With 5-10% of the human population said to have nickel allergies, it makes sense for you to be careful about the metal components in your sterling silver jewelry.
- Silver Plating
There’s an increasing number of dubious jewelry manufacturers passing off silver-plated jewelry as genuine sterling silver jewelry. With silver plating, there’s only a thin layer of silver that coats the base metal. This silver layer is easily scratched off, exposing your skin to the base metal. Often, the base metal is copper, brass, or some other alloy. Therefore, once the silver layer goes, you are exposed to the base metal, which could easily cause a reaction.
- Silver Filling
The other reasons why your supposed sterling silver jewelry could cause an allergic reaction is if the jewelry is silver filling. In essence, the silver filling would mean that the middle layer of that jewelry piece has silver. However, this is far from the truth since silver-filled jewelry is silver-plated jewelry with a thicker layer of silver. But even with this thick layer, an allergic reaction is not prevented.
Pros and cons of Sterling silver
- It boasts a beautiful luster. The silvery shine gets worn down into more of a patina glow hence the sterling silver’s desirability to most collectors.
- It’s valuable and even more expensive than other metals like stainless steel. Sterling silver retains its value given the right care over the years.
- It’s cheaper than gold or even platinum
- Its luminous shine is hard to tolerate
- Great option of costume jewelry
- It’s malleable and can be transformed into different designs
- It tarnishes fast because its copper alloy gets oxidized when it gets in contact with water, air, or sulfur.
- The low melting point limits its versatility.
- It’s soft which means that it scratches and bends easily
Is sterling silver good for sensitive ears?
Well, it depends. As mentioned above, sterling silver loses its hypoallergenic properties to the metal alloys used to harden pure sterling silver. Sterling silver is only ideal for use on sensitive ears if you are certain that the jewelry is free of nickel.
If you are certain that the sterling silver jewelry is free of nickel, then you shouldn’t worry about the reaction of the metal on your skin.
As mentioned above, sterling silver is mostly pure silver which is hypoallergic. Therefore, if its alloy is free of nickel, you will be on your way to a good-quality sterling silver jewelry piece.
See you guys in the next post.