Anyone with problematic or sensitive skin often looks for just one thing when it comes to jewelry – pieces that will not cause any irritation. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of jewelry companies that are now focused on the creation of actual skin-safe jewelry products, which makes the search for jewelry a tad easier.
There’s one catch, though – the fact that most of the unique colors and jewelry designs are often made out of non-traditional metals. Take bronze, for example, it is one of the most stunning metals that makes beautiful jewelry, but the bigger question is this – is it hypoallergenic? Keep reading to find out more about bronze jewelry.
But first, a look at the basics of bronze
What is the meaning of hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic refers to the term that is used to mean that the material in question is less likely to cause a kind of skin reaction. And though there is no actual medical test for this, hypoallergenic jewelry is the kind of jewelry least likely to spark a reaction.
Brief introduction of bronze
Bronze can be defined as a metal alloy made of tin and copper. But the thing that makes this metal exceptional is the fact that it is historically one of the most exceptional and widely used metals that remains a preferable choice for different applications across multiple industries. What you may not know about bronze is the fact that bronze was discovered and has been in use for years, and it was made even before 3000BC. Even so, its use in making artifacts came in later. Also, the alloying of copper and tin featured the use of very different metal proportions, and there was no real standard for creating the alloy. But the proportions of copper and tin notwithstanding, bronze carries the characteristics of the two metals, and the result is a hard metal. Bronze is harder than copper but also easily fusible, which means that it is easy to melt and also easy to cast. Bronze is also harder and more resistant to corrosion than iron, which resulted in the substitution of iron for bronze to make weapons and tools, around circa 1000BC.
The information above points to the fact that bronze is one of the oldest metals to have existed to humankind. Today, bronze is still used in artifacts, but there’s also an increasing number of bronze jewelry being made. The bronze used today is mostly made of copper with a very small proportion of tin.
Although bronze jewelry competes with gold and silver, bronze has that nice kitschy gold effects on them but sold very affordably, making it the preferable option for anyone interested in good quality and affordable, gold-like jewelry. In other words, the Bronze Age brought with it exquisite and beautiful varieties of jewelry that keep charming their way through the centuries.
Is Bronze Hypoallergenic?
Despite the overall appeal and beauty of this metal, bronze is not hypoallergenic, unfortunately. The reason for this is that bronze is a metal alloy with high copper content. And though copper is the common alloy used in metals for jewelry making, including gold, it is highly reactive and turns the skin green. This skin discoloration is from the fact that the copper reacts with oxygen to form a copper oxide, which has a green tinge.
That said, the potential of skin discoloration isn’t stopping many bronze jewelry lovers from buying jewelry made of this metal. In fact, many people still choose bronze jewelry. In addition to affordability, the high demand for bronze jewelry results from the belief that wearing copper or copper-based jewelry has medicinal benefits. So, wearing this kind of jewelry could help re-establish a copper balance in the body for persons who are copper deficient while also helping with joint pain, arthritic pain, and rheumatic pain.
If you guys want to know more about jewelry metals, please read this full guide: What Metal Jewelry is Hypoallergenic?
Why is bronze jewelry not hypoallergenic?
Copper is the reason why bronze jewelry is not hypoallergenic. The reactivity of copper means that even though the metal will not cause any irritation, it will leave the areas of your skin in contact with the jewelry tainted green. And this wouldn’t be a great look when you’re all dressed up, yet your neck, wrist, or fingers have a green discoloration.
Does bronze have nickel in it?
Bronze is made primarily of copper and tin. But this metal alloy that is comprised primarily of copper and between 12 and 12.5% tin might have other metals added to it.
The other metals that may be present in bronze include manganese, nickel, zinc, or aluminum, and in other cases, metalloids or non-metals like silicon, phosphorus, or arsenic could be present.
The variations in the metals added to copper and tin to make bronze result in different types of bronze such as aluminum bronze, manganese bronze, phosphor bronze, silicon bronze, bearing bronze (with high lead content), copper-nickel (which is bronze with nickel and copper), and bismuth bronze.
The good news is that the bronze that is often used in jewelry contains no or trace amounts of nickel, which means that the bronze is predominantly safe for individuals interested in bronze jewelry.
If you are sensitive to nickel or have severe nickel allergies, you may want to avoid bronze jewelry because there is an inherent risk of the jewelry causing irritation after some time.
Detailed Pros and cons of bronze used in jewelry making
- Thanks to the high copper content in bronze, bronze jewelry are believed to carry immense health benefits. This kind of jewelry can alleviate the effects of copper deficiencies and also help manage pain from arthritis, rheumatism, and joint pain, etc.
- Bronze is a strong and very durable metal.
- It is a beautiful color that makes stunning jewelry thanks to that gold-like finish.
- Applying a simple sealant like a layer of clear polish reduces the risk of allergies and skin discoloration.
- Bronze jewelry is affordable
- Stunning jewelry designs to choose from
- It’s not hypoallergenic
- The presence of copper means a high risk of the bronze jewelry leaving green stains on your skin, which is unappealing. This often happens when the copper comes in contact with body oils and sweat, resulting in the creation of copper chelates which are absorbed into the skin, with the chelate excesses resulting in your skin’s discoloration. The good news is that the green discoloration is not harmful to your skin, and you can wash it off easily.
- High risk of nickel and bronze allergies since bronze often contains trace amounts of nickel.
Should you buy Bronze jewelry or items?
If you are not allergic to nickel and you don’t mind your skin getting discolored after some time with the green stains from the copper chelates, bronze would be an ideal metal for your jewelry. The colors and jewelry designs from bronze are stunning.
Bronze jewelry is stunning, and there are many options for you to choose from. However, bronze is a hypoallergenic metal and not suitable for everyone.
Read more jewelry metal posts here or here!
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.