What Metal Jewelry is Hypoallergenic?(18 Metals Explained)

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Jewelry is both attractive and fashion-forward. Adding one or two of these ornamental metals will have you looking classy and interesting.

Unfortunately, this jewelry is made from a combination of many metals that are potentially harmful to your skin. That’s where the concern for hypoallergenic metals stems from. Read on to discover which jewelry metals are hypoallergenic and which one is not.

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18 Jewelry Metal Related Questions Well Explained.

Is Platinum Hypoallergenic?

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This is the best metal for all sensitive skin types.

Being denser and rarer than gold, Platinum is a highly valued and durable metal. This precious metal is white and soft and jewelers sometimes use it as an alloy keeping its purity at 90 to 95 percent and introducing a 5 to 10 percent to its combination. These other metals could be iridium, ruthenium or palladium which are also hypoallergenic.

While out shopping, be keen to ask about the combinations of metals used on your desired piece. If it contains elements of cobalt, it might react with your skin.

Platinum lasts for long and does not tarnish, need plating or get scratches. This makes it an ideal metal for generational family heirlooms that may be handed down over time. It is resistant to corrosion and maintains a lustrous hue over time. This makes it perfect for people leading active lifestyles who will not need to handle it with care. For further reading: is Platinum good for the wedding ring?

In the medical industry, platinum is used for metal implants.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic metal
  • Lasts more than a lifetime
  • Scratch and corrosion resistant
  • No tarnishing

Cons

  • Expensive and rare
  • Fewer variations in designs available

 

Is Palladium Hypoallergenic?

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A much more recent metal in comparison to platinum. Palladium belongs to the same group of metals as platinum and therefore, has some similar properties. It is often confused with platinum but sells at a more affordable price.

For those who may suffer from gold metal allergens, palladium is your next best pick after platinum. Discovered in 1802, this popular material in the jewelry industry is a naturally white metal that is durable and very rare. It is better than platinum in that it is lighter I weight, harder and even more scratch-resistant.

Palladium is naturally resistant to tarnishing, oxidation and corrosion. It is lightweight and has properties to absorb high volumes of gas. Jewelers have successfully heated and cooled the metal to make it as hard as possible and also to create as many varying designs as possible.

Unlike platinum which might require some alloying, palladium is perfect in its purest form and can be used to make and shape as many designs as is possible with platinum.

Some jewelers will alloy palladium with iridium or ruthenium at barely 5% keeping the purity of the metal at 95%. Allergic reactions are extremely rare with palladium and the only time it was reported as a mild allergen, was when used as a dental filler. With jewelry, this is unheard of.  Guys, if you want to know more about this metal, read this post for more: is palladium good for wedding rings?

Pros

  • 95% pure hypoallergenic metal
  • More affordable than platinum metal
  • Oxidation, tarnishing, and corrosion resistant
  • Exceptionally durable
  • Lightweight and malleable metal

Cons

  • Not as popular as platinum
  • Not so easy to work with. Issues with resizing.

 

Is Cobalt Hypoallergenic?

Although cobalt alloy is not a preferred metal by some, it has long been used in making rings. It is commonly used as a dental implant in the orthopedic business. It is a naturally occurring metal and is mostly found close to nickel and often mined simultaneously.

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To increase the strength of cobalt, chromium metal is added to it to make Cobalt Chrome. This is a beautiful, bright metal alloy that looks like white-silver. It is mostly made up of 68 percent cobalt, 28 percent chromium and 4 percent molybdenum.

Molybdenum is a ductile, highly corrosion resistant silver-white metal with a melting point only matched by tungsten and tantalum elements.

Cobalt chrome is inert and biodegradable which is perfect for the climate-conscious individuals. You can depend on your alloyed piece of cobalt to resist scratches, tarnishes, chips and breakages because it is strong.it is used mostly in the making of men’s wedding bands at affordable pricing.

The metal is easy to work with availing the option to get resized if ever needed. It requires no extra plating because it does not oxidize when exposed to the atmosphere. This guarantees that your jewelry will keep its original color and you won’t have to keep visiting the jewelers’ shop for a rebuff.

For more details: is Cobalt good for wedding rings?

Pros

  • White attractive appearance
  • Reasonably priced
  • Scratch-resistant with no tarnish, break, or chip
  • Hypoallergenic metal
  • Highly durable

 Cons

Check for the amount of cobalt to prevent allergies

 

Is Niobium Hypoallergenic?

Softer than titanium, niobium is an inert metal that can be added to other metals to improve their strength. For jewelry, its purest form is used instead.

Unlike titanium, niobium has a smoother finish and can be used to coat earring posts to keep irritation at bay when wearing them. It is also rarer than titanium making it even more expensive.

Jewelers find it easy to work with as it can be manipulated in many ways to create different color hues. Grade 1 and 2 of Niobium are pure but grade 4 is alloyed with Zirconium for extra resistance to scratches and corrosion.

 

Is Yellow Gold Hypoallergenic?

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Yellow gold is made by combining pure gold with copper and zinc metals. Gold is a soft metal so making jewelry with it is a bit challenging. An artist would have to alloy it to make it more workable. Yellow gold is popular with the making of bands for weddings and engagements. It has the best golden color and is also the most hypoallergenic gold type in comparison with rose or white gold

For more detailed answer, read this post: is high karat gold good for wedding rings?

Pros

  • Easy to work with
  • Great color

Cons

  • Regular buffing and shinning needed
  • Not resistant to scratches or dents

Is White Gold Hypoallergenic?

White gold is often confused with platinum because it is alloyed with nickel to give it that silver shine. More recently, companies are embracing platinum as a preferable metal alloy to combine with gold for the same effects only without the possible skin reaction. As they are also white in nature, White Gold is alloyed with Nickel, Silver, Zinc.

As people have become increasingly aware of these skin reactions, jewelers are now looking to palladium as a worthy metal for its hypoallergenic qualities. Rhodium color plating could be added on the finished product to strengthen the piece and further protect the skin.

Here you can read more here:Is White Gold Hypoallergenic?

Pros

  • Cheaper than platinum
  • Strong and durable alloyed

Cons

  • Buffing and shinning every few years
  • Could contain Nickel

 

Is Rose Gold Hypoallergenic?

Gold combined with Copper gives you the impressive reddish hue that is characterized with Rose Gold pieces. Unfortunately, the drawback to using copper is that it might contain traces of nickel which could cause an allergic reaction based on its content levels.

If you are thinking of rose gold coated jewelry, it presents potential for allergic reactions depending on the copper concentration in the gold. These pieces are prone to chipping.

Interestingly, Rose Gold, unlike other gold classes cannot be rhodium plated. It easily tarnishes within a short period of wear so you may have to buy other pieces often. You will notice the pink luster fade and turn a reddish color.

However, it makes the daintiest and most elaborate jewelry pieces. Be sure to ask the jeweler about its copper content because it is not hypoallergenic. A low copper content is less likely to cause a skin reaction.

 

Is 92.5% Silver Hypoallergenic?

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Silver is highly hypoallergenic and though it is not very durable and is easily susceptible to scratches, it can be coated with a film of rhodium that will prevent it from tarnishing. This is great especially when putting it out on display.

Sterling Silver may not be suitable for everyday wear as the coatings wear off overtime and could lead to some reactions with skin. To be sure, one must investigate at length the other metals alloyed with the silver to ascertain if infections are possible.

Silver Overlay

Used with heat and pressure in application of a sterling silver layer to cover a less expensive metal like brass.  Silver overlays are more than a hundred times thicker than silver plating which means that it can be work over a period of many years before the coating wears out enough to expose your skin to the harmful metals.

Fine Silver

The quickest way to identify this metal is with the 999 sign that is engraved on it referencing the 99.9 purity of the silver used in the making of any piece. it is a softer and more malleable metal than sterling silver and has been used over time in the creation of headpins and bezels.

However, just like counterfeits exist for the sterling silver grade, so do they in the fine silver. Buying from a reputable jeweler is the only way to avoid this annoying inconvenience.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic metal
  • Appealing bright white and lustrous shine
  • Affordable precious metal

Cons

  • Tarnishes quickly, gains a dark coat
  • Easily scratched

 

Is Tungsten Carbide Hypoallergenic?

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Another modern metal considered to be hypoallergenic and widely used in jewelry making is Tungsten. Carbon and tungsten are heated to high temperatures which effects their combination making Tungsten Carbide scratch-resistant.

In attempts to save up on production costs, some companies will add nickel to the combination dependent on the production process.

This jewelry made of tungsten carbide is durable, dense, strong and glossy. Interestingly, this alloy metal is four times stronger than titanium.

Their unusual strength has led to a popular notion that they are hard to remove in the event of emergencies. This could not be any further from the truth.

For more info about tungsten, read this post for more.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Stronger than platinum
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Lustrous and affordable metal alloy

Cons

  • It may contain traces of lead and nickel

 

Is Titanium Hypoallergenic?

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 Perfect metal for budget shoppers with a not so great love of accessorizing or jewelry in general. Titanium is light in weight, highly hypoallergenic and even more affordable.

Just like most other metals on this list, Titanium is resistant to scratches, bending, corrosion and is very strong.

Jewelers love using this metal as it is possible to innovate and incorporate new designs that will look attractive and stand-out in a crowd.

Titanium is not toxic in any way. It is naturally occurring and is three times as strong as steel but only carries half the weight.

The pure grades of Titanium are considered to be those in the first four grades with grade one being the softest and the easiest to manipulate. These grades are mostly used in the making of earrings and other wires because of their ability to form different shapes.

For body jewelry and piercings, manufactures have long used titanium grade 5 and 23 to make belly bars for belly button piercing and brow bars for eyebrow piercings. They are both metal alloys with a percentage of aluminum and vanadium to make it stronger than pure titanium. Grade 5 is more widely used.

These alloys are used for implants in surgery as they are considered biocompatible.

Pros

  • Highly hypoallergenic metal
  • Long-lasting with high tensile strength
  • Used to make unique and distinct designs
  • Resistant to scratches, cracks, and corrosion
  • Affordable and lightweight metal

 Cons

Resizing not possible

Is stainless steel hypoallergenic?

Stainless steel alloys are of various grades and are widely available across the globe.

This alloy is very strong, highly durable and most importantly, it is hypoallergenic. It is also resistant to tarnishing, corrosion or scratches.

Alloys in stainless-steel could have carbonated iron and chromium to make them scratch and corrosion-resistant or nickel that will increase strength when exposed to high or low temperatures.

Stainless steel in the jewelry world is often referred to as surgical stainless steel and is made up of 0.75 percent silicon, 0.045 percent manganese, 0.03 percent Sulphur, 0.1 percent nitrogen and 0.045 percent phosphorus. It is considered very versatile as many fashion jewelry designs can be made from it.

It’s is important to note that some manufacturers might still mix nickel and lead metals with stainless steel despite its strength. These metals are non-hypoallergenic and caution should be exercised when buying these jewelry pieces.

304 stainless-steel is the most common grade and is commonly used in the making of kitchen sinks, cutlery, beer brewing and daily hauling.

Pros

  • Durable and strong
  • Hypoallergenic metal
  • It does not tarnish quickly
  • Various unique and versatile designs
  • Affordable

 Cons

  • Some stainless steel alloys may contain nickel

 

Is copper hypoallergenic?

Known for turning skin a green color due to oxidation, copper is widely used in the jewelry industry. Its lightweight material and durability allows for many designs to be crafted from it and jewelry lovers can be sure to enjoy their favorite copper pieces for a considerably long time. So, no. Copper is not hypoallergenic.

If you really love a piece and you want to make it safer to wear, you could apply a thin layer of clear polish over the area of the jewelry that comes directly I contact with your skin. This will delay the tarnishing too. However, when copper tarnishes, it evolves into a beautiful shade of color. This is so cool because it turns into an antique-looking or vintage piece of jewelry.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Naturally occurring metal
  • Tarnish turns beautiful color

Cons

  • Tarnishes
  • Soft metal needs extra care

 

Is Bronze Hypoallergenic?

No, bronze is not hypoallergenic due to its composition that is mostly copper. As we have seen earlier, copper has the tendency to turn the skin green. Apparently though, some jewelry lovers know this and still choose to buy a bronze piece. This is because it is commonly believed that wearing these pieces could help aid with copper deficiency in the body, joint pains, rheumatism and arthritis.

Just like with Copper jewelry you could use a thin layer of clear nail polish to create a protective barrier. Bronze makes edgy and large ornaments like cuffs and large rings. It carries a warm and earthy tone which can and will fit any color of attire you will wear.

Like copper, bronze tarnishes into a green hue that some people love while others spend a considerable amount of time shinning it out.

Unlike copper, bronze is not as malleable but it can still be formed into many eye-catching designs fir for all occasions. Either way, bronze and copper are more or less the same in terms of characteristics but Bronze is stronger and lasts longer.

Pros

  • Strong and durable metal
  • Helps with cooper deficiency

Cons

  • Tarnishes
  • Not hypoallergenic

 

Is Rhodium Hypoallergenic?

One of the rarest and most precious metals in the element charts is rhodium. It is mostly used as a plating because of its non-reactive quality which creates a protective shield between the skin and the reactive metals in a piece of jewelry.

For white gold, rhodium is used to brighten and maintain the white color. With platinum and palladium, it could be used to increase their toughness.

Unfortunately, this coat of rhodium will fade over time and you might notice your white gold jewelry turn yellow. No to worry though as a quick trip to the jeweler will see it get another coat and have it looking brand new again.

Is Aluminum Hypoallergenic?

It is the most readily available metal on the face of the earth. This metal is light in weight and very easy to work with but is not an obvious choice for making jewelry.

To make jewelry, it needs to be anodized and polished to give a great shine in a variety of colors. This can be achieved through dyeing instead of stripping off the top oxide layer.

The lightweight material makes it easy for creation of large pieces of bangles or multi-linked necklace chains. Though not as strong as titanium, it is highly affordable.

 

Is Alloy Jewelry Hypoallergenic?

An alloy is any metal that has been combined with one or more different metals for a list of reasons. The original metal may be too weak and another stronger and compatible metal is added to make it stronger, durable, scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant.

These metals that can be added are such like nickel, copper, chromium, rhodium, stainless steel, platinum, palladium, zinc among a few others.

Copper and nickel are potentially the most non-hypoallergenic metals to alloy with as they are reactive to certain skin and atmospheric conditions. With oxidation and bodily liquids like sweat, these alloyed pieces tend to chemically react to sensitive skin making it burn, itch, get rashes and turn your skin some green or brown color.

Titanium, rhodium, platinum and palladium are great hypoallergenic metals and they have strengthening qualities. They help the weaker metals they are alloyed with, such as gold, to improve their workability, sturdiness and resistance to corrosion or damage. Jewelry pieces of this nature last longer, maintain their form and color and can be passed down from generation to generation.

 

Is Ceramic Hypoallergenic?

To provide variety for those who cannot stand metal pieces but still want something safe for their skin, we introduce Ceramic Carbide.

Though ceramic is not a metal, there are rings made for jewelry that contain titanium carbide which is completely hypoallergenic. These rings are also highly inert, light on the body, resistant to scratches, hard with a durable shine.

They are an innovative entrant in the jewelry market beating the obvious alloys. They come in a variation of hues such as black or white.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic and affordable option for rings
  • Light in weight, durable, and non-metallic option
  • Resistant to scratches
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Variety of colors and designs

Cons

  • Not a metal
  • Hard and easily cracks and breaks off on hard surfaces

 

Is Acrylic Hypoallergenic?

Acrylic is a fossil-fuel fiber fabric made from synthetic polymer by combining petroleum or coal-based chemicals with a variety of monomers. While this material makes light and warm sweaters, socks and hats, acrylic is known to be itchy when in direct contact with the skin. To soften it and deal with the itch, manufacturers pair acrylic with cashmere or sheep wool. It absorbs color well and largely considered hypoallergenic. It is resilient to moths so you are assured of a long wear with acrylic. However, when blended with wool, it loses this resistance and it becomes vulnerable.

Acrylic, though widely used in the clothing industry, is not fully accepted as a hypoallergenic material. Some specialist’s advice people allergic to wool fiber to buy acrylic garments.

It seems to depend on how sensitive your skin is and if it has been blended with another material.

 

Conclusion

It is important to find out which metals are reactive with your skin type. Be keen on reading labels, asking questions and conducting mini-researches to establish the constitution of metals in your next jewelry piece. Nickel, lead and copper seem to be the biggest perpetrators of these unpleasant rashes so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Alternatively, make jewelry an investment that can be passed on down your generation line. The prices attached to the hypoallergenic metals of superior quality such as titanium and palladium, could be high but it is a worthy purchase that is safe and can last many lifetimes.

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