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Nickel allergy

Nickel allergy is a recurring topic when talking about silver jewelry.

Nickel allergy is a contact allergy that is often caused by zippers, buttons, watches, jewelry and similar accessories that are worn close to the skin for a long time through that the skin absorbs nickel that has been released. The skin gets red itchy rashes, lumps and swelling. The skin may become dry and cracked. No one is born with a nickel allergy, but once you have it, you will have it forever, and you must avoid nickel to avoid the rash. This can of course be very difficult because all metals, including gold and silver, can contain nickel, mainly in the form of impurities. Nickel allergy is not hereditary and not contagious.

Below I explain a little more about what nickel is and how to test a piece of jewelry.

What is nickel?

Nickel is a high-gloss metal with a silvery-white color. It has the same color as silver and is cheaper than other metals. About 65% of all nickel produced is used to make stainless steel. Other uses for nickel include rechargeable batteries, steel alloys, catalysts, guitar strings and coins.

Is there nickel in silver jewelry?

It should Nickel does not occur in real silver, but sensitive people can sometimes feel their allergy anyway, and then it depends on other substances in the silver than just nickel. Nickel is used in jewelry to give a shiny and hard surface. It can also be used in silver colored jewelry to prevent them from turning black. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver and copper, which means that nickel allergy sufferers can often use silver jewelery.

Silver can also contain traces of other metals, which may differ from different manufacturers and therefore sometimes nickel allergy sufferers can rarely get reactions. on "genuine silver" even if they are usually never marked by anything.

Nickel test

On well-sorted pharmacies have nickel tests that can show if the product gives off nickel. This test consists of a liquid that you drip on a top. Then you rub this top on the jewelry you want to test. If the cotton swab turns red after rubbing for 30 seconds, there is nickel in the product.

Is there nickel in real gold?

Gold is an element and contains no nickel. To get red gold and rose gold, you add copper, the more copper, the redder the color, and usually a smaller amount of silver and possibly other metal. White gold is not a base metal but a mixture of gold, palladium, copper and silver. People who are allergic to nickel may have difficulty wearing certain types of white gold, as a small amount of nickel has previously been used in the alloy. However, nickel in the alloy of white gold was banned in the 80s.

The most common 18K gold alloy in Swedish trade, "Swedish red gold", has a gold content of 75%, silver 8-9% and copper 16-17% , while in many other countries you have equal parts silver and copper in the corresponding, which is therefore yellower, "yellow gold".

There should therefore be no nickel in real gold.