What Does Nickel-free Jewelry Mean?

Nickel-free jewelry refers to accessories that do not contain nickel. The use of nickel in jewelry has been linked to allergic reactions for millions, leading to rashes and blisters on the skin.

Nickel allergies are more common than you might think: as many as 18% of Americans have them!

You must make sure to choose jewelry that will not cause adverse reactions. Knowing whether or not a piece of jewelry is nickel-free is essential. Check the back or inside of the piece to see if there's any mention of "nickel" or "alloy."

If there is no information on the piece itself, try calling customer service at the store where you bought it. They can check their records for information about nickel content. 

How To Find Out if You’re Allergic to Nickel

Nickel is a naturally occurring element. It's found in many different types of food, as well as in some medical devices. If you're allergic to nickel, it can cause symptoms like skin irritation and rashes.

If you suspect that you might be allergic to nickel, there are a few ways you can find out for sure. The first step is to see if you experience rashes or itchiness with the following:

  • When you wear certain jewelry or come into contact with objects made of nickel
  • After eating food that contains high amounts of nickel (soy sauce, tofu, soybeans, cashews, almonds, cocoa, figs
  • When you wear clothing that uses metal hardware like zippers and buckles containing nickel

If one or more of these things are true for you, talk to your doctor about getting tested for an allergy to nickel. You must do your best to avoid coming into contact with nickel moving forward.

How To Choose Nickel-free Jewelry

Choosing the best, most fashionable jewelry is challenging enough. But buying accessories that will not cause allergic reactions adds a layer of complexity. Even when you find the perfect ring by appearance, it could cause skin irritation.

Follow the steps below to choose the right nickel-free jewelry:

  • Nickel-free badge - Look for jewelry that says it is nickel-free. This is the simplest solution, as most sellers will be transparent about the composition of their jewelry.
  • Higher gold karat - Chooses pieces that are 14k or higher. Lower karat jewelry often contains nickel and other metals that can cause allergies.
  • Platinum - This metal is known for being shiny and silvery white. This is an excellent option if you want to avoid allergic reactions, but it is relatively expensive.
  • Palladium - This material is cheaper than platinum and has the same silvery-white color. This is a good alternative if you’re looking for more budget-friendly and practical jewelry. It replaces the nickel in white gold to reduce metal allergy risk.
  • Titanium - This metal is highly durable and safe for people with allergies. Even when exposed to sweat and chlorinated pool water, it doesn't rust.
  • Ceramic - High-tech ceramic is an artificial material used in rings and watches. It contains no metal, so there is little risk of allergies. Some people like ceramic jewelry better than metal because they are lighter, and the colors are solid and don't chip or fade over time.
  • Tungsten - This hypoallergenic metal has a brushed finish and is often mixed with gold to make jewelry.
  • Sterling Silver - Stainless Silver or Sterling Silver is another nickel-free material that helps make beautiful, durable jewelry.
  • Silicone - This type of jewelry is lightweight and low maintenance, great for outdoor activities.

Benefits of Nickel-free Jewelry

Here are some great reasons why you should start wearing nickel-free jewelry

  • Prevent allergic reactions - Getting rashes on your skin is a sign of an allergic reaction to nickel. To avoid irritation, redness, and other adverse symptoms, it’s best to purchase nickel-free jewelry. Even if you have never had a reaction to jewelry before, allergies can emerge unexpectedly. Hypoallergenic options will keep your skin healthy for years.
  • Comfort - Most nickel-free jewelry is comfortable enough to wear all day without any side effects. If you don't want to wear jewelry made of metal, you can try medical-grade plastic or silicone. They're great options because they are easy to take care of but will often lack the visual appeal of metal jewelry.
  • Reduce the risk of getting nickel related toxicity - Research shows that if you wear nickel jewelry all the time, you could get cancer. As such, wearing nickel-free jewelry may significantly reduce your chances of developing life-threatening diseases.

Are Nickel Free Jewelry and Hypoallergenic Jewelry the Same?

No, "hypoallergenic" does not mean "nickel free" by definition.

There are different ideas about what the word "hypoallergenic" really means. These materials are either completely free of irritants or contain very few allergens that most people will not react to.

Hypoallergenic has become a popular way to describe jewelry metals that are safe to wear. They are made of strong, skin-friendly metals that do not rust or break down easily.

Nickel can still be found in a lot of jewelry metals that are said to be hypoallergenic. People often think that "hypoallergenic" means "100% safe for people with allergies" when it just means that the material in question is safe for over 50% of the population. 

Despite a “hypoallergenic” claim, you should always check if jewelry is specifically nickel-free to avoid untoward reactions.

The Takeaway

Many people wear jewelry with nickel in it without noticing or having any problems, but others have learned the hard way why it's best to stay away from this metal. Buying jewelry without nickel may involve a little more research and cost a little more, but they’re definitely worth the purchase.

We offer nickel-free jewelry at Artizan Joyeria, so you can enjoy your individual style without side effects. Our stainless steel jewelry is hypoallergenic and non-reactive. Each piece is crafted to ensure that it’ll never rust or tarnish.

Don’t let the holiday season pass you by. Treat yourself to the jewelry you deserve today.

Back to Blog