Do You Have Metal Sensitivities?

Many people have experienced sensitivities to metals used in jewelry and assume that it means that they can't wear jewelry.  Good news!  That may not be the case.

The two metals that are often the culprit of sensitivities are copper and nickel. 

Copper:  It's often the copper content of sterling silver that causes sensitivities.  Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and the remaining 7.5% is copper.  Argentium sterling silver is a sterling silver alloy that is 93.5% silver and the remaining 6.5% is comprised of copper and germanium.  The germanium is key to Argentium sterling silver’s special properties.  Argentium sterling silver is seven times more tarnish resistant than regular sterling silver and it is also more wearable, as well.  When heated, Argentium sterling silver forms an invisible layer of germanium oxide which is responsible for the tarnish resistant properties and allows the metal to be considered hypoallergenic.  I would not go as far as calling the metal truly hypoallergenic but many who are allergic to regular sterling can wear it.

The 14k gold layer on the 14/20 14k gold-filled wire used in the ear wires that I make is also an alloy that contains copper.  If you are sensitive to copper, you may wish to avoid 14k gold-filled ear wires.

Nickel:  I do not use any metals that contain nickel so; rest assured that nickel allergy will not be a problem.

Niobium & Titanium:  Two metals that offer a lot of hope for those with metals sensitivities are niobium and titanium.  Both are reactive metals that form an invisible oxide layer (niobium oxide & titanium oxide) when exposed to electrical current (anodizing).  The varying voltages create what are known as interference colors.  Interference colors are visible according to the angle and the light in which the item is viewed--much like the feathers of the indigo bunting which appear bright blue but are actually dull.  Voltages can be controlled to produce pre-determined interference colors.  One voltage may produce a deep copper brown that mimics aged copper while another voltage produces vivid teal.  There are many colors attainable when anodizing niobium and titanium.  The oxide layers provide not only beautiful colors but are responsible for the hypoallergenic qualities of the two metals.  Titanium is so hypoallergenic that it is used in medical implants.  The more expensive niobium has also been tested in implants but titanium remains the medical preference due to availability, cost, and strength.

So, if you are interested in a pair of earrings which are listed with ear wires that you believe will cause you sensitivities, contact me.  I will anodize a pair to match the earrings.  I also make many pairs of earrings that are made entirely of anodized niobium.


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