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Common Jewelry Allergy Causing Metals

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I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

Common Jewelry Allergy Causing Metals

Hilda Chang

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Did you ever buy a ring as a child and found out that it caused your skin to turn green the next week? If so, you are not alone; many people have a degree of sensitivity when it comes to jewelry metals. There are various reasons why an allergic reaction can occur. Today Enji wants to go over the most common types of allergy causing jewelry metals and some helpful hints on how to prevent and avoid your allergies.

 

Nickel/ Stainless Steel

Nickel is one of the most common metals to cause a reaction. Nickel is an inexpensive metal and is usually found in cheap costume jewelry or novelty items you might find at gift shops. Most reactions occur when the metal comes into contact with skin's acids or oils and produce an allergic reaction such as skin coloration.

Common signs of an allergic reaction are also itchy, red rash with watery blisters where there has been contact with this metal. Nickel is often plated in gold or silver and can still cause reactions if the nickel underneath is exposed to the skin. 

Stainless Steel also containing traces of nickel and should be avoided as it too can cause similar reactions. If you have this allergy it is best to buy quality jewelry that contains no nickel traces.

 

Copper/ Brass

Copper and brass are one of the main culprits when your finger turns green. These easy available metals are found in lower end jewelry and are usually plated or mixed with other metals.

The popular rose gold color is often made with copper to give it that beautiful pink color and unfortunately, might be the cause of your allergic reaction. It also makes sense you would be allergic to brass as it is a mixture of copper and zinc.

Avoid copper and brass products until you know if you are fully allergic to copper and its alloys.

 

Gold/ Silver

Like I mentioned above many people believe that gold and silver are the answer to their allergies, but don’t realize that their jewelry might only be plated in gold or silver. Regular wear and tear of jewelry can expose the skin to the nickel or copper under the plating and still cause allergic reactions.

White gold for example is also mixed with nickel to give it a bright white color. To avoid possible allergies, it is best to buy jewlery fully made from silver or gold instead of plated.

Look for the gold karats in jewelry aiming for 14K or higher, as you can to ensure that it is mostly gold. Sterling silver should have a stamp indicating Sterling 925 signifying that it is 95.2% silver.

 

Quick Fix and Prevention

Obviously, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to check the metal of any jewelry you buy. But if you happen to find a ring you love that isn’t exactly 100% silver here are a few ways to prevent allergies.

  • Avoid washing your hands with jewelry on. Soap and water can scratch the metal and expose your skin to an allergic reaction.
  • Take jewelry off before any physical activities that can involve water, harsh chemicals, and dry hands before putting on jewelry
  • Take care of jewelry to prevent scratches and store properly to avoid deterioration or oxidation.
  • Wear jewelry only when you must. There is no need to overexpose yourself to allergies if you are at home by yourself. The whole point of jewelry is to show it off.
  • If you do have a ring or small piece that gives you consistent allergies consider a temporary solution of clear nail polish. Painting the area of jewelry where it meets your skin will create a protective and clear barrier and prevent allergies. However, the clear nail polish will only last a few days and should be kept clean and dry.

 

Sources:

https://www.charlesandcolvard.com/blog/post/metal-allergies-solved-a-guide-to-skin-friendly-jewelry/

https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/jewelry-allergy/