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A Guide to Skin-Friendly Jewelry from Expert Pittsburgh Jewelers

Know which pieces of jewelry from your collection are skin-friendly and what to look for in your next piece from a Pittsburgh Jeweler.

Lisa Marie Kotchey Jewelry
August 17, 2021

As a leading jeweler in Pittsburgh, we have earned over 30 years of experience and have learned what kind of metals will react to skin poorly and which will not. So if you are searching for a new piece of jewelry and wondering why you would pay so much money for high-end jewelry, the quality will be well worth the price — in most cases. Although your budget can be a deciding factor in a new necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings, the piece’s quality should be just as important. Learn what to look for when searching for skin-friendly jewelry, how various metals can affect your skin, and more.

A Guide to Skin-Friendly Jewelry by Professional Pittsburgh Jewelers

Which Metals are Hypoallergenic?

woman touching her earring
Image courtesy of Overstock.

The good news is that if you have very sensitive skin, you don’t have to avoid jewelry at all costs. Some high-quality products and metals are hypoallergenic, giving you peace of mind that your pieces will not irritate your skin. In most cases, gold and silver are considered the gold standard — meaning that they are the best choices for your jewelry. You can also wear plated jewelry as long as the base and the plates are hypoallergenic. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the seller questions about the quality of your jewelry because you want to make sure you get what you want. Here is a list of a few other skin-friendly materials.

  • Gold
  • Sterling silver
  • Platinum
  • Rhodium
  • Palladium
  • Tantalum

Avoid Costume Jewelry

box of costume jewelry
Image courtesy of Invaluable.

If you are using costume jewelry for anything but a costume, you may want to reconsider. Costume jewelry is usually made with nickel, which can lead to skin irritation in most people. In addition, ‘fake’ jewelry is exceptionally harmful when it’s being used for newly pierced ears. If you notice any green or brown stains on the skin where your jewelry was, that is a clear indication of pieces made with nickel. Nickel can lead to inflammation, tenderness, rashes, and infection. As Pittsburgh jewelers, our team only uses the best materials to ensure that your piece will not cause irritation and last a lifetime.

Discover What Your Skin’s Sensitivities Are

woman's earrings
Image courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.

Not every person’s skin is the same, and they all can react differently to various metals. It’s important to know what makes your skin poorly react, so you know what to steer away from when buying new jewelry. Many people have a terrible reaction to low quality or allow metals, but that is not the only sensitivity. Some stainless steel pieces are built with nickel and iron, so you have to look very carefully at what is in your jewelry. Take a look at common metals to avoid if you have sensitive skin. 

  • Nickel: As we mentioned before, nickel is the most common metal allergy. Stainless steel usually contains traces of nickel, which may lead to a reaction.
  • Copper/rose gold: If you are allergic to copper, there is a good chance that you are allergic to rose gold as well. Metal alloys that include copper, like rose gold, contain a mixture of copper and gold, leading to a reaction from those allergic to copper. 
  • Brass: Brass is commonly used as a base metal coated in sterling silver or gold. If your skin turns green after wearing a piece of jewelry, there is probably some amount of brass in there. 

Use a Metal-Testing Kit

metal testing kit
Image courtesy of PMC Supplies.

Not everyone wants to hope for the best when purchasing their jewelry, and it’s probably not best to take that route. Instead, you can use a metal-testing kit to discover the metals in a piece of jewelry and determine the purity. All you need to do is purchase a metal-testing kit with a set of solutions, drop the solution on a cotton ball, and rub the solution on the jewelry. A specific reaction will change the color of the solution, which will match the presence of certain metals. This kit can be beneficial with the jewelry you’ve been handed down or received as a gift.

Take Precautions When Getting Your Ears Pierced

child getting her ears pierced
Image courtesy of City Dads Group.

When you go to a studio or store to get your ears pierced, it’s essential to research and find out what kind of jewelry they will be using. You can explore online to find a studio that is recommended by health inspectors and uses sterile materials. Also, find a location that does not use a piercing gun but instead uses nickel-free and stainless steel-free needles — the earrings should also be nickel-free.  

As expert Pittsburgh jewelers, we’ve seen it all when it comes to types of metals and irritations. Therefore, we can confidently say that it’s vital to find the types of jewelry that do not give your skin any reactions. If you have to splurge on high-quality jewelry, you can save up your money or request it as a gift. High-quality jewelry is worth the price because it will last longer than cheaply made jewelry, and it will not affect your skin. At Lisa Marie Kotchey Design, we will work with you to discover a piece of jewelry that is skin-friendly and gorgeous. Contact us to begin your search for the perfect piece or design one of your own.