Due to the natural corrosion they undergo, metals release metal ions which, when brought into contact with our body, can cause hypersensitivity or even an allergic reaction . Indeed, our immune cells will mistake these ions for microbes or bacteria, and will therefore attack them.

The most common reaction is contact dermatitis (or dermatitis). It results in a reddish and itchy rash. As a result, dermatitis is often confused with eczema.



Nickel is certainly public enemy number 1 for people who have allergic reactions to jewelry. Indeed, it is one of the most toxic metals used in the field of jewelry creation. Although it is usually found in pieces of costume jewelry, traces of it can be found in the metals used in jewelry. This is particularly the case for brass, but also for certain white gold alloys.

Apart from the toxic aspect, you also have to be careful from a legal point of view. Indeed, in France and in most European countries, the presence of it in jewelry is very regulated . In fact, its release rate should not exceed 0.5μg/cm² per week. And for earring posts, it should not be more than 0.2μg/cm² per week.

It should also be noted that cadmium and lead are also subject to strict regulations.


Copper and its alloys can also cause allergic reactions. When some people say they are allergic to silver jewelry, it is actually a copper allergy . Indeed, the silver alloy used in jewelry, 925 silver, contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Other copper alloys to consider are brass (copper + zinc) and rose or red gold. Indeed, in these colored gold alloys, copper is present in greater quantities, since it is this which gives a pinkish color to the gold. Finally, it will be better to advise a person allergic to copper to favor jewelry in 750 yellow gold (18K gold). Indeed, even if they contain a little copper, it is generally not present in large enough quantities to cause an allergic reaction.


Even if the metals are gold or plated, this does not prevent allergic reactions. This is because the plating layer is generally not thick enough to prevent corrosion responsible for the release of problematic ions – and therefore allergies to jewelry.



Platinum and other platinum group metals, such as palladium , are considered naturally non-allergenic . This is also one of the reasons why this metal is used in medicine, more particularly in the composition of cardiac pacemakers.


As explained above, 750 yellow gold is generally considered hypoallergenic. Concerning white gold, you should favor a white gold alloy with palladium .



There is a false belief that stainless steel, being hypoallergenic, does not cause jewelry allergies. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. In fact, it contains 10% chromium, a metal that is not very sensitive to corrosion, which prevents the steel from oxidizing. Chromium is also one of the metals that can cause immune reactions. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find nickel in certain stainless steel alloys .

So what is this belief due to? Quite simply because the definition of the term hypoallergenic is not well understood . Indeed, most people think that this one means that it doesn't cause allergies at all. However, etymologically, the prefix “hypo” means “under, below, below” and not “without”. So, the term hypoallergenic means that the composition of the alloy minimizes the risk of allergies.

We must therefore be careful with this term, since in no case does it guarantee that the person will not have an allergy, or that the alloy does not contain nickel. So, if a customer is likely to have strong allergic reactions to jewelry, it is better to direct them to one of the four metals I talked to you about above.

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