As a jewelry designer the most commonly asked question is, “What type of metal is your jewelry made from?” I use a variety of metals that include brass, sterling silver, gold filled and bronze. The next question that usually follows is “Do those metals have nickel?” Usually when people are allergic to fashion jewelry, most times it’s nickel that they are allergic too. Luckily, you don’t have to turn down a nice piece of jewelry because of this allergy. Here’s a guide that you can use to help you avoid nickel altogether when shopping at my store:
Brass is actually an alloy (which is a combination of metals) made up of copper and zinc. It is free of nickel and generally safe to wear. Everyday wear and contact with liquids, lotions or any form of chemicals will lead to a bit of tarnishing, but you can clean it off. Warm soapy water with a soft cloth works well or even toothpaste believe it or not. Just be sure to shine it with a soft dry cloth afterwards.
Bronze is also an alloy composed of copper and tin and is also nickel free. Bronze metal makes beautiful jewelry pieces because it gives sort of an aged and oxidized, but shiny look.
Copper is a pure metal and allergy free. It makes great jewelry, over a time copper develops a Patina look which is an oxidized greenish color and still manages to look very nice. Wearing copper for extended periods of time can make your skin green. Copper is also super easy to clean, check out how here .
Sterling Silver .925 sterling silver is usually nickel free, 92.5% is silver and the remaining 7.5% is made up of other metals usually copper. Besides for tarnishing, which can easily be cleaned sterling silver is a pretty good choice for jewelry.
Gold Filled is not to be confused with gold plated. Gold filled jewelry means that gold is permanently bonded to as base metal (usually brass) for durability (if you ever notice how higher carat gold is softer). Gold filled is a great choice for jewelry because it doesn’t tarnish and doesn’t contain nickel.
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