How to deal with jewellery allergies

Allergies to jewellery can be frustrating, particularly when it’s time to consider an engagement or wedding ring. Here we explore two common causes of jewellery allergies, and how to overcome them.

Culprit 1: The alloy

While it may seem like the gold in your jewellery is the culprit, it’s more likely that an ‘alloy’ within the gold mixture is causing you grief.

To make gold jewellery, pure gold is mixed with alloys such as copper, nickel and silver in various combinations to achieve different colours and carats.

It’s these alloys that cause the most common and strongest allergies, with 9ct yellow gold being particularly problematic.

The solution?

If you’re lucky enough to know which particular alloy causes your allergic reactions, your jeweller may be able to offer a gold blend with alternative alloys. Palladium and platinum are also great choices, in place of white gold.

Culprit 2: The design

Surprisingly, some allergies are caused not by the metal the jewellery is made of, but instead by its design. If you find that one piece in a particular metal causes you grief, but another is fine, this may be your answer.

‘Holes’ (like those that let light into a diamond to make it sparkle) and intricate detailing within a piece of jewellery act as dirt collection points. With day to day wear, particles of all sorts accumulate in these areas, which can cause irritation for some wearers.

The solution?

If it’s a treasured piece you’d like to salvage, keeping your jewellery squeaky clean can help. A jeweller may even be able to modify its design for you to reduce the irritation.

If you’re choosing a new piece, try a design that minimises areas for dirt to get trapped.