Metal Allergies Solved: A Guide to Jewelry for Sensitive Skin

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to your jewelry? It’s a well-known fact that the metal contained in your jewelry setting can cause some annoying allergy symptoms to those that have a sensitivity to it. You may not be aware of the metal(s) and alloys that are present in your favorite pieces of jewelry, and the results may surprise you! Those that do experience a reaction should transition to metals that are hypoallergenic. 

Symptoms of Jewelry Allergic Reactions:

According to the National Institute of Health, an individual allergic to metals can experience contact dermatitis. Symptoms may present themselves as quickly as a few minutes or as much as 48 hours later depending on level of sensitivity. They can include itching, redness, tenderness, swelling, and warmth to the exposed area. In more severe cases dry patches and blisters may occur.

Common Metals to Avoid if You Have Sensitive Skin:

Nickel & Stainless Steel

  • Nickel is the number one allergy internationally and is the most widely used metal alloys on the planet. 
  • Stainless Steel contains trace amounts of nickel and iron, therefore may cause a reaction to those with hypersensitive skin.

Copper & Rose Gold (Gold & Copper Alloy)

  • If you are allergic to copper you may also be allergic to metal alloys that include copper, like the ever-so-popular rose gold, which contains a mixture of gold and copper to achieve its pinkish hue.
  • If jewelry set in rose gold doesn’t bother you, alloys might be one of the few ways you can enjoy the look of copper jewelry.

Brass (Copper & Zinc Alloy)

  • Brass is often used as a base metal that has been coated with either sterling silver, or gold. If your skin turns green after wearing a necklace or earrings, it most likely includes some amount of brass in its metal composition. 
  • Brass is actually an alloy of copper and zinc, so if you’re allergic to brass you are likely allergic to copper as well.

Plated Metals

  • Don’t mistake plating as a foolproof barrier to allergies. Be sure to do your research about what the base metal is before purchasing anything that has been plated.
  • Jewelry is often plated with silver or gold over metals like copper and brass in order to keep prices low.

Gold (a variety of colors = a variety of alloys)

  • Many confuse all gold jewelry to be a safe option when trying to avoid jewelry allergies. However, certain types of gold jewelry often contain other metals that can trigger a reaction.
  • White gold is usually alloyed with nickel or other common white metals to give it the whitest hue.
  • Yellow gold is often alloyed with silver, copper or brass in varying amounts, unless your setting is made of solid gold (unlikely).
  • Be sure to check the karat weight to see how much gold is actually in the setting. Karat is a measure of the purity of gold. To avoid any potential allergies, opt for 14k Gold or higher which is purer and less likely to trigger any reaction.

The Answer to Your Metal Allergies: 

If you do have hypersensitive skin, stick to what’s pure for the best symptom-free experience. Look for hypoallergenic jewelry. And guess what?! We now offer select styles in Platinum and Tantalum! Two completely hypoallergenic metals that are gentle on the skin.

Platinum is a precious metal that is rarer and more durable than gold. It offers a naturally white hue that will never tarnish and develops a lustrous patina over time. Our platinum jewelry is 100% pure and free from harmful alloys that can cause irritation. We have a wide selection of fine jewelry that marries the brilliance of moissanite with the timelessness of platinum. Learn more about platinum by visiting this page and shop all of our platinum offerings here.

Tantalum is a precious metal that is 99% pure, with zero reactive properties. It is resilient and extremely resistant to corrosion. This modern, classic metal is an economical alternative to other precious metals and is quickly becoming very popular for men’s wedding bands. All of our tantalum bands are made in the USA and are designed with a comfort fit. Learn more about tantalum by visiting this page and shop all of our tantalum offerings here.

Whether you’re looking for earrings for sensitive ears or nickel free necklaces, Charles & Colvard has the jewelry for sensitive skin you’ll love. Need help deciding what selection is best for you? Our Customer Service team is here to help at 877-202-5467 or