My 2 Cents on Nickel

Did you know that jewelry that doesn’t tarnish is often plated with nickel?

Many jewellers plate their .925 sterling silver with nickel to make it shinier and anti-tarnish. This includes many well-known brands as well. Although this may seem like a good idea, when the plating wears off the nickel is exposed. 10-20% of women will have an allergic reaction to nickel. Symptoms like itchiness, redness and a rash will occur where nickel is in contact with the skin. Nobody wants a necklace that is going to leave you with a rash! Nickel is also used in Rhodium-plated silver because rhodium does not easily stick to sterling silver without a layer of nickel.

Professor Nicholas Lowe, a dermatologist from the Cranley Clinic in London, says: "Nickel is seen by the body as an antigen, or foreign body. If the skin comes in frequent contact with an antigen like nickel, eventually the immune system is likely to react against it…While usually the rash is limited to the area of contact with the metal, in severe cases the rash can spread. This is especially likely if the allergen gets into the fingertips, which then can spread it through touch to other parts of the body. The rash can remain for weeks or even months after the antigen has been removed.“ Source Daily Mail

We work primarily with non plated .925 sterling silver, bronze, and copper alloys. This does mean our jewelry will tarnish. To help with this, we provide a miracle cleaning cloth with each purchase. This cloth is a quick and easy way to revitalize the shine and take off the oxidization. Some clients comment they don’t like cleaning their jewelry but I believe your health is worth it.

The pieces that become your daily favourites and see regular wear will not need to be polished as often. The natural oils of your skin actually help protect against oxidation and keeps the jewelry shiny. If one of your pieces is looking a little tarnished, it's probably lonely and needs a little attention. I have seen pieces that customers never take off and they radiate with that person’s energy, especially copper! 

As a sidebar, Copper is a primary element and it's believed to help with removing toxins and reduce the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. How cool is that?

One trick you can use for the jewelry you save for special occasions is to store the piece in an airtight ziplock bag. Oxygen reacts with metal and that's whats leads to tarnishing, so less oxygen means less tarnish! Who knew I was paying attention in grade 9 science class.

Karyn Chopik