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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 17, 2011

Question:

I have talked to a number of people with nickel allergies, and want to make jewelry these folks can wear without having a reaction. What kinds of wires are nickel free, and how readily available are they?

-Dorothy in Prineville, Oregon

Answer:

Hi Dorothy, we have had a many good discussions on wire that should not react to people in an adverse way. However, because each human being produces and excretes varying amounts of different chemicals, including salt, it is really difficult to say exactly what will not cause an allergic reaction to everyone! I compiled this list of metal allergy discussions we’ve had for you:

In the discussion under Jewelry Wire for Earrings we find that some folks are even allergic to surgical steel and that niobium is one choice. Niobium wire isn’t generally available on the market, but findings such as ear wires can be found online.

The discussions under Purity and Sensitivity with Argentium® Silver several folks agree with me about using this special metal wire for those with nickel allergies because Argentium contains absolutely no nickel whatsoever!

Metal Beads for Ear Wraps also talks about metal allergies, and one reader recommends using fine silver.

And the Hypoallergenic Ear Wires discussion reminds us that titanium also contains no nickel.

As far as being available, Wire-Sculpture stocks Argentium wire, and there are many places on the Internet where you can find the other choices mentioned. I hope these ideas answer your question, Dorothy. Happy twisting!!

Editor’s Note: Generally speaking, gold is nickel-free, so gold filled wire (being a thick layer that won’t chip or scratch) is also safe for those with a nickel allergy. Pure silver doesn’t contain nickel; sterling (92.5% silver) is generally considered safe for those with a nickel allergy. And as you likely already know, “hypoallergenic” does not have a regulated meaning in the U.S., so “hypoallergenic” products may well still contain nickel. However, European standards prohibit more than 0.05% nickel in jewelry, so our European customers must be far more careful!

Your turn: What wires do you trust for your nickel-sensitive clients? Have you tried any “hypoallergenic” metals like fine silver or niobium, and what were your results? Let us know in the comments below!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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