Many people go to a specialty boutique to purchase their jewellery, but jewellery, as a product, is available everywhere and at many different price points. We love jewellery and we are surrounded by it :)). It is sold at drug stores and grocery stores! That being said, everyone should know what is SAFE TO WEAR as it is something that comes into directly daily contact with the skin, your largest organ.
Niobium is 99.99% pure. It does not react to skin chemistry, and will never corrode or tarnish. It is the safest metal for allergy sufferers to wear. It is used for surgical implants. From a jeweler’s point of view Niobium is fabulous because it can be easily shaped, is as strong as steel, and has a natural shine. It can be anodized to be a rainbow of colors.
It is a pure element, not combined with any other metal. It does not cause problems that alloys may cause. Even if you have never been able to wear metal jewelry comfortably, you will be able to wear Niobium.
Titanium is as strong as steel, but as light as aluminum. It does not corrode, does not tarnish, and in its pure state, is totally non-allergenic. It does not react to sunlight, salt-water, or any body chemistry. It can be anodized to be a rainbow of colors.
Grades 1-4 of Titanium are pure titanium. Lower grades (higher numbers) are alloys with other metals. Grade 5 Titanium is called “surgical grade,” and although nickel free, is still an alloy.
Sterling Silver is made of 92.5% pure silver. It contains only trace amounts of copper and sometimes nickel, so ask to ensure the sterling silver you purchase has no nickel alloy in it if you have allergies to nickel. Sterling silver is a lustrous metal that is whiter than white gold – closer in colour to platinum in fact.
Brass and Bronze
Brass is made of copper and zinc. Bronze is made of copper and tin. These are nickel-free and beautiful all by themselves. Bare metals or oxidized metals are nickel-free.
Modern-day brass is not produced with lead, although it never hurts to ask to be 100% sure. Avoid “antique” or vintage brass, or brass of uncertain origin. If it passes your questions, wear it and enjoy!
Pewter might be considered to be the inverse of bronze. Instead of copper with a little tin, it is tin with a little copper. This may be an oversimplification since other minor ingredients may include antimony, bismuth, or silver, but it is decidedly nickel-free. Tin, itself has quite a noble history, and is actually classified as a precious metal. Although pewter used to be combined with lead, it no longer is. Avoid “antique” and vintage pewter, or pewter of uncertain origin. Ask your questions, and enjoy wearing this versatile metal.
Platinum and Palladium are rare metal. The name Platinum is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into “little silver.
10 Carat Gold and above
Gold is alloyed with hardening elements, that include some combination of silver, zinc, nickel, copper, and palladium. The higher the number, the more pure gold is used in the alloy. Try to avoid 10 Carat Gold and below if you have nickel allergies or ensure the 10k gold is not alloyed with nickel.
Nickel Silver, or German Silver, is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. If you are allergic to nickel, avoid this one.
Of course. Long term exposure can cause brain damage and birth defects. Avoid, clearly!
Like Lead, cadmium is a chemical element to stay away from!
To Summarize …
You are now probably asking yourself “how can I tell if the jewellery I buy contains trace elements of lead or cadmium?”. Simply put, you can’t.
Below is a link to the Government of Canada site on lead and cadmium in jewellery for children.
It is illegal to import, advertise or sell jewellery designed for children under 15 years of age if it contains more than the allowable lead limits set out in Canadian regulations.
Health Canada has requested that industry stop intentionally using cadmium in children’s jewellery, and is closely monitoring levels of cadmium in children’s jewellery items marketed in Canada.