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14K Pd white, is it really totally hypoallergenic?


#1

Hello all!

I have an issue with a ring I recently made for a client–it turns
out that she is possibly allergic to 14K white gold (nickel) and I
need to remake the ring in a hypoallergenic metal. Has anyone ever
heard of 14KPd white giving anyone a bad reaction? I can’t find any
to the contrary but I want to be 100% sure before I
remake the ring.

The second part of the question requires a bit more
Basically I need to remake (and redesign completely) a custom ring
and have no idea how to charge for this.

It is a custom-carved design, carved all the way around with an apple
blossom motif, with three diamonds ranging in size from ~5.3mm to
4.5mm (all grandmother / family / sentimental stones–the ring is
steeped in family lore, etc.). I’ll attach a small jpeg of the ring
(I hope this is allowed!). The ring ended up too “bumpy” and
uncomfortable for her to wear, making her fingers raw where it
rubbed. Turns out that she can’t wear sterling silver or 14K yellow
gold w/out getting a rash; I’m guessing she is also sensitive to 14K
nickel white. The only metal she has ever worn on her fingers is
platinum, but after paying for the first custom ring, she is feeling
like she can’t afford to redo it in platinum; plus the weight is a
little bit of a problem (she doesn’t like rings flipping around on
her fingers). I’m going to completely re-design the ring w/all
stones & carving up top (so as not to be bumpy between fingers, and
incorporate all the elements of open blooms, leaves, twiggy bits,
and buds just opening). I’m going to DREAD sawing it all apart to
remove the stones (trashing the ring! SOB!!!).

I would appreciate any thoughts as to how one might charge a re-do
like this. This has never happened to me and I don’t feel like it was
my fault or hers necessarily either.

Thank you everyone!
cheyenne

[Edit]

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#2

My first choice would be to alloy my own gold using 24k and silver.
Have never found anyone that has had a reaction to it.

In my experience if I designed something that was not comfortable to
wear ie. your ring I never charge to redesign and make it. If
someone is allergic to a metal that is something out of the normal
and I do charge extra for the special alloying. Makes for good
customer relations and they will tell theirfriends as will as next
time they want jewelry you are one of the very few that can make
them something in green gold… I once did a survey of my clients over
a year time frame and found out thatfor every client I made happy
they would send me 10-20 new clients within ayear. Those I did not
make happy took 20-30 clients away. Changed the way I looked at
remaking things for my clients. Ir is advertising…


#3

I have a customer who can only wear Platinum. How about Palladium,
its 95%, and seems to have the same properties but is lighter and
less expensive than Platinum. Regards Hamish


#4

I have had great luck with 14k palladium. no reaction and much
cheaper than gold and really no need for rhodium plating
sean


#5

First

If she knew she was “allergic” to an alloy of white gold why did she
ask for it- if I read it correctly though, it was fabricated in Pt-
why go with any other metal when you simply remove the stones and
reclaim ite Or when you suggested any other alloy why didn’t she
speak up then?- sounds like she either didn’t like the way the job
turned out or buyer’s remorse, if not -your work *was *lacking. In
any case all charges are hers to pay- provided the initial design and
fabrication was what she agreed to, and any “redoux”…is hers to pay
for minus any mistakes you made. but i have addressed this more
below.

A couple of manufacturers claim 14kt Pd is hypo-allergenic. Perhaps
show it to her in writing (Roseco’s current catalogue - triple key,
has a section on it’s properties) and get her to sign off on this
design and agreement too. Or ask, what* isn’t *she allergic to and
work from there. Palladium being a platinum group metal is inherently
hypo-allergenic, however I have seen people develop contact
dermatitis from an alloy of 14kt gold and palladium even though the
palladium was not the culprit but the nickel, etc. in the karated
gold- in that cased it was the jeweller’s mistake not thinking that
the white alloy had nickel in it, and that the Pd wouldn’t magically
neutralise it. You can “karat” Pd, but i think it’s rather
misleading- and that pure Pd is the hypo-allergenic metal: to karat
it with fine gold to be able to mark it gold for assay purposes is,
in my opinion a waste of gold and palladium, Melting down the nickel
based white alloy (14kt) can’t really help you reclaim and re-use the
gold in the alloy, so there is a problem in that she didn’t divulge
there was any problem when signing the proof or initial agreement-
thus the costs are hers- but you could perhaps offer to make her a
seal or signet attached to a handle to use the metal she already
bought, even though the labour would be an additional charge for
remaking it at all ! Platinum is now cheaper than gold- so once
explaining that to her, tell her it will be lighter than before
based on the relative gravity of the metal in relation to the amount
needed…

I would consider fine silver or fine gold though if she doesn’t want
to swing for the Pt and the fault lies in her failure to disclose
chips, flaws, design proof disagreements, etc. Pd is cheaper and can
be used but you’ll need Pt torches, etc…(though I’m sure you have
them already!).

Does sound like you failed to give her a proof to sign - that’s the
first thing I do before accepting or agreeing to ANY custom
/commissioned job. On the other hand if you did show her a sketch at
least, and she agreed to it, then again, all costs, e tc. revert to
being her responsibility as she approved it in the first place. If
however your drawing or model showed the channel being at least as
deep as any embellishment and you accidentally didn’t allow for it
when attaching it/them to the ring’s shank/band then perhaps the
design error should be discounted. but as for “being bumpy”…I have
to wonder what the client thought it would be - provided she approved
that first design and the fabricate order was given! She should have
seen the stones, twigs, etc. and said something then. If you made it
exactly as you initially specified then I’d spell everything out in
writing to this client and remind her of any initial approval she
gave you in writing and that it is exactly as was described/specified
when you worked on the proof- and if you choose to remake anything at
all for this person- though it may be an extra charge, not to mention
pain in the butt, but make a wax model , if not a simple cuttlefish
reproduction and modify the cuttlebone to reflect the design changes,
then get her to sign off on proofs for both design and metal and
agree on a charge for the new model making ( unless it was your
fault- then discount -deeply- the model making) but charge for any
tweaking that may be necessary to the model then either cast it or
refabricate it using the repored platinum and her sentimental stones
etc.

Keep in mind if it was your fault, you shouldn’t charge for the
stone removal- so that line item gets listed as a discount or credit,
and as for the metal- I still say, if she agreed to any alloy she
shouldn’t be complaining about the metal. Otherwise if you made it in
Pt simply re-use the same metal- just charge her for the refining and
labour you will have to do to reclaim it. Nothing lost there.

If something rubbed her fingers raw- it was either the prongs or
stones. I have never seen stones rub anyone’s fingers raw unless
they were chipped. Unless you are a lapidary I wouldn’t re-cut them
but you may, using a diamond lap, etc. repolish them and attempt to
remove any chip- again. Before doingso, getr a signed release so you
aren’t held responsible for previously damaged stones. You should
have noted any chips, etc. when inspecting any stones you
initially accepted
to incorporate into your design *and pointed them
out to the client *and had a waiver ready as chipped stones can
break in setting and with sentimental stones you don’t want to bear
the brunt of replacement unless your insurance covers them. If You
have none, consider possibly selling the client a Jeweler’s Mutual
policy for the new piece, as well as other jewellery she may wish to
add on. It will cover the ring fully although you will have to
declare the inclusion of damaged stones in the piece that is damaged
but sentimentally valuable, which insurers, in general- don’t like to
insure, as such JM being one of the few exceptions for independent
goldsmith’s and their designs.- If however you set it wrong side out
and or above any channel, etc. then it is, I’m afraid, your mistake
and the labour costs have to be adjusted at whatever your rate is for
re-setting.

If she wears other white gold jewellery (that you have observed
personally) then presume she wasn’t happy with the job, and
reconsider taking it on again unless you think you can improve it
considerably. But it’s unclear where all the problems lie.

Sounds like you failed to do some basic inspections, and possibly
basic paperwork and contractual agreement making. On the other hand,
the client may have insisted you use damaged materials that scraped
her. or something else could have done it, or the ring wasn’t
finished properly. very sticky situation. If you aren’t comfortable
remaking the piece simply don’t. Contract it out. If you are
confident and want future business with the client spell it all out-
get her signatures on the appropriate forms and go for it adjusting
if and where necessary. Otherwise if she wears Pt and you have it,
why go to a lower noble metal?re-use the Pt! Particularly if she
hasn’t worn palladium before. Why risk it ( even though the
likelihood of it causing a rash are pretty slim)…If she was rubbed
then It sounds like a design flaw- you must correct.(may just need to
reset the stones deeper and smooth any sharp edges or burs. but when
she initially picked it up if there was no problem, no complaints and
after time passed…

You have to consider all the possibilities. like other jewellery
worn, other causes if the jewellery is made correctly, and whether
you want to continue to deal with this client if you can find nothing
you did was wrong, or not according to her agreed on specifications.
rer


#6
I have an issue with a ring I recently made for a client--it turns
out that she is possibly allergic to 14K white gold (nickel) and I
need to remake the ring in a hypoallergenic metal. Has anyone ever
heard of 14KPd white giving anyone a bad reaction? I can't find
any to the contrary but I want to be 100% sure before I
remake the ring. 

I have never heard of anyone actually reacting to Pd white gold but
there are some people who are sensitized (allergic) to palladium, a
much smaller group than metals like nickel but they still exist. If
you do a quick search on Google you will find several articles about
palladium sensitization primarily in dental alloys. The only metal I
know of that has a almost zero sensitization rate in the real world
is platinum, even gold causes a reaction in some people.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#7
I have a customer who can only wear Platinum. How about Palladium,
its 95%, and seems to have the same properties but is lighter and
less expensive than Platinum.

As an allergy thing I cannot see that Pt is the only metal that can
be worn but if that is what the customer wants then that is what you
must do. The problem is that people with dermatalogoical problems
become sensitised to anything rubbing their skin and even pure gold
has been shown in a couple of cases to produce a reaction. Now, when
they say that Pt is the only thing they can wear it is most likely a
psychological thing that one non-allergenic metal is OK but another
isnt so Pd will be like pure silver, non reactive but can you
convince your customer that it is OK for them? I dont know what the
5% alloy in commercial Pd is as I have only ever worked with Pd/Ag or
Pd/Au alloys that were bespoke to the job so that may be an issue.
The main cause of nickel sensitisation is diet but once sensitised it
is there for life nd that is not psychological

nick royall.


#8

When I have a customer who says they have an allergy to a particular
alloy, but thinks they are not sensitive to another, I will usually
make them a quick, simple band out of the new alloy to wear and
check for a reaction. After they come back and say that there was no
problem, then I go ahead and make them the new piece out of the new
alloy. That has worked for me.

Mark


#9
I would appreciate any thoughts as to how one might charge a re-do
like this. This has never happened to me and I don't feel like it
was my fault or hers necessarily either. 

Hi Cheyenne, for me this would be a situation where I just don’t
make money on the second ring. I’d give her scrap value for the
metal of the first ring, charge her cost for the metal of the second
ring and charge her maybe 25% of what I would normally charge for
labor to make the new ring. I might not even charge her for my time
if I made enough on the first ring. It’s just one of those, try to
build a good relationship moments.

Mark


#10

And, of course, a wider band in any metal or material can cause a
reaction if it traps moisture. Contact dermatitis.

A


#11

Yes wide bands do increase the risk because moisture and dirt gather
behind them, I found that making them curved on inside (Court shape)
helped. I made a 12mm wide gold band for a black customer and he came
back to show mehis finger had gone white under the band!


#12

It’s not always necessary to re-make a ring which the wearer has
reacted to. We have had great success with producing liners made
from 24 k, fine silver, pure palladium, or platinum, as well as
sterling.

The rings can be resized to accommodate the thin (.2 or.3 mm) liner,
or the interior can be honed out if the structure is not too thin.
Determining the actual allergy is critical. If someone tells you
that they are allergic to gold, it can mean that they are allergic
to the alloys in low-karat gold, but they can’t be expected to be
fully analytical about their affliction. Pure palladium works
wonderfully.

Liners can be pressure fit with the original ring flanged and the
liner knurled over the edges, or laser welded into place. Avoid
soldering them, the solder may introduce another culprit.

Cheers
David Keeling
www.davidkeelingjewellery.com


#13

Thank you everyone who emailed me and responded here. My client
didn’t realize she had a metal allergy because she didn’t know it was
possible; the only ring she ever wore was a platinum one (which was
not a problem).

She wanted white gold (b/c of price & weight) and then after she
told me her fingers were irritated around the ring, I quizzed her and
decided that she was probably sensitive to various alloy metals.

I would like to make it in palladium, but the new design (as was the
old design) has extensive carving, undercuts, and fine surface detail
and texture–things that do not come out in palladium casting
(because of the coarser surface after casting) and would be too
difficult to clean up, or impossible without obliterating the
details. Stones were all bezel-set with minimum height possible.

In the end, I am going to redesign and re-carve the piece for 14K
palladium white gold. I’m going to charge her metal & casting cost,
but not my time.

I don’t feel it was either of our faults. I think she’s as
traumatized as I will be to cut up the “old” ring, but hopefully she
will like the new design as much as she did the old one. And I hope
she isn’t allergic to it! I wish I had a 14KPd band to give her as a
trial–that is a good idea.