Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Follow up to ring / metal allergy

Hi all,

Need your advice again.

Turns out I am allergic to nickel. And despite finding no formulas
for 18k with nickel, the maker of my ring used a caster who uses
nickel in his alloy. January will be a year I have had the ring.
About 1/3 of that time I have been searching for a solution to my
ring finger irritation.

So the question is, do I request that the maker redo the ring with a
caster who does not use nickel? Maybe I should ask for the mold and
take it to my caster then return it to the jeweler for the diamond
setting? Do I have any responsibility to pay for part of this
process? I am getting myself all twisted up here and I am not sure
why I am even asking that questions because as a maker of jewelry I
would redo a piece with no expectation of the customer but would
have a lot to say to the caster.

Could I get your opinions on these questions so I can get my head
back on straight?


Esta Jo
In Philly where climate change is bringing us a warm winter. so far. Last
was in the high 60’s and one day 74!

You dont say what the total ring cost as, thats important as it will
determine what you finally decide to do.

In my view the cheapest option is to stretch the ring up a couple of
sizes, then line it with platinum or say a 22ct gold which has only
gold and silver in its making.

everywhere your skin touches the metal.

You need to compare that cost to all the time your going to spend
trying to get the problem fixed by the maker and caster. Unless you
wrote a specification of the gold and said NO nickel you dont really
have much of a chance in getting your remaking costs refunded.

If you were getting say 100 rings cast ayear by this chap then you
have some lever to get him to make one without nickel in it.

Some of my designs i always line with 999 silver to avoid any
allergy problems.

Esta Jo,

Sorry to hear you you have that allergy. Its something that I have,

It would be best to just plain ask - straight out, honestly and with
a perplexed look (wtf).

He might not know there is nickel in the alloy.

I stay miles away from anything that is white gold- any karat
because of my nickel sensitivity. Before I ever ventured into
metalwork - I had a beautiful pair of 1ct diamond studs. My ears
puffed up in 3 minutes. Besides being emotionally stomped on by the
dissappointment; there was an aha’ moment and learned a life lesson
for what I can lovingly wear and what other people might wear. Its
like comfortable shoes vs 4" stilletos. Your body lets you know what
is OK.

Thinkabout it…what jeweler wants a dissatisfied client?

And - the client is always right, even when they are wrong. The
jeweler should have asked (I would and always do). You could be that
jewelers worst nightmare. I buy from a local refiner in LA (Fell) &
always inquire as to what isin the additive in each alloy I buy no
matter the color of the gold. Lots of people make up their own
alloys as well. His caster had some in the crucible…

I only outsource platinum casting.


PS - please send back the warm weather to LA…its been brrrrrr
cold for us. We’re all freaking out in winter coats and mufflers -
frost inthe a. m & we’re lucky if it gets to a high of 58F.

Turns out I am allergic to nickel. And despite finding no formulas
for 18k with nickel, the maker of my ring used a caster who uses
nickel in his alloy. January will be a year I have had the ring. 

If the original jeweler met all parameters specified at the time you
placed/received the ring; then he has no ethical reason to

If contacted, he may still propose with the return of the original
ring (to recover the gold); that for a fee have the ring remade. He
should not be expected to absorb the costs of replacement.

Good luck with finding a solution for your medical problem.


Hello Esta Jo,

One lesson we re-learn occasionally is not to operate on
assumptions. In this case, we assumed that your 18K ring was free of
Nickle. (Certainly your symptoms were consistent with a Ni allergy.)
Now you know to find out about Ni in any future jewelry!!

Have you discussed your problem with the jeweler, and asked how s/he
would like to handle it? If the design is mass produced, then a mold
exists for a new wax. If the design is a one-off, replicating it
means creating a new wax. An alternative would be to remove the
stones and use the present ring as ametal master for your own
caster. Either way, it’ll have to be a new ring.

Unless you had some sort of guarantee at purchase that the metal was
Ni-free, I have a hard time expecting the jeweler to replace the
ring without cost. Try for some sort of compromise. In your place, I
would want to have my own caster re-create the ring to assure myself
that the alloy was Ni-free.

a metal master, have your caster recast using your gold (at your
cost). The jeweler resets the stones and finishes the ring without
further cost. Youhave the existing ring refined to recover some of
your expenses.

Bummer that you are faced with these difficulties. Hope that the
jeweler wants to keep you as a happy customer and that a resolution
acceptable to all can be reached.

Judy in Kansas, where the big snow bullet was dodged. It’s just
cold. Nextdoor in Missouri - torrents of rain and flooding. Weather
weirding for sure.

If I were the jeweler I would redo it at no cost. Then would jump on
the caster who should know lots of people have problems with nickel
and it is outlawed in most of Europe.

Vernon Wilson
Panama Bay Jewelers

Hi all

one in 10 people are allergic to nickel. So the ring should be
recast without the nickle.

all the best

I am sorry I didn’t reply to all of you. I still have the ring and have periodic problems despite no longer using the hand cream I thought was causing the problem. I just don’t wear the ring that often.
I am not good at confrontation and it has been so long now that I am loath to bring it up with the jeweler. I did ask him to check with his castor and there was nickel in the formula. Who would have thought? I never saw that in recipes either.
It is a one-off as far as I know but I had a mold made of the ring in case I lost it and could have it recast.
If this happened to me and one of my pieces had an adverse effect of someone, I would redo it in a shot. But to ask someone else to do the same causes me to shake.
“Thanks for listening”

Here I am again. I think I am going to have the ring plated in 18k so long as the plating does not contain nickel. Will see how that works. The two other fingers touching the ring have also been effected this time.
Why am I so loath to ask him to redo the ring? I would have offered without charge.

What a bummer. Having a beautiful piece that you can’t wear.
The quickest and easiest way to deal with the allergy might be rhodium plating it.
That said, if you carved the wax and own the design you could make an RTV mold of it and cast it again in a nickel free alloy.
Have you had the ring tested to see if it indeed has nickel in it?
If it does contain nickel then absolutely have the caster re cast it.
-Jo Haemer

Hi Jo,
I do not own the design, I bought the one off ring from the maker. The wax I made is in case I ever lost it. The maker checked with the caster and was told there was nickel in the alloy.

Judy, I am going to do what you suggested. I will check in with the maker about how to do about this. I did not specify Ni free, not thinking I should have to, but have been uncomfortable asking for a complete redo at no cost.

Esta Jo Shifter,
Plating the ring is a short term fix.
I learned a long time ago, it never hurts
to ask for what you need.
If you are polite and explain how your skin
has been affected when wearing the ring,
it is quite possible the caster might be
willing to help remedy the issue.
I do not understand why you are not
being an advocate for yourself?
You have a choice, continue to anguish or take appropriate action for a remedy, which is to
have the ring remade.
I think you have been given enough support
to take an action that will resolve the issue.
The worst that can happen is the caster
will say no, or charge you a fee to redo it.
I think you have more to gain by moving
forward to resolve the issue than more time
avoiding resolution.

You are totally right. I am a great advocate for others but not myself. I am following Jo’s thought process. I appreciate the self-care advice all have given. Way less expensive than a therapist!