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Metal coating for allergic customer


#1

I have an embarassing question, but better to ask than go forever
ingnorant on this point.

What in the world can I use as a metal coating for a customer who
has become allergic to all her silver earrings? She shows no sign of
allergy to my rings or my hand-made chains.

I have cleaned it with alcohol and applied clear, hypo-alergenic nail
polish. That is what is done in the hearing aid business when a
person shows an alergic response to the plastic in them.

My problem is that the nail polish wears off, leaving the customers
ears a real mess. My findings suppliers swear that they are using
925.


#2
     What in the world can I use as a metal coating for a customer
who has become allergic to all her silver earrings?  She shows no
sign of allergy to my  rings or my hand-made chains. 

painted coatings won’t last that well, I’d guess. You might try an
electroplated coating, such as a heavy application of 24K gold.
But even that won’t be totally permanent, as eventually that can be
worn through, and with time, thinner gold plating will dissipate into
the silver unless you use an underplate of copper, and preferably,
then nickle, both of which then raise additional possibilities for
allergic reaction.

My recommendation would be to replace the earposts. With a sparkie
welder (or a laser, or the services of someone who’s got such
equipment), you could install new earposts in any of several metal
possibilities. The cheapest, using a sparkie, would be
hypoallergenic stainless or titanium posts, both of which fusion weld
nicely to sterling silver. You could also use gold or even platinum
earposts, which could be conventionally soldered on, or you can get
stainless posts with a solder pad, which then allows use of lower
melting solders such as “tix”, though I have some reservations about
that route. Not sure if the tix solder would cause problems, and it
doesn’t look as nice.

Peter


#3

Un fortunately you are not alone in having customers that are
allergic to Sterling, and even some that are allergic to Surgical
Stainless Steel, Normally those that are allergic to Sterling are
reacting to the Copper, In those that are allergic to Stainless the
seem to be reacting to the Nickel in the stainless, One metal that I
have found so far that I have not had any one react to was Titanium,
I’ve had people react with rash breakouts on Stainless steel backs
and I’ve had [people that were allergic to Gold. But you are going to
have to figure a way to attach studs. I know that Titanium Clutches
are available now But perhaps some enterprising supplier can get
Titanium ear studs that attach with that double stick tape, just
machine the end with a larger round flat end to hold it taped/glued
to the earring PS: if some body picks this Idea up send me about 50
set’s for the suggestion


#4

There are these plastic sleeves that slip on over earring posts.
Supposedly, they are so thin that the wearer doesn’t feel them. The
other option is to re-do all her earrings with gold posts. Hmm, or
perhaps to have the posts gold plated. I know a jeweler who puts
gold posts on all her silver earrings for just that sort of reason,
plus marketing.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Studio 925; established 1992
@E_Luther


#5

Hello Frif: Can you solder 14K yellow posts onto the earrings? Many
times if a customer has a reaction to silver or white gold posts
simply changing the posts can fix the problem. I have even soldered
gold disks and posts so as there is no silver coming in contact with
the ear hole. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA


#6

Try rhodium plating. Most domestic (USA) made sterling goods are
rhodium flashed anyway, but some are not. Earrings will give problems
to someone that a ring of the same material will not because the skin
is more sensitive in that area. Nail polish and clear laquer are
short term fixes at best because they are porous, unless thinned
dramaticaly, and still will be need to be redone often. Rhodium
usually remedies the problem, and needs to be redone periodically on
rings , and not so often on earrings, because of the wear factor. If
rhodium does not do the job, then your customer is contaminating the
item with something of their own daily wear. Ed


#7

What in the world can I use as a metal coating for a customer who has
become allergic to all her silver earrings? I guess you got to check
out if the material has been Nickel plated if not then I think
you could try Rhodium Plating the earrings for her. Take Care Nilesh


#8
    I have an embarassing question, but better to ask than go
forever ingnorant on this point. What in the world can I use as a
metal coating for a customer who has become allergic to all her
silver earrings?  She shows no sign of allergy to my  rings or my
hand-made chains. I have cleaned it with alcohol and applied clear,
hypo-alergenic nail polish.  That is what is done in the hearing
aid business when a person shows an alergic response to the plastic
in them. My problem is that the nail polish wears off, leaving the
customers ears a real mess.  My findings suppliers swear that they
are using 925. 

I would advise that you have the earrings rhodium plated. If they
use detachable ear-wires you could also replace the silver wires with
low-allergy stainless wires. Some people don’t like the shinier
appearance of rhodium, but you may be able to find someone who can
use a pen-plater to just do the wire or post and leave the main item
a natural silver colour. Shouldn’t cost more than a few pounds a
pair.

Clive Washington
Atlantica Jewellery


#9
<snip>  If rhodium does not do the job, then your customer is
contaminating the item with something of their own daily wear. Ed 
<snip> 

I find an amazing number of people who think they are allergic when
in reality they are reacting to the impurtities etc resulting from
not cleaning the earring before inserting it. When they faithfully
use an anti-biotic ointment like Neosporin, they no longer have
redness and soreness.

Toodles!
~ Sherry ~


#10
    What in the world can I use as a metal coating for a customer
who has become allergic to all her silver earrings?  She shows no
sign of allergy to my  rings or my hand-made chains. 

Actually, this sounds more like a fungal problem than an allergy.
Refer her to a dermatologist if the other solutions don’t work.


#11

I am allergic to a lot of different metals. If I have a sterling
chain around my bare neck it makes my neck itch. I don’t have a
problem with sterling rings. For earwires and posts I use niobium
and titanium. The niobium and titanium when colored have an oxide
coating on them that doesn’t bother my metal sensitivity. I have
had some pairs of earrings for over 8 years, the color is still good
and it hasn’t bothered my ears. So I would replace the silver
earwilres with niobium or titanium, which you can order from
Reactive Metals in Arizona, or Rio Grande. Linda Johnson


#12

Hi, Clive, Reactive Metals (www.reactivemetals.com) has titanium
fusion posts. They are “surgical grade” and, if you have the
equipment necessary to work with them, they would probably be better
than any coating.

However, depending on how high end your designs are, and what your
customer can handle, you might want to consider simply using RM’s
niobium or titanium ear wires or hoops. The raw niobium is a nice
gray color that I personally really like to offset with silver. If
the earrings contain colored beads or stones, you could also try to
use matching or contrasting colored niobium. These findings don’t,
however, look “expensive.”

Usual disclaimer, just a very dependent customer.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments