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Palladium white gold allergy

hi all…

well, i just got married in september. my studio mate and friend,
geoff giles, made my engagement ring which i have worn since
february 2007. it is 18k palladium white gold from hoover and

i made the wedding band. it is 18k palladium white gold from hoover
and strong.

one band is 3mm, the other is 4mm. each one has 1.8-3mm diamonds all
the way around. they are not too small, and i take extreme care to
dry my hands after washing. i also do not work in my rings anymore
in case some pickle or other irritants get trapped underneath.

i have developed some sort of allergy, where i have 2 distint bands
of allergic reaction around my finger, which are red and sometimes
blistery. i tried wearing the rings this morning as i was out and
about at appointments, and my finger swelled and itched and hurt an
hour after putting the rings back on after three days of not wearing
them. i had to take them off.

what is the problem here? i thought i was safe since hoover’s
palladium white gold has no nickel! i am upset and confused. do i
need to —god forbid— make new rings out of yellow gold???

i also have to admit that i do not really wear jewelry, and this is
the 1st time i have worn gold for any extended period of time.

any thoughts on this matter for me?
thanks so much!

joanna gollberg

Hi, and I’m sorry to hear about your allergy.

Firstly I’m going to ask two rather obvious questions the first do
you or can you ware regular gold jewellery, and the second do you
have any Tru-Pd bands you might try wearing to see if you react to
palladium. Ok the second isn’t really that obvious nor is it really a
question but more of diagnostic.

The other question I have is more for H&S, but there probably is/are
other metals in the alloy and you have to find out what they are and
if your sensitive to them.

The last thing is you might (and this isn’t all that likely as you
see it on your other fingers, maybe) have a fungal infection…



May I suggest a visit to a dermatologist for a metallic allergy
screening? Several things are possible here. You might be allergic to
one of the other elements in the ring-its not just gold and palladium
usually. There may be copper, and or exotic elements to enhance the
casting or hardness. Ask Hoover for a review of the normal alloy

Are the rings hollow in back? That can trap moisture and soap.

Daniel Ballard

Dear Orchid List:

We have discussed the half dozen PGEs (Platinum Group Elements) on

Amazingly, though they are all called “platinum”, some of them weigh
2x the others! The SG of palladium is 12 but the SG of osmium is 23.

Also there are colour variations.

Are there jewellers here who can comment on differences in working
with them in small sizes and shapes?

One reason I am asking is that I will be doing some prospecting in
the area of Princeton, BC this spring. The Tulameen River there is
only the second river in the world which has produced commercial
quantities of PGE. Yet the “mother load” in the surrounding mountains
has never been found. The more I know about the “behaviour” of PGE,
the more likely I will succeed.



It may be that you are reacting to any one of the elements in the
alloy. People can have allergic reactions to palladium, silver,
copper, and yes even gold and platinum as well as the more notorious
nickel. Nickel is just the most common and well known one. Go to a
dermatologist, have them look at the rash and to get tested for
sensitivity to metals to find out what the problem element(s)

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


May I suggest a visit to a dermatologist for a metallic allergy

It seems a little obvious so I haven’t said it till now. If the
culets of the stones are poking through the bottom it will do the
same, sometimes. Not an allergy, just plain old scratching…

okay i will through in my 2 cents,

welp I personally used to wear a stainless Tissot watch band,had to
stop since i started getting rashes on my wrist. changed to Swatch
plastic band,low and behold years later did the same thing,and
usually in weather that makes me sweat/moisture. it turns out some
people are allergic to their own sweat if it stays on them long
enough/covered. even the slightest moisture trapped will eventually
do things to your skin. the point I was getting at is I went through
a battery of tests and showed no allergies to the royal metals but
to fluoride and zinc and copper…I would highly recomend you make a
few measured tests on your own and see what your reaction is. and
include in that a plastic ring,a paper ring amongst the metals, sort
of process of elimination. and I would try and have the rings all
the same inside contour so as to not doubt your testing. before an
expensive medical test.

unfortunatly there are no set medical rules/findings for us who play
with too many materials /chemicals. I did go to an allergist and that
was the outcome,each case is a unique and individual case. in my many
visits to his clinic I met a 60 year old welder/miner,she had come
down with alergies to the platinum salts,I am not sure how or where
they use that in welding,but she was there tested positive for that.
from that office I learned that exposed enough to a material you
could get allergic to anything. and some materials clear out of your
system fast and some stay in for life.

Hratch Babikian

It’s possible that it’s not the metal at all. You might want to try
changing your hand soap and any creams or lotions that you’re using.
The list of chemicals in these products is downright scary, and
allergies are very common. Of course the residue collects under your
rings if you wear them constantly. Once you develop an irritation it
seems to escalate at a pretty fast pace.

That would be a nice solution to your problem. Best of luck to you.
I’m very interested in finding out how this comes out. Be sure to
keep us informed as you solve the problem.

Hi Joanna,

In spite of the care you take to dry your hands after washing, could
there still be moisture trapped in the spaces under the stones? You
have to twist your rings and move them around to really get all of
that wetness out of those little cavities. Your symptoms sound so
much like what we call “ring rash” that I really can’t think of what
else you might have. Once the skin mantle is broken (by being
irritated by having soap or even water trapped against the skin) it
can take quite a long time to totally heal-- much longer than the
three days you mention and it might require the application of
Neosporin or something like that. I’ve had customers tell me it took
weeks to get the skin back to normal once the irritation had begun
and during that healing time the skin was very vulnerable to being
irritated again.

It’s possible, I guess, that you are allergic to something in the
alloy but I think it is more likely that the inside of the ring is
not as dry as you think. Also, working with a lot of customers, I
see that ring sizes are a variable thing. People’s fingers expand and
contract with weather, consumption of alcohol, salt, airplane
flights, time of day, other things-- perhaps sometimes your rings
are tighter than other times. If they are tighter to your finger this
might encourage the rash more than if there is more air circulation
around the bands.

Any of this sound plausible?

Hi There,

I’m just jumping in on this thread so sorry if I missed something.
Are you allergic to nickel? Even though nickel shouldn’t be present
in your palladium white gold, there was a study published from
Italian researcher Andrea Basso at Santa Fe Symposium in 2006 that
demonstrated individuals that were nickel sensitized could
potentially have a reaction to palladium. An earlier comment
suggested that you try a 950 Palladium alloy to check for allergic
reactions. I think this would be a good idea and probably cheaper
than going to the doctor in the long run. If all else fails, you can
always fall back on the amazing biocompatible properties of platinum.
I have yet to hear of a documented case of a reaction to Pt.

Good Luck,

Teresa Frye
TechForm Advanced Casting Technology

Any ideas as to whether the (allleged) Palladium (SG 12) allergy
also generalizes to Platinum (SG 22); Iridium (SG 22/23); Rhenium (SG
21); Rhodium (SG 12); Ruthenium (SG 13)?

Also, does it generalize to the Platinum-like metal, Rhenium (SG

The SG of gold is 19.

Though Rhenium is as rare and costly as the PGEs, it is not
classified as a PGE. Has anyone worked with it in metallurgy or

PGEs have not yet been assayed for in the human body to the best of
my knowledge but maybe there are some cutting edge assays. Anyone
know? Most of the elements in the soils and rock dusts are found in
the human body.



I believe that those folks who have a soreness or rash where a watch
band, ring or bangle fits on the wrist or finger; may not have an
allergic reaction to the particular material, nor allergy to their
own sweat. I believe that wearing such a strap simply stops natural
perspiration from evaporating, and that the warm, moist,
nutrient-full area, mostly undisturbed beneath the watch or strap,
simply becomes a place where any bacterium is happy to start a
family, and as numbers grow, their by-products irritate the skin.
The most obvious remedy is to simply keep that area very clean by
frequent washing with soap and water and properly drying before
replacing the ring or strap. I had this problem and cured it. If the
soreness is very pronounced, you might wish to get a doctor’s
opinion on how to deal with it.

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ

Hi Joanna,

Why not try wearing your ring on a cord around your neck? If your
chest or neck get irritated, then you’ll know it’s something in the
metal you’re allergic to, and not moisture trapped next to your


This is called “contact dermatitis” and is often seen under wide
bands and especially hollowed out ones. As someone mentioned, this
becomes a green house…


Why not try wearing your ring on a cord around your neck? If your
chest or neck get irritated, then you'll know it's something in
the metal you're allergic to, and not moisture trapped next to your

Maybe! Certain areas of the body may react differently to allergens
than others.

I have had many cats over the years. One cat (and only one) would
cause the skin under my chin (and only there) to break out in hives
if he touched me there.


I have yet to hear of a documented case of a reaction to Pt. 

My memory is not always what I would like it to be. Theresa is right
Platinum is not noted as an allergen but virtually all the other
elements found in gold and palladium alloys are to some degree or
another a potential allergen. The paper Theresa referred to lists a
study where 920 people who showed a dermatitis reaction were tested
for metal allergic reactions and in descending order the culprits
were nickel (28.9% of cases) as the worst offender, cobalt (15.8%),
palladium (8.3%), gold (2.8%), copper (1.8%), silver (0.7%), and even
titanium (0.2%). The only metals tested that did not cause reactions
in this group of dermatitis sufferers were platinum, tin and zinc.


James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


Palladium with a significant 8.3% rating below is one of the six
"Platinum Group Elements".

Sometimes they are all simply called “platinum”.

This is a tangent to the present thread but I am very interested in
any observations of jewellers on the differential behaviour of the
six PGEs and also Rhenium which is platinum-like.