I have even heard a dermatologist make the statement that sterling should not be worn by those with nickle allergies, inferring that the alloy contains nickle.
I came to the conclusion that people wore plated base metal jewelry
that looked like silver, the plating wore off, the person had a
reaction, and “silver” colored jewelry became silver jewelry, and
they were ‘allergic’ to it.
When people tell me they are allergic to silver, I try to find out if
it is sterling, or plated items. Most people do not know if the item
they had a reaction to was sterling or plated.
30 years of making sterling jewelry, I have never had a person
return something because they developed a rash.
I have had women tell me they had a reaction to earwire, both gold
and sterling, and I suggest that they use bacitracin (sp) or
neosporin, put it on the earwire before putting the earwire or post
through the ear, and come back if they still have a problem. When
they try this it seems to solve the problem. Might
just be that inserting the wire with a rough end can irritate the
tissue it is being pushed through.
Some people have a reaction to hypoallergenic jewelry, some to gold,
some to sterling. Yes, occasionally someone does have a reaction to
metal, but it is really so rare.
Just like some people have a reaction to getting a rash under a
ring. If it is cleaned regularly, no problem.
I did have a woman who wore yellow gold rings, one particular ring
caused a rash. I tested it and it was gold. Make no sense, but there
it was. Suggested that she clean it more often. Don’t know if that
solved the problem.
And do not get me started about people allergic to nickel white
gold. I have made quite a few white gold wedding bands over the last
16 years, and I have never had to solve a problem of having a
customer react to nickel white gold.
I have been using an alloy for white gold for several years that
does not need to be plated with rhodium because of the high nickel
content. Not one reation.
**** If men and women are not having a reaction to high nickel white
gold, why would sterling cause a reaction if it did have nickel in it
(which it does not !!!).
So what is the point of all this. You have a customer who thinks
they are allergic to sterling, this person finds a pair of earrings
that she loves, but thinks she can’t buy them. You are like “Oh, yeah
I know some people are allergic to sterling” and no sale.
I am like “I have heard some people think they are. I think some
people have reaction to plated jewelry that is not sterling. If you
really love those earrings, buy them and try them and if you have any
reaction, bring them back for a full refund. I also know some people
who have sensitivity from the earwires being put through the hole, if
you put over the counter antibiotic on the wire that will help.”
I do not get any returns. And I have a happy woman and happy women
are good customers.