Thickness of enamel?

I seem to have developed a problem wearing any kind of earrings.
Doesn’t matter what metal, even 24k gold–within minutes of putting
in the earrings my ears start to itch and burn. I’ve tried coating
the ear wires with nail polish but that doesn’t stay on the metal too
well. I was thinking of trying to coat a pair of ear wires with true
enamel to see if that would help. But I’ve never worked with enamel.
Would a layer of enamel on posts or hook ear wires make them too
thick to wear comfortably? Or would the enamel be too fragile for
that kind of use?

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

Enamel, vitreous enamel is glass colored by oxides. Once fused to a
substrate metal, it will not want to flex as this will cause
cracking. OUCH! Maybe what you need is that ‘dip’ kind of thing we
re-dip the handles of tools with, like pliers & such. I am not sure
what it is made from, but it is a plastic or rubbery kind of thing.
Getting the coating thin enough might be a problem. I think there is
some very thin plastic kind of dip-what the heck is used to coat
electric wires and so on that needs to be thin or maybe there is a
medical grade something. And you might want to check the skin of your
ears for a possible infection-there are layers of skin and something
could have taken roost there. This might not be a metal sensitivity
at all. That is what I come up with at the moment. Hope everything
works out for you whatever the problem. It makes me think about ear
hook earrings-something that goes behind the ear and has a dangle or
maybe a piece that has something that comes in front of the lobe. So
you don’t have to pierce or clutch the ear lobe…I can’t stand any
pressure on the lobe area, so it is French hooks for me! May you have
no distress! And a happy holiday season.

Eileen Schneegas
Snow Goose Designs
soon a website but not yet!

Did you try the Argentuim silver? I did some research and suppose to
be good for people with sensitivity with metal.

Kathy- Enamel would be too fragile. It would pop off of the wires
immediately. It would also be too thick.

Have you visited any body piecing shops? Yup, they do have jewelry
for the ears as well as other places. They often have alternative
materials such as bone, plastic and glass. I’d try those as well.

Have you always had this metal sensitivity? Are you taking any new

Have fun and make and wear lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

I always tell my customers who have metal sensitivities to try
Niobium Ear wires - those who try tell me they have no problems with

Kathy -

What a shame! Earrings are my favorite jewelry - I would not look
right without them. So I really feel for you.

“Feel” for real, as well. Wore thicker-than-usual ear-posts in one
set of earholes last week, and the earholes are still sore & swollen.

I work in enamels too, and I believe that the extra material would
make it too bulky to wear comformtably (unless your piercings were
done a long time ago and have sagged just a bit). So far as
durabilitiy is concerned, I think it would be fine, as the
earposts/wires are not heavily stressed during wear…just getting
them in that would be a problem.

It almost sounds like you have a form of contact dermatitis, and
that anything would irritate your ears. Try getting some OTC
strength hydrocortisone creme (comes in a tube) at a drugstore, and
put a bit on the end of the wire/post before you put in the earring.
See if that reduces your problems.

Good luck to you,
Kelley Dragon

I seem to have developed a problem wearing any kind of earrings.
Doesn't matter what metal, even 24k gold 

Have you tried something like titanium or niobium ear wires?
Properly anodized, the skin is in contact with an inert oxide layer,
not metal. Pacemakers are made of such stuff for this reason…


I don’t know about enamelling - but just wanted ask if you have
tried titanium or niobium ear fittings? My daughter can wear gold for
a short time only, but finds the titanium ear fittings far more
comfortable. I know there are also new nylon ear wires available now
(she hasn’t tried these). Just a thought/suggestion.


Can it be possible that it is not the metal that is causing the
problem, but rough edges on the post? One of my friends lamented
that she was unable to wear earrings as she was allergic to the
metal. She then showed me a pair she had purchased, (not from me),
and I found that the post ends were not rounded and smooth and but
had sharp edges. Obviously they had been cut with clippers and not
rounded and made smooth. Every time she tried to wear them they would
scratch her ear lobe, leaving a tiny raw spot which was subject to
infection. She assumed it was the metal that was causing the problem,
whereas it was the burr on the ends.


I don’t think that enamel on earwires would be a solution for you,
but you might want to try a pair of niobium earwires and see how
your ears react to those. Niobium is inert and for almost 100% of the
population will not cause reactions. I have become very metal
sensitive in recent years and can only wear niobium or 18K or higher
gold, so I understand your problem well.

Sandra Graves, Isis Rising
Artistic Endeavors with Wings of Light