John, I just read your post and it reminded me of a problem
I might be having with sterling silver. Recently, I have noticed a
cough that I have obtained and a rash that itches around my eyes.
I was out of my studio for a few days and the rash went away and the
cough. Now I am back at it again and it seems to have come back
G'day Linda Crawford; Firstly let me tell you that I know
practically nothing about medicine other than that I did several
first aid and rescue courses! And the last was well over 20 years
ago. Certainly nothing about allergies, for I assume that might be
your problem. All I can offer is that you make sure that your
workplace is well ventilated with an exhaust system, and that you
wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, then apply a softening
cream. I have never heard of an authenticated case of an allergy
produced by silver or gold. Have you considered that in hot weather
perspiration provides an excellent growth medium for a huge variety
of bacteria? And it may even be nothing to do with your jewellery
work, but possibly caused by some pollen or other? I think perhaps
you ought to seek help from someone who is properly qualified to
offer it. Not much use, am I? Sorry, but Cheers now,
John Burgess; email@example.com of Mapua Nelson NZ
John & Linda, Unfortunately, I have had some experience with gold
allergy. I laughed at the Dermatologist when he even suggested it. The
truth of the matter is, that you can be sensitized to just about
I was an award winning bench jeweler for over 18 years. I had a gold
(18K+) crown installed in my mouth, and after 2-3 years, the mucosa
in my mouth absorbed the metal. Your skin has a natural barrier to the
filings, but your mouth doesn’t.
Over time, I became sensitized to the gold itself. I was tested
(twice) with all the metals, and the only positive reaction was to the
gold. NOT the silver, copper, nickel, or zinc I was tested on. I
suppose it is possible to develop an allergy to silver. Your trouble
seems to be airborne though, if I were to guess. (Medical disclaimer
implied) Is there mold in your environment that wasn’t around before?
By all means, get more than adequate ventilation. Go all out on that.
I had to give up bench work. I went out with a bang though. I had one
of 32 designs voted “best of show” by region, at the 2000 JA Show in
NY. See: http://www.dyber.net/md_finished.htm
I had the crown replaced with a Palladium/silver alloy, and have had
no irritation since. I still have trouble with exposure to gold
filings, but I control it with the highest power cortisone you can get
with a prescription. Needless to say, I avoid both as much as I can.
The effects of the allergy can be seen at my old web site, now
maintained by my brother: http://www.goldart.net/allergy.htm
There is no reward in working all day in pain, or bleeding while
tying your son’s skates. I don’t look back, but I’m moving forward as
an Asst. General Manager of one of the Jared stores in the Chicagoland
area. They have a shop, and it allows me to design, and pass on the
To all that may see this on your hands, get rid of the gold dental
work before it progresses as far as it did with me. If I had known, I
would have spent anything to get the gold out.
Thanks for bringing the list (back) to my attention Howard –
John Christensen, G.G.