Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

White gold allergy


#1

Hello

I am a jewellery retailer but I out source my manufacturing to local
workshops. I have recently made wedding rings in white gold 18kt with
rhodium for a client who claims she is allergic to them. The workshop
ensures me there is no nickel in the alloy and the customer is asking
if we can put a hypo allergenic coating on them. My question is, is
there such a coating available and if so what is it and where can I
get it done.

Julie Hazell GIA (A.J.P.)


#2

This sort of problem besets us all on rare occasions, its fraught
with all sorts of variables such as, are they personal friends or
just another customer off the street or, could they be allergic to
most metals, Ive had folk who are, where are they living? like
Florida? high humidity and temperature? What is the profit margin on
the sale? is it worth the hassle trying to help out with their
request?

Sometimes its just better to say your not able to help out in this
occasions and give them their money back. then your free to sell the
rings to someone else who isnt allergic to white gold.

If you want to see this one through you would need to be sure its
got no nickel in and have it assayed.

Also as to lining it with a non allergic lining, fine gold? titanium?

not as easy and permannet as the customer expects. If it was me its
money back and start from square one again with them Perhaps there
allergic to marriage!!


#3

some times customers make up stuff they want :slight_smile:


#4

Judy- Simply rhodium plate the ring. That should take care of any
nickel allergies. Your shop should be able to do that.

Often “metal” allergies are really soap or cosmetic allergies. Soaps
and cosmetics often get trapped under a ring and will cause a rash.
Especially if they are wide rings.

I’m allergic to detergents. I always carefully rinse under my ring
with clear water after washing my hands. If I get into some really
strong detergents or bleach I rinse with a little distilled white
vinegar in the water.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#5

First I would make absolutely certain there is no nickel in the gold
because generally palladium white gold is not rhodium plated. So I
would question why it was rhodium plated. Another issue is that
nickel is not the only metal that people can be allergic to so your
client may be reacting to another metal in the ring potentially even
the rhodium but that would be quite rare. There are no barrier
coatings that are suitable for rings for long term wear so if your
client is truly allergic to the metal in that ring there is not a
good solution other than replacing the ring. Before that happens you
might suggest she visit an allergist to verify that it truly is a
sensitivity to the rings. There are several other medical conditions
that may appear to be an allergic reaction but are not. You can help
by getting the client a small sample of the metal used in the rings
to provide to the Allergist so that they are able to patch test the
exact material.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#6

Silver is the obvious metal to plate with but it beats me as to why
they want a coating on 18k gold other than Rh. Some 15% of women
claim to be nickel allergenic and 5% are so I bet the customer falls
in the 10% with imagined problems (but you can’t cure that)
Allergies to other metals used in jewellery are rare and allergy to
silver unknown (real, not imagined). You may want to consider whether
you need this customer unless they can be specific about their immune
system foibles.

Nick Royall


#7

If this is in the USA, it’s likely that the white gold DOES have
nickel in it. Palladium white gold is not currently the standard
here, as far as i can see. I know I’ve replaced a number of 14k
nickel-bearing white gold rings to which the owners became allergic;
I generally use 14k palladium white, and no one has yet had a
problem.

It’s my understanding that rhodium is a fairly hypo-allergenic
coating itself; it’s certainly not very reactive.

If the shop that constructed the piece(s) did that using stock parts
from, say, Stuller’s- it’s very likely indeed that the alloy
contains nickel, and y7our client is very sensitive to that… but
that’s just my guess. You might ask to see the receipts for the
matirials they used to make this stuff, and then check with the
vendor about whether or not they are nickel-free.

Also, some solder contains nickel.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

-Amanda

Amanda Fisher
http://www.afmetalsmith.com


#8

That would make me one of the 5 per cent with nickel allergy. The
blisters raised on my wrist from wearing a watch at an athletic meet
were itchy for weeks. An acquired allergy and no cheap watches for
me any more. It’s true - some people do like to be ill but gloves for
me if I might have to handle something irritating from now on. But I
have to say I wouldn’t think of returning something I went out and
sought deliberately. Some people just want to wear something for an
occasion and then want their money back.


#9

Hi Julie,

Nickel white can cause a reaction in some people.

Gold can cause a reaction in some people.

Palladium can cause a reaction.

Rhodium can cause a reaction.

Titanium can cause a reaction.

Silver is reaction free.

Platinum is reaction free.

Don’t know what coating you can put on it that would last a
significant amount of time.

Regards Charles A.


#10
This sort of problem besets us all on rare occasions, its fraught
with all sorts of variables 

One variable that I have not heard mentioned yet is sharp edges,
especially under the perforations where stones are set. Whatever the
cause or irritation or rash a sharp edge is more likely to abrade the
skin and increase the likelihood that an irritant or infection will
cause trouble.

A big part of the problem is that people do not like to change their
minds. So if they think that they are allergic they will be very
resistant to any other explanation. In cases where personal hygiene
is a possible cause for the problem, it is especially difficult to
negotiate a solution. There is a certain personality that wants to
always find someone to blame for any problem. You have to be honest,
but you also have to be tactful.

Going back to the original question, some people are irritated by
just about anything. How special an effort, how much trouble and how
much extra expense can you invest in a piece when there are so many
variables? I have a project on my bench this morning where I am
replacing a gold ring with a very expensive platinum ring because the
customer had dermatitis issues. Will it work? Who knows? Fortunately
the customer is being reasonable and we have talked it through that
while we have experience with this sort of thing, we are not
qualified to diagnose the medical cause of their affliction and
cannot guarantee anything other than our materials are what we say
they are.

Stephen Walker


#11

Julie,

There are no coatings that are a permanent solution. The first thing
you should do is ask your jeweler exactly what alloy they are using
to make 18kt white gold. One that you might consider using is an
alloy high in palladium content. It will cost more to do but should
take care of the allergy problems. Generally the other alloys used
with a palladium alloy mix are copper and zinc and sometimes silver.

Greg DeMark
http://www.natureinspiredjewelry.com


#12
Some 15% of women claim to be nickel allergenic and 5% are so I bet
the customer falls in the 10% with imagined problems (but you can't
cure that)

Nick: Women, or men either, don’t imagine they have allergies. They
may have the wrong diagnosis and the condition may be self-diagnosed,
and it may be, as Jo mentioned a soap or cosmetic allergy. But
really, claiming that 10% of women have imaginary problems is so-o-o
19th century.

Maureen M


#13
Some 15% of women claim to be nickel allergenic and 5% are so I bet
the customer falls in the 10% with imagined problems (but you can't
cure that) Allergies to other metals used in jewellery are rare and
allergy to silver unknown (real, not imagined). You may want to
consider whether you need this customer unless they can be specific
about their immune system foibles. 

Talk about blaming the victim here. I personally am very allergic to
nickel, and I’ve had casters tell me they didn’t use a nickel alloy
when they actually did, but didn’t think anyone would know. After
testing they were proven wrong, but I knew just by handling it. Yes,
a lot of people are actually allergic to nickel, both women and me.
To say the solution is to consider getting rid of the customer is
outrageous.

Your response smacks of chauvinism, which I thought was long dead. I
remember back in the 60s and 70s when a woman would go to a (male)
doctor, he would often diagnose whatever it was to “hysteria” and
prescribe Valium. For some reason your post brought up that old and
deeply buried scenario in my mind.

To the original poster of this thread, I would recommend listening
to your customer and questioning your caster.


#14
Also as to lining it with a non allergic lining, fine gold?
titanium? 

Am I the only person whose rings touch the adjacent fingers? Every
time the subject of allergy to ring metals comes up, at least one
person recommends lining the ring with a different metal. How does
this solution help with keeping the offending metal away from the
adjacent fingers, which would also surely show signs of the metal
allergy? I don’t mean to sound as if I’m being deliberately
difficult, but it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Helen
UK


#15

This needs to be looked at a bit more closely. One has to assume
several things here in this thread,

  1. that the customer asked for white gold,

  2. the maker in good faith delivered on the order.

  3. the maker is in business to earn a living.

  4. one accepts the customers word that the wearing of the ring
    causes the allergy.

  5. the ring has no nickel in its alloy. So its now gone wrong, Its not
    the jewellers fault,

We cannot be sure its the customers fault. Neither is the jeweller
running a charity, where he/she can remake the ring in every metal
known to man for the customer to tryout.

Also no one responding to this thread has said"get rid of the
customer". So its no way outrageous to say to the customer I ve done
my bit but its hasnt worked as you wanted, ill give you your money
back as a gesture of good faith, implying im released from any
further obligation to you. the customer should be pleased to get his
money back, it you hire a lawer wether you win or lose you STILL have
to pay his fee. How you deal with your customer is up to you, if you
want to devote all the time in the world to this issue, with no
guarantee of success

Thats up to you.

We must all run our business as we think fit. Id say its outrageous
for the customer to expect you to do more than whats outlined above.
If you go to a store and buy something then take it back with
nothing wrong with it, you dont have the right to get your money back,
if its faulty then you will. This precedent in business is quite
clear. As jewellers it shouldnt be any different for us or our
customers…


#16
Talk about blaming the victim here. I personally am very allergic
to nickel, and I've had casters tell me they didn't use a nickel
alloy when they actually did, but didn't think anyone would know.
After testing they were proven wrong, but I knew just by handling
it. Yes, a lot of people are actually allergic to nickel, both
women and me. To say the solution is to consider getting rid of the
customer is outrageous. 

Getting rid of the customer is a very poor idea if you want to stay
in business. Service should be your number one priority.

There are women that are allergic to sterling but can wear gold,
women who can wear sterling, but no gold, white or yellow. Some
women are allergic to hypoallergenic, aka stainless steel. Some women
can wear stainless steel, but not sterling or any gold. I have made
or sold over 300 white gold rings, and I have not had one person have
an allergy to nickle white gold. I am in no way saying there are not
people who are allergic, I just have not met one.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#17

Maybe it’s the tight contact on the finger that’s a problem.

I wore a 9ct white ring a while back, my finger would get itchy and
angry under the ring. The other fingers were fine, so maybe for me a
lining would have been okay.

I thought for a long time that it was just irritants getting caught.
However an 18ct yellow gold ring is totally fine.

The idea would be to find out what the customer has worn prior to
this piece ow jewellery, and to see if there were reactions there
also.

Regards Charles A.


#18
Don't know what coating you can put on it that would last a
significant amount of time. 

try hair spray


#19

That person most likely has eczema tell them to see a dermatologist


#20

We have run across people with severe allergies to nickel, even in
small percentages of the total alloy. The best solution without a
complete remake in another alloy…is to create an inlay in platinum
or sterling. These can be expansion fitted, flanged into place,
laser welded…and they are totally invisible. Usually done within a
couple of hours.