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Silver Sensitivity

Many people have come to the conclusion that they are allergic to silver, and thus must avoid using silver jewelry altogether.  There is such a thing as silver sensitivity, which usually manifests itself in the form of contact dermatitis - a rash that appears at the point of contact. At the point of contact, the skin will feel itchy, dry and crusty, and red.  Blisters may also appear.  Usually, the dermatitis will be restricted to just the area of contact.

Many individuals who believe that they are allergic to silver (or gold) are actually allergic to another metal in the silver (or gold) alloy used to make their jewelry -- nickel. 

Two factors make self-diagnosis a challenge.  First, contact dermatitis may appear several days after contact. Second, a nickel allergy can appear at any point in one's life.  One can react suddenly and adversely to a piece of jewelry long-owned and frequently used.  If the allergy is due to nickel, it is likely to become a life-long nuisance once it has developed.

Nickel can occur as a trace element in silver and gold jewelry.  Although sterling silver is usually made of silver and copper, some nickel may be present in small doses.

It has long been thought that nickel allergies were more common among women than men. However, men are wearing more jewelry than ever, especially body piercing jewelry. One effect is that nickel induced contact dermatitis is on the rise among men.

As with most physical afflictions, it is best to let one's doctor be the source of diagnoses and treatments.  If the diagnosis turns out to be "nickel allergy," there is a test available to determine the presence of nickel in your personal items.  It is called the dimethylgloxime spot test, and your allergist will no doubt introduce you to it. 



Index Of Articles

"Silver 101"
"Sources of Silver"

"Sterling Silver Defined'"
"Silver Standards"

"Silver Marks and Hallmarks"

"Silver Testing Kits"

"The Silversmith"
"Silver Coins"

Plating & Treatments

"Silver Plated Jewelry"
"Gold Vermeil Jewelry"
"Rhodium Plated Sterling"
"Antiqued Silver"

Fake Silver Jewelry

"Alpaca Silver Jewelry"
"German Silver Jewelry"

Silver Jewelry Styles

"Bali Silver"
"Indian Silver"
"Thai Hill Tribe Silver"
"Tibetan Silver"
"Turkish Silver"

Silver Allergies

"Silver/Nickel Sensitivities"
"Hypoallergenic Jewelry"

Recent Developments

"Argentium® Sterling Silver"

"Silver PMC®"

"The Origins of Tarnish"

"Tarnish Removal"

"Firescale (Firestain)"

"Proper Silver Storage"

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