What metal is best for children's jewelry? What are the best earrings for sensitive ears? First let's start with what to avoid: nickel.
Reactions to earrings are caused by metal allergies, which vary in intensity from mild to severe. If someone has a mild nickel allergy they may be able to wear nickel jewelry for a day, whereas those with severe nickel allergies must not only avoid all nickel jewelry, but also nickel watches and buttons.
When looking for nickel free jewelry, make sure that it meets the European Nickel-Free Standard. Currently the United States does not have a standard, whereas the European standard requires an item contain no more than 0.05% nickel (or no more than 1 part in 2,000). For more information on the European nickel ban, contact the MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America) at 1-800-444-6572.
What most people don't realize is that nickel is present in stainless steel (usually about 8% in jewelry), and will cause reactions in many. Metals other than nickel can also cause reactions. One person may not tolerate sterling, but is able to wear 14K gold. Another can't tolerate 14K gold, but can wear niobium (more on niobium later).
14-Karat gold is 14 parts gold out of 24. Pure gold is 24 karats. This is too soft to be functional, so it is alloyed with other meals for durability, cost and color. Depending on the color of gold (which can be yellow, rose, green or white), the other parts may be copper, silver, nickel, zinc, tin, palladium and/or manganese. (White gold contains nickel.) Those with metal allergies will sometimes react to 14K gold, but not to 18K gold with its fewer impurities.
For those with severe metal allergies, niobium is often the metal of choice. Niobium is an inert, precious metal used for surgical implants, and can be found in a variety of colors when used for jewelry. Most people who are sensitive to metals tolerate niobium well.
While there is no one best metal for everyone, the best earrings for sensitive ears are made from the following materials:
Sterling silver (a silver and copper alloy)
Niobium (a nickel-free inert metal)
Nickel free jewerly
Plastic earwires, posts and post covers (post covers are polyethylene sleeves that go over earring posts so no metal touches the ear)
Any of the above materials are good for children's earrings, with sterling being a good first choice.
Also featured is jewelry care information on both popular and lesser-known gemstones.
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