Showing posts from August, 2010


Please allow me to tell you about Brass.I have latched onto this metal for my own work for a couple of reasons. It does not contain nickel. It contains about 2/3 copper and 1/3 zinc. It is widely available, and has a beautiful warm color. I began to use it more since I obtained some nickel-free / lead-free chain which I discovered I love to experiment with. I have found it greatly expands the number of things I can make, including the great necklace in this photo. 
Even though brass itself does not contain nickel, that does not prevent me from asking questions, and as always, being slightly suspicious. There are times when the "machinability" of brass has been "improved" by the addition of lead. This is much less true with modern brass, though it is perfectly worthwhile to ask (and only buy) if brass is lead-free. 
Also there is a quirk I have learned about only as I have started asking more questions - sometimes the antiquing process itself can introduce trace am…

Silver and Its Evil Twins

Silver colored jewelry can come in many forms. Take note, ask questions, and be a wise consumer. 

Sterling Silver Sterling Silver is beautiful and used by excellent jewelers everywhere. Unfortunately it harbors a few secrets. 925 Sterling Silver is so-called because it is made of 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% is mostly copper and also includes trace amounts of some other metal. This additional metal is needed to act as a hardener, because pure silver and copper are too soft to be useful in jewelry on their own. This trace metal may be indium, lithium, boron, tin, zinc, platinum, or it may be nickel. 
Argentium Silver Like the Sterling Silver we have used for years, Argentium Silver contains 72.5% pure silver.  It also contains copper, but some of the copper has been replaced by Germanium. The Germanium acts as a hardener, so there is no need to used other unidentified metals. This metal also has the effect of making the silver relatively tarnish-proof. It is considered safe for ni…

Metals - What Can I Wear?

As tempting as it is to try to avoid metal altogether, it's not as easy as it sounds. I have been a little long-winded, I think, about what you can't wear - time to talk about what you CAN wear. 

Can you imagine a more perfect metal? Titanium is lightweight, it's strong, and it doesn't react. At all. It's strength means it doesn't need to be alloyed with another metal. The fact that it doesn't react means that not only does it not cause allergies, it doesn't rust or tarnish. It can be anodized to be a rainbow of beautiful colors without dyes, plating or enameling. It is the preferred metal for surgical implants. 
Niobium  Niobium, practically as non-reactive as Titanium. It bends much like Sterling Silver, making it very desirable for metal working. It too can be anodized, and has a slightly shinier sheen than Titanium. It too, is lightweight, doesn't tarnish, and is not alloyed with any other metal. Niobium is just Niobium. No alloys, no hidde…

About Your Nickel Allergy

Nickel Allergies affect up to 40% of women and an increasing number of men too. It's one of those every day inconveniences that can affect you in more ways than you expected.  _________________________________
Piercings are more popular than ever, and creates a prime situation for nickel allergies to start or be discovered.  Any kind of piercing, for any age or gender. A fresh jewelry piercing is a fresh wound. If you put something against it, whatever is in it can go straight to your bloodstream.  Nickel is a known allergen, but continues to be used in a variety of fashion jewelry, or as a hardener in more expensive jewelry alloys. If your earrings or other jewelry has nickel, it becomes possible for an allergy to develop, and begin to show itself over time. 
I was perfectly aware when I started having a reaction to jewelry – it was when my ears got red, pussy, and scaly. Perhaps I was not the most alert teenager in the world in this regard, but I stubbornly believed that if I j…

Welcome to Naturally Nickel Free

I have created Naturally Nickel Free with two ideas in mind. One is to create beautiful jewelry that is of course, nickel-free. The other is to help you understand a little bit more about your own allergy, if you have one, or the allergy of someone who is important to you.

You should understand that I am not really an "expert" in the way experts are supposed to be. I am just someone with an allergy who has read a bunch of stuff. At some point I had read so much stuff for so long, that I really thought someone else might appreciate knowing what I know. Feel free to do your own research, question me, and otherwise think for yourself. If this is a starting point for some information about a rather common but bothersome problem, I will be pleased and proud to be a part of your journey.