Surgical Stainless Steel

Serpentine Jasper Niobium Bracelet
Here's another metal that just adds more confusion to the mix: Surgical Stainless Steel.

Some people with nickel allergies can wear surgical stainless steel successfully EVEN THOUGH it actually contains 8-12% nickel. Some people with nickel allergies cannot wear it all. The reason that some people can still wear it is because of the tight chemical bond that the nickel has with with steel. Because of this tight bond, it is not supposed to leech out into the skin, and for a number of people this is enough. If you can wear surgical stainless steel, it can be an economical option to wear, and it is commonly available. You should still make sure is it clearly labeled "Surgical Stainless Steel," not just "Stainless Steel." As with all things, there are higher and lower qualities available. I find that for myself, I can wear it, though I can't guarantee it for my customers, so I don't use it in the jewelry I make.

There are various pieces of jewelry on your drugstore shelf marked "nickel-free," with no other information about what they are. Since these tend to be pretty inexpensive pieces, and because of the look of the metal, I have come to believe that these are most often surgical stainless steel. Again, you can try them, but if you still break out, don't give up. It just means you are sensitive enough to have a reaction to the nickel that is present in it. There are still good, totally nickel free options available to you. You just have to know what you are getting.


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