Give the Jewelry, Not the Rash

"Darling, Whenever You Get a Jewelry Rash, Just Think of Me."

Well, it sounds pretty silly when you say it that way. When you give a gift to someone you love, the last thing you want to do is to harm them. But if you're not careful, this is exactly what will happen.

Christmas is on the way, and it's time to think about what you're stuffing those stockings with.

Many people, like myself, know we have a nickel allergy. We know how to avoid it and make smart decisions about what to buy. But when you get a gift, you get surprised. Surprises are what gift giving is all about and what makes it fun. But sometimes your surprise can backfire a bit.  If you receive jewelry you really can't wear, you are presented with some awkward choices. It seems that no matter what you do, people end up disappointed. You may even end up wearing irritating jewelry just to help smooth over feelings.

Niobium Chandelier Earrings with
Onyx & Pewter Beads
Okay, so consider another angle. Dating someone with a nickel allergy has got to be tough. There comes a certain point when you want to buy more than greeting cards for your sweetheart. You wants to get something that will remind her of you for a long, long time. Jewelry is often a great choice because it's something truly unique that is guaranteed to fit. What you may give her if you're not careful though, is a nickel allergy - wrapped and packaged with a pretty bow.

Even some high quality jewelry can contain nickel in the alloy or the plating, and therefore cause or irritate an allergy. Now consider that many people with a nickel allergy don't know what they're really allergic to.  And consider that many people who don't have the allergy yet can still get it if they're exposed to nickel. Also consider that many of the people who will get nickel allergy in the future . . . are children. This is so important it gets it's own special heading . . .

What's in Your Child's Stocking? 

Now, I will preach. Children are young. (Brilliant, Donna, what else don't we know?) They will not buy their own jewelry for years, but will be entirely dependent on family and friends who will happily choose it for them. A child has, as far as I know, the same likelihood as anyone else of developing a nickel allergy, with some important exceptions.

Children often start with one high-quality pair of stud earrings (often 14K Gold, or Surgical Stainless Steel). Even if your child gets through the initial piercing without acquiring a nickel allergy, there are years of choices to make, and gifts from friends and relatives to navigate. Any well intended aunt, grandparent or best friend's mom may decide to get some of the "cheap and cute" earrings marketed for kids. I'm thinking here of the cute and shiny earring studs you get by the dozen on a large attractive card at the discount store. Now, if high quality jewelry has its pitfalls, this stuff is a trap. Please use what you know about Nickel Allergy here and now - it's shiny, it's cheap, it's guaranteed to contain nickel.

The idea that you give this stuff to kids as a cute gift or a "stocking stuffer" is really offensive once you think about the damage it can do to the health of your child's skin for the rest of her life.

Violet Bell Flower Niobium Earrings
On the surface, it seems to make sense to buy kids cheap jewelry, because kids are, well, you know, kids. They lose stuff, they break stuff, they don't always appreciate what you give them. Those pink daisy earrings at The Dollar Store are cheap and will tide her over until she's "ready" for "good" jewelry.  .  . So do you recognize the problem now? Your child's body is the thing that you would jump in front of a truck to save, and here you are giving her something that will cause her pain and skin problems for the rest of her life.

Don't forget that nickel allergies, like all allergies, don't show up on the initial exposure. It may take months or years for the allergy to appear in the form of a rash. By the time it does, it's source will be unclear, but rash will last a lifetime.

My suggestion for most parents who want their child's ears pierced at an early age, is to have just couple of pairs of good quality earrings that you know she or he will keep  in, and you know for certain does not contain nickel. I think you'll find that a couple pairs of guaranteed nickel-free earrings is a lot less expensive in pain and even dollars, than those drawer-fulls of cheap earrings made with mystery metals.

At this time I don't have a special "section" of earrings at Naturally Nickel Free that is called Children's Jewelry, but I give my customers credit for knowing what fits them and what fits their children. Many of the dangles are very petite, and small hoops are always a good choice. I offer Post earrings and intend to offer more varieties of sizes in the future.

So . . .

Bali Silver and Gemstone Earrings
with Niobium Earwires
When you buy a gift, think about what you're really giving them. If you love a person enough to give them a gift of jewelry, then you love them enough not to saddle them with a nickel allergy for the rest of their life. This also highlights why I emphasize that nickel free jewelry is good for everyone. You don't have to already know you have a nickel allergy to benefit from knowing your jewelry is safe.

So let you sweetheart or friend remember you for the jewelry you gave them and the good times you shared, not for the rash you left them with.

Do you want to learn more about nickel allergies? Click Here.


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