Nickel definition and application

First of all, let’s understand what nickel is. According to the Wikipedia definition, Nickel is a silvery-white metal with a slight golden tinge that takes a high polish. Nickel is a vital metal for a variety of industries.

It is highly versatile metal that will alloy with most other metals, what makes it easy to work with.

It's high versatility and its outstanding heat and corrosion resistance have led to its use in a wide range of applications; such as Aircraft gas turbines, steam turbines in power plants and its extensive use in the energy and nuclear power markets.

And of course let’s not forget nickel plated jewelry and even nickel-plated faucets, nickel–steel alloy cookware, nickel-pigmented dishes and much more domestic applications we have never thought about as containing nickel.

nickel alloy in jewelry

3 good reasons why you should choose nickel free jewelry:

1. Nickel is everywhere - Our everyday exposure to nickel

Did you know that nickel is found both in our food and water? In fact, the major source of nickel exposure is oral consumption which can be even higher thanks to human pollution. We’re exposed to nickel every day –

  • While we’re cooking using nickel pigmented dishes that release nickel into our food;
  • While we’re drinking our water that earlier was contaminated by nickel-plated faucets;
  • Those of us who smoke absorb nickel directly from tobacco smoke because the atmosphere is polluted by nickel metal refining and fossil fuel combustion;
  • And of course, let’s not forget skin contact with nickel jewelry;

2. Everyone can develop nickel allergy and even cancer

Somehow, our kidneys can remove most of the nickel absorbed by us during the day, but larger doses of nickel or constant exposure to nickel may develop nickel allergy.

No matter how old you are, 4 or 60 – everyone, at any age, can develop nickel allergy, and in the worse cases even cancer. Yes, cancer! Why? Because, Nickel compounds, as a group, are carcinogenic and cause lung and nasal cancer.

3. You can prevent nickel allergy - wear only nickel free jewelry

You can prevent it!

So, though we can’t control atmosphere pollution and other nickel consumption, we can avoid our exposure to nickel by wearing only nickel free jewelry.

The best solution is the prevention. You can prevent a nickel allergy from developing by avoiding jewelry that contains nickel and this is pretty easy these days.

There is plenty of beautiful nickel free rings, earrings, bracelets and other jewelry since the consciousness to the nickel harm has raised.

nickel free earrings
By the way, metal allergies are rarer in men – only 6 percent of men suffer from contact dermatitis and need hypoallergenic alternatives.

But, as I’ve said before, constant exposure to something that has nickel can develop nickel allergy.

Test if you’re really allergic to nickel

How can you know if you’re allergic to nickel?

  1. If you wear nickel jewelry and you have skin irritation or rash, there's a good chance you’re allergic to nickel or some other dirty metal that your jewelry contains.
  2. You can also go to your doctor who can diagnose a nickel allergy by looking at your skin. He will probably also ask if you’ve touched any metal that might contain nickel.
  3. There’s also a skin patch test. The doctor put tiny amounts of nickel and other allergens on patches and put them on your upper back for 48 hours until the reaction appears. 

Sometimes we confuse rash and irritation skin with nickel allergy.

For example, once one of our clients was sure he’s allergic to nickel that has his wedding ring. He did the nickel test and realized that it’s not nickel allergy.

The change of the soap he was using combined with the moisture trapped under his ring was causing the problem.

The solution to that kind of “allergy” is pretty easy – dry your hands well after washing and after applying hand cream or other cosmetic products that may cause rash and skin irritation when combined with the metal of the jewelry you wear.

Why jewelry manufacturers use nickel?

If nickel alloy is pretty toxic to us and we really have enough of it from our food, water, and even air. Why so many jewelry manufacturers use nickel?
The answer to that is pretty simple: to decrease costs of production, of course! They want to save money.

Jewelry manufacturers use cheap metal alloys like nickel to save some money. That’s why nickel free jewelry is usually more expensive than jewelry containing nickel. But it's totally worth it, so don't go cheap on your health.

Buy less jewelry, but choose only nickel free

Now, after you know the truth about the nickel, you probably ask yourself where to find nickel free jewelry and how to identify nickel free hypoallergenic jewelry.

You might also ask yourself what to do with your wedding ring that apparently contains nickel. Don’t worry, we will answer all of those questions in the following blog posts.

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