Jewelry causing skin irritation? Here’s how to fix it:

Nothing says disappointment like wearing an amazing new piece of jewelry for a few days, only to have it irritate your skin.

The first step in fixing this pesky problem is to find out what exactly is causing your skin to feel irritated. Is there a rough edge somewhere on your jewelry rubbing your skin uncomfortably? Is your ring too tight? Could you have a metal allergy?

To determine the issue, examine your jewelry first. Check for any rough spots. Your jeweler should be able to grind down any rough or sharp edges on your jewelry that may make your skin feel irritated. A ring that is too small may rub uncomfortably against your finger, understandably causing irritation. Often, you might not even notice that your ring is getting tight, especially if it is one you wear all the time. In the summer time, your hands can swell, causing your ring to irritate you.
Try wearing your ring on another finger for a few days to see if it feels any better.

Skin irritation caused by a ring.
Skin irritation caused by a ring.

If none of these things apply to your situation, you most likely have a metal allergy. The most common metal allergy is nickel, which is used in white gold and Sterling silver. However, every body is different and people can be allergic to all kinds of metals. If you have an allergy, try borrowing some pieces of jewelry (preferably rings, since they come in the closest contact with your skin) in different metal types to find a material that won’t irritate you.

Seaside Collection
Many of the pieces in our Seaside Collection are made with imitation rhodium, a metal that is hypoallergenic and non-tarnishing.

But, this piece of jewelry has never irritated me before!

It sometimes happens that we develop new allergies as we get older. Also, your jewelry could have been plated. Many pieces of silver color jewelry are plated with Rhodium or another white metal. Plating will eventually wear away over time, exposing you to the base metal of your jewelry, which is what is most likely irritating you. This can usually be fixed by having your jewelry re-plated, although keep in mind that you may need to do this regularly. It should also be noted that you should keep your plated jewelry away from soaps, lotions and other personal care products that may cause the plating to wear away sooner.

If you’ve worn pendants or bracelets of the same metal, it might not have irritated you because it wasn’t as close to your skin. Bracelets slide around on your arms a bit, and pendants are often protected from direct contact with your skin by a layer of clothing. You’re most likely to see irritation from rings or earrings.

Okay, so I’m allergic to my jewelry. Now what? 

You definitely have options. As stated above, you can have your jewelry plated. For mild allergies, keep your skin dry where metal comes into contact with it. The trapped moisture allows metal ions to be absorbed into the skin more easily. Another thing you can do is keep your jewelry clean and tarnish free. Also, wearing your jewelry for shorter lengths of time may help.

Keeping your jewelry clean and tarnish free can help prevent it from irritating sensitive skin.

If your irritation is a little more intense, you can also choose to have your jewelry redesigned. This may seem scary, but it could be an exciting opportunity to upgrade your piece. Our talented custom design specialists would love to consult with you and create a design for you that will set your heart fluttering. We will even use your original stones.

If you’re just not into the idea of having your beloved piece of jewelry transformed into something new, we can cast an identical copy in a more suitable metal.

Ideally, we recommend platinum for those with sensitivities, as you are the least likely to have an allergy to this material. Rhodium is also a good choice for many people. 24k yellow gold is also a good choice, as it contains the fewest alloys.

Fill out the form below or contact Pearls International Customer Care at 386.767.3473 or email us at customercare@pearlsinternational.com to request a repair envelope for you to send your irritating jewelry in to our experts for plating or redesign. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have!


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