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Understanding Metal Allergies

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Understandably, if you suffer from various metal allergies, it is important to choose a wedding ring that will not trigger these. We regularly get customers asking for details of what their chosen wedding ring alloy will contain. With this in mind, we have created this handy guide to our alloys and any metal allergies they may impact:

Platinum & Palladium

The platinum 950 and palladium 950 rings we sell are 95% pure. Both elements are non-reactive and will not trigger metal allergies. To make the alloy more workable there is 5% ruthenium in the mix. Ruthenium is a rare metal from the same atomic group as platinum. Due to this,  it is just as unlikely to react with other chemicals or substances. It is a similar colour to platinum and palladium, so won't interfere with their beautiful finish. The ruthenium in the alloy serves the purpose of hardening the ring against wear and tear.

White Gold

18ct white gold contains 75% gold. Because of the high gold content, it is only mixed with white metals such as silver and palladium. There will be small amounts of iridium, another metal from the same atomic group as platinum. Iridium is just as corrosion-resistant and unlikely to cause allergic reactions. White gold alloys may also contain small amounts of boron, which is non-toxic.

9ct and 14ct white gold will usually contain silver, palladium, zinc and a little bit of copper. Zinc and copper may trigger metal allergies.

Unless otherwise requested, all of our white gold rings are plated with rhodium. This is common with white gold jewellery as it preserves its silvery white colour. Rhodium is very tough and hypo-allergenic. This means that even if you do have a slight allergy to one of the metals in a white gold alloy, you may be able to wear it without experiencing negative side-effects. If this is your plan, make sure you regularly return the ring for rhodium plating (every 6 months to a year).

Yellow Gold & Rose Gold

Yellow gold and rose gold alloys contain the same metals as white gold but in different proportions. This is usually a mix of silver, copper and zinc.  Rose gold contains the highest proportion of copper, which is where the pinkish hue comes from. If you are sensitive to copper, you may wish to avoid rose gold jewellery.

14ct yellow gold may also contain a small amount of platinum. 18ct yellow gold will have a bit of iridium in the mix. Neither of these added metals should trigger metal allergies.

Titanium, Tungsten, & Zirconium

The more modern metals such as titanium and zirconium are hypo-allergenic – both will usually be 99.9% pure. A small selection of our titanium rings that require a less hard base material, e.g. titanium rings tension-set with diamonds, will use grade 5 titanium. Grade 5 titanium is 90% pure. This contains 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. It is considered medical grade, and is commonly used for plates and implants in the body. This grade of titanium is therefore very unlikely to cause a reaction!

Tungsten carbide contains tungsten in a carbide alloy with a trace amount of cobalt. While cobalt can trigger metal allergies, this is highly unlikely with a tungsten ring. This is because the cobalt acts as a catalyst for the reaction to make the carbide. It is not likely to ever wear out of the ring and come into contact with your skin. Even with this trace amount of cobalt, our tungsten rings are considered technically cobalt-free. This is because the quantities are small enough to comply with the EU directives.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy which is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. The copper must be present in the alloy to alleviate some of the pure silver's natural softness. copper can trigger metal allergies, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Due to the presence of copper,  sterling silver can oxidise when in contact with air, moisture, or other substances. On rare occasions, the metal can cause a blackening or green effect to form on the skin. Contrary to popular belief, this is not due to substandard metal, but is a natural chemical reaction. This is just a surface reside, and can easily be cleaned off the skin and the jewellery.

Just like with anything, please always check with us if you really need to avoid a certain metal for allergy (or religious) reasons. We source our bullion from a few different suppliers, so the exact content may vary. We are always happy to check in advance of you placing an order to make sure we can avoid a particular metal in your wedding rings.