The drawback of buying cheap jewellery


Rok Chix jewellery is nickel-free

If you’ve ever suffered a nasty rash after wearing jewellery, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide have an allergy to a metal called nickel, which, when it comes into contact with skin, results in itching, burning, redness and even swelling and blisters if you’re particularly allergic.

Nickel is commonly found in cheaper jewellery – that is, jewellery that’s not made from a precious metal such as silver or gold (if it was cheap and doesn’t have an official hallmarked, it’s probably made from a metal alloy containing nickel) – as well as coins, belt buckles and even some mobile phones.

The reason I’m talking about this now is that scientists from Germany think they’ve discovered why nickel triggers a reaction in some people. Nickel, say the researchers, binds to a protein (TLR4, incase you wanted to know) that is involved in the immune system. When nickel binds to TLR4, the immune system believes it’s a threat and fights back by triggering inflammation. The report has just been published in the medical journal Nature Immunology (again, just incase you wanted to know).

What they don’t say however, is why some people react to nickel while others don’t. But bearing in mind that anyone can develop an allergy to anything at any time, it’s best – whether you’re allergic to nickel or not – to stick to silver, gold and platinum where jewellery is concerned (unless you like the red raw look, that is).

Having said that, some unfortunate people are also allergic to precious metals, though it is fairly rare.

Rok Chix jewellery is guaranteed nickel-free (apart from the slight trace of nickel that may be present in some sterling silver, that is – though this shouldn’t be anything like enough to trigger an allergy in even the most sensitive allergy sufferer).  We only ever use sterling and fine silver, never any other metals. Our gemstones are all genuine too – we don’t use man-made crystals such as Swarovski (not that I’ve ever heard of an allergy to manufactured crystals or glass, that is).

Rok Chix jewellery is hallmarked according to UK legal requirements, which means some of our lighter jewellery – earrings, for instance – don’t have hallmarks as, by law, only items where the total silver content weighs more than 7.78g have to be hallmarked. There again, many of our items that weigh less than 7.78g are hallmarked (because we know people like to see a hallmark). Usually it’s just the earrings and tiny little charms, where there’s no room for a hallmark anyway, that aren’t.

So remember, cheap jewellery may seem like an irresistable bargain, but you could end up paying for it through your skin.