• Lynda Cusack

Earring hooks, metals & sensitive ears

Are you someone who has sensitive ears and has trouble interpreting metal choice when it comes to earring hooks and clasps? You're not alone. Many people will at some stage experience this and its usually difficult to determine how it will wear on you, prior to making a purchase. Its worth knowing that most jewellery sensitivity is nickel sensitivity, followed by copper sensitivity. Aside from surgical grade stainless steel and titanium, all types of metals contain some element of nickel.

There are several types of silver used in jewellery, and inexpensive silver-plated jewellery will almost always contain a high level of nickel. Various thicknesses of plating can of course offer some level of protection, but if the plating wears off, the nickel or the copper can then irritate the skin.

Pure silver, .99 is often too soft for jewellery applications and is therefore often alloyed with other metals for increased durability making it suitable for frequent wear. Sterling silver, 92.5% silver, is an alloy of pure silver, copper and sometimes other metals including nickel. Argentium silver is a higher quality alloy at 93.5% which results in less surface tarnishing but still it contains an amount of nickel. Argentium silver one of my favorites to work with for handmade earring hooks. Stainless Steel, an alloy of Chromium and Iron is a better option for customers with sensitivities. In particular the 304 grade surgical stainless steel, whilst it still has a trace of nickel for strength, its usually far less irritating.

At Salt Spray Jewellery, you'll find a few metals are used. For our long necklaces and pebble necklace you'll see sterling silver clasps. On the earrings there's really all types of silver as listed above. For the Statement Earrings you'll even be given the choice!

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