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Rhodium allergy?

adv.   Simply Whispers jewelry for sensitive skin

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I have had a allergy to nickel since my ears were pierced (by a Doctor, using surgical steel) 30 years ago. I can wear very little jewelry - I stick w/ sterling, 14k (& above golds, & even then it's hit & miss) & stainless steel. Within (1) hour of wearing jewelry I will either break out or be OK. If a bracelet bothers me my ears begin to weep. I recently purchased sterling jewelry in a "not inexpensive" store & was told it was finished in rhodium. Two days later I had one of the worst allergic reactions ever & one that took the longest to clear. Can I now assume I am also allergic to rhodium? I tend towards white gold & have recently inherited white gold diamond stud earing from my late mother. These are the ONLY earrings I have been able to wear in years. Now I'm hearing that white gold may be finished in rhodium. Is this true? Is there any precautions I can take before purchasing jewelry?
This has been such a thorn in my side I regret ever getting my ears pierced.
Thank-you.

Ginna Logan
CRS / office manager for roofing co. - New Milford, NJ


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Although it is, I suppose, possible that you are allergic to rhodium, it seems more likely that the jewelry in question contained nickel. It is common to plate nickel before plating rhodium, and the rhodium is porous. The allergy problem with white gold is usually that what makes it white is usually nickel.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

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Next time when you purchase white gold jewelry ,ask for nickel free jewelry. and to test it carry a small magnet with you, if it sticks to the jewelry then it has nickel, if it doesn't then its nickel free.

Hitesh Satikunvar
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


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We appreciate your taking the time to respond, Hitesh, but I don't agree that a magnet can be used to determine if jewelry has nickel in it.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Ted I agree with you 100% that is not an accurate staement at all. Sorry. We plate Ni over brass,bronze & stainless,that does not make make the substrate magnetic. Not to my knowledge anyway,unless he knows somthing that we don't know?

Regards,

Brian C. Gaylets
McKinney Mfg. Assa Abloy America - Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.


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Sorry about that last response, I was tired, had a bad day, and was not clearly thinking, well part of my answer was accurate, the other part we'll ignore.....sorry for the confusion. The correct part is that I agree with Ted about the magnet, I don't think that is a very accurate way to determine if there is Ni on jewelry.

Regards,

Brian C. Gaylets
McKinney Mfg. Assa Abloy America - Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.


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Hi, I am a jewelry lover and love to buy it just to wear or collect. my nickname is mini mr. T. I bought a necklace and bracelet from a jewelry store, the guy said it was a 10k gold and rodium mix. but the color of the set is a very dark gold color. he said it had a lifetime warranty and that it would not have any problems. but about three weeks later I have a rash and bumps on my neck, I have been wearing gold for over twelve years with no problems. Could this be an effect of the rhodium or is this just a cheap necklace. what could be the cause of this problem? thanx

Recus Ricks
jewlry collector - Tuscumbia, Alabama, U.S.A


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The cost of precious metals like gold and rhodium varies constantly, but as a rule of thumb rhodium is ten times as costly as gold. So, is there any rhodium within this alloy? Highly unlikely. It's probably cheap jewelry, and it may contain nickel that is bothering you.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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Before my wedding (4/20/07) I got my engagement ring Rhodium dipped so that it would be shiny, etc. for pictures. It is 18K white gold. Starting probably a month after the wedding, my finger has become red and itchy underneath primarily the engagement ring, because it has a wide band.

Is it common to have Rhodium allergy? If so--is it possible to remove the plating?

Jessica Jackson
consumer - Seaford, DE, USA


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My daughter is allergic to most jewelry, knowing this her fiancee had her engagement ring made with palladium.
The jeweler then did the electroplating with Rhodium for shine. I have been researching Rhodium online, and found that some rhodium a byproduct of nickel mining operations in Sudberry region of Ontario, Canada. Please do not assume someone has "cheap" jewelry. If you do not know if the Rhodium came from Canada (bad) or South America (good stuff)
Just for Your information. Thanks

Angela Callahan
- Atlanta, GA USA


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Nobody called rhodium 'cheap', Angela -- it's about 10 times the cost of gold! And don't be misled by the word 'byproduct' in your readings. Whether from Canada or South Africa, rhodium is rhodium, and is very expensive.

It is also true though, that it can be electroplated very very thin - a few millionths of an inch thick. So if something has only a thin plating of rhodium on it, that's not much rhodium.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

January 27, 2009

I received 14KT white gold stud earrings with rhodium plating from my husband for Christmas and my ears become irritated every time I wear them. Is there anything I can change on the earrings to stop this reaction? Perhaps change the posts to platinum or 18KT gold?

Dawn Abbas
- Doral, Florida USA


April 26, 2011

I can identify with a couple of these responses. I ordered a wedding ring guard set. First it started to turn, then it got tighter on my finger & then my hand broke out. I had to go to the Dr. as my hand got worse & started swelling. I've talked to the company to find a solution. I've ordered many things but never had this problem. Thank you.

Mrs. Monica Nelson
HSN - Flint, Michigan, US
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