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"Allergic reaction to 14K white gold band"

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A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2020

November 22, 2009

Q. Hello,
I am responding to the first question posted on this thread. The EXACT same thing has happened to me, after wearing my white gold engagement ring for 1 1/2 years, I just recently got burn-like marks that itch and hurt.

The one thing I noticed is that this started happening after I brought it into the jewellery store to have it repaired and cleaned.

Is it possible that they cleaned the ring with some sort of a chemical, or have removed something from the ring to give me these reactions? I am not familiar with cleaning procedures used on jewellery, or if they even use chemicals.

If this is not a possibility, I will see a dermatologist to determine what my allergy is. Thank you so much for the question (as I thought it was only me with this problem) and the great answers that were posted. I really appreciate your time!

Gosia Komo
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

March 18, 2010

!! Okay, so after a week of wearing my ring I started getting a rash so I took it off. The more alarming thing, however, is that my finger puffed up like a balloon and was very painful at first. Not just swollen skin, like my whole finger has been swollen for 3 days. I am going to try the vinegar/hydrogen peroxide thing, but I haven't been able to find anyone else saying their whole finger swelled up!

Cayla Fisher
- Waco, Texas

December 15, 2010

Q. I'm allergic to nickel. can I wear 14k white gold diamond stud earrings?

I also want to get my ears pierced. can I wear surgical steel earrings while my ears heal?

Frank C.
student - Sacramento, California, United States

August 2014

A. Hi Frank. Some white gold is palladium based instead of nickel based. Try a "nickel-free" supplier like nonickel.com, or buy them when traveling in Europe where leachable nickel is not allowed in jewelry.

I am not an earring expert, but I think the posts of most gold earrings are surgical stainless steel rather than gold.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 22, 2010

Q. I've had my wedding set for about 4 years now. When I first got it I didn't have any issues until I had them soldered together. After that my finger started having a blistery rash. I learned this was due to my allergy to the nickel and I had it rhodium plated. Here it is almost 4 years later and my ring finger is starting to have the same reaction. I took it back to the jeweler and learned that the rhodium plating on average only lasts about a year, so I'm lucky I made it this long.

Other than having it rhodium plated every 1-3 years, do I have any other options? I've heard of having it dipped in platinum.. would this last longer?

My husband has mentioned possibly buying another ring someday, I know that platinum doesn't contain nickel and have been reading up on tungsten and titanium, however the selection for women's rings is not very feminine and came across something called "palladium". Is that a newer option for jewelry? Is there anything you can tell me about it? So far it seems cheaper than platinum, but more versatile than titanium or tungsten when it comes to ring styles.

Any help you could give would be great! My wedding rings are very precious to me and if possible I'd love to save them, but also don't want to continue to have this allergic reaction.



Dawn Allen
consumer - Gresham, Oregon USA

November 4, 2011

Q. Hi there; I've been reading all the comments and it's about the same with me too! After wearing my wedding ring no problems for a year and a half the last six months every time I wear it I get little red bumps that itch insane. They have clear fluid in them then its dries out, flakes, cracks, burns like fire, then the cycle starts again as soon as I wear my ring. So I thought I had narrowed this down to I think a gold but could be nickel allergy. So I had a very good jeweler size my ring up and line it with platinum, but it still happens if I wear it! It has been much harder to get my finger to fully heal. What else could this be? Or what else can I do? Thanks!

Brenna Oberlander
- Fruita, Colorado, USA

November 12, 2011

Q. I also have the same problem but I've been wearing my rings for 2 years and now its starting to spread all over my hand. Should I take them off? Would it help clear it if I did?

Stephanie Miller
- Williamsburg, Virginia

November 15, 2011

thumbs up signI just want to say thank you to everyone for posting about this "mystery rash" and for posting helpful hints on how to take care of it!! The vinegar/peroxide soak and then boil in water seems to have worked!!

Just a background, I have been wearing my wedding band set for three years without any problems. The band and engagement ring are both 14k yellow gold and have been soldered together by my jeweler. The engagement band has to diamonds set on either side of an oval ruby.

Anyway, I do take my ring in for cleanings maybe two times a year, but I also clean it at home with a sudsy ammonia/water mixture and a toothbrush. In the past 8 months, suddenly I started having a rash appear on my ring finger on the side closest to my middle finger all the way up to the area behind where the ruby sits, but NOT ALL THE WAY AROUND my finger. My finger begins to itchy really, really bad, but just in that area. It turns fire red and gets little tiny water blisters and I have to keep my ring off. After a few days, the rash gets very scaly and sometimes my skin peels. Once the rash would go away, I would try wearing my ring again but within about an hour or two of putting the ring back on, the rash would appear.

At first I thought that I might be having an allergic reaction to the antibacterial soap used at work. I thought maybe that it was getting trapped under by ring and maybe it was causing my skin to burn. Especially because on the inside of my engagement band, there are a couple small holes, and I figured that the little blisters were right wear the holes in the ring are.

I brought my own soap to work that does not contain triclosan and I would wash my hands without the ring on. Nope, that did not stop it. I read on-line that athlete's foot cream would help--which it did...I used it for ten days/twice daily without wearing my ring. The rash did go away, but within an hour or two of putting on my ring, the rash appeared.

My jeweler told me that it was more than likely a nickel allergy. However, I had a hard time believing this, because I wear costume jewelry on a daily basis (I am a receptionist) and I never, ever, ever itch, have gotten a rash, or anything from any of that jewelry. The lady told me that my only option would be getting a new ring in platinum...well, I don't want a new ring. I like MY ring and I like the yellow gold as I think it goes well with the ruby. Plus, honestly, I can't AFFORD a new platinum ring right now!!!

I came home on Friday, searched the internet, and this site came up. When I started reading that this same rash was happening with so many who are wearing platinum rings, I knew a knew ring was not the answer. My husband was worried about me boiling the ring, but at the jeweler they use a steam cleaner and I am sure that is much hotter than boiling water!

I soaked my ring for 15 minutes in a 2 to 1 solution of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Then I boiled the ring in water for 15 minutes. I suspended the ring on a string tied to a spoon. Then I just gently scrubbed it off with a soft toothbrush.

I was so worried about putting the ring back on. I didn't want to break out in the painful rash again. It used to itch SO bad. I have been wearing my ring since Friday (took it off to shower, wash hands, sleep) and it's now Tuesday and there is NO rash.

Now, I don't think that this will work for every single person that gets a rash from their ring--some people are having nickel allergies...however, this does lead me to believe that this strange rash that appears on the ring finger, only towards the middle finger side, with tiny water blisters (which there are TONS of messages on the internet about!) is caused by a fungus or bacteria. I don't know if it's the vinegar/peroxide soak, the boiling, or the combination of both that fix the problem. But, I am not taking any chances. I think I may try doing this once a month just to keep the ring clean and the rash at bay. My fingers are crossed and I am SO glad I can wear my ring again. It's a daily reminder of the sacrament of marriage that I promised, and, the ring is too dang expensive NOT to be able to wear!!

I sure hope this helps anyone else with this problem.

Amy Malley
- Prescott, Wisconsin, USA

November 21, 2011

thumbs up signJust wanted to post an update...it's been well over a week since I used the vinegar/peroxide solution to soak my ring and then followed it up by boiling my ring for 15 minutes in water... No signs of the rash at ALL!

Before, I would wear my ring for an hour or two and the rash would start.

So, again, thanks for the suggestion whoever posted it first!

Amy Malley
- Prescott, Wisconsin, USA

January 11, 2012

A. What you might be experiencing is not actually any kind of allergic reaction to metal, but in fact an allergic reaction to what is trapped in your ring. Is your ring hollow in any part on the inside of the shank? If so, what might be happening is that you have lotion, body soil, soap, etc. getting caught inside your ring and building up, to the point of actually damaging the skin it touches. I read that many of you would take off your ring and it would clear up in a few days, but then would put the ring back on and it would return. I would recommend either taking your jewelry to a jeweler to clean, or do it yourself with some windex and a toothbrush, really getting in to any nooks and crannies to clean out the junk that has built up. This is a very common thing that my husband and I see in the jewelry business. While allergies to nickel are also quite common, a lot of times an allergy to a metal is mistaken for this problem. The best solution to prevent this is to either invest in a solid banded ring, to prevent this problem, or be very, VERY diligent in removing your ring(s) to clean, bath, apply lotion, etc. And to also keep your ring clean as part of that regimen. Good luck to all.

Tia Adams
- Farmingdale, Maine, USA

January 17, 2012

thumbs up signThank you everyone who has contributed to this discussion.
It is the middle of summer in Australia and my rash has returned.
Up till now I have tried to ignore the red itching on my ring finger but I am tired of it.
Because we are having a beach holiday I thought it might be the salt water as it happened last year at the same time but all your responses have given me an incentive to act.
I will buy some peroxide tomorrow and follow your instructions.
Failing that I'll try dipping it in Rhodium.
I feel so much more positive as I had thought I might need to stop wearing my rings that I have had for over 10 years.

Julie Ryan
- Melbourne Australia

February 22, 2012

! I just wanted to add to this conversation. I have an allergy to gold. Usually yellow gold but sometimes white gold. I have been to doctor, and had many of the same questions. How come I wore my wedding ring for years with no problem now I break out in an itchy rash and if I continue to wear it, it will break open to an oozy rash. This is what I was told and it actually has made most sense. Every piece of jewelry is cut with different types and amounts of nickel. This is why some things won't bother you and others will. Also this tends to happen more in women, because our hormones can dictate reactions. I have had years were I could wear my ring no problem, yet every pregnancy I couldn't get near gold. Since my last child it has seemed to have stayed with me. Necklaces if fine jewelry don't bother me, but if a cheaper piece I will get really red and itchy. Rings are my worst offenders, I think the moisture and lack of air helps facilitate the rash. Summer is worse than winter, but if it's really cold it will break out too. Good luck. I have tried numerous topical medications, prescription strength. What works best is to just take it off and let it heal and take my rings off at night, make sure I really dry them in between washes, and keep my hands moisturized.

Amberlee Lewis
- Windsor, California, USA

February 23, 2012

A. Hi, Amberlee. It is possible to get jewelry with no nickel in it. In fact, nickel is not allowed in jewelry in Europe and much of the world. It is also possible to get 24 kt pure gold, although it's very soft and may not work for filigrees, engravings, and mountings. Maybe a ring with a 24 kt shank or inlay on the shank would do.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 29, 2012

Q I am having the same issue as the two posters who have pain in joints but no skin problems when wearing rings. It is more of an arthritic thing for me. If I move the ring to the other hand the pain moves there as well. Any ideas on this?

Wendy Crisp
- Silver City, New Mexico

March 19, 2012

Q. My issue is a bit different. I am male, and after wearing my wedding band (white and regular gold combo with 3 diamonds) for about 12-13 years, I suddenly developed a hard red spot on my pinky finger where the band touched it. No issues anywhere else, just that tiny spot.

I am diabetic and as 'boys will be boys' I used one of my sterile lancets to poke at the top of the sore spot. No pain, but it probably bled for 2 hours. And I mean BLED... lots of it. Dumb, I know!

Anyways I stopped wearing my ring. The spot disappeared after a few weeks.

Tried wearing the ring for the first time again this past weekend. Within a couple hours it was getting itchy and red on my pinky finger.

If it's an allergic response, why wouldn't the ring finger be affected?

Dion Lowe
- Leduc, Alberta, Canada

June 8, 2012

Q. My boyfriend bought me a white gold promise ring. I was a little worried about a potential allergic reaction, but I have been wearing it for 5 years now. All of the sudden this morning, my finger is red and blistered. I don't want to remove the ring. Is there a way to prevent/ heal this at the same time without getting rid of my ring?

Theresa Phillips
- Santa Maria, California

April 17, 2013

Q. This is a most interesting post. I have been wearing an 18K gold neck chain from Columbia South America since 1986. I have developed a rash on my stomach, back and neck and have been concerned it might be from my gold neck chain. I have taken it off and the rash and itch seems to be subsiding. Can that happen after all these years?

Ronald Robertson
- Brantford, Ontario, Canada

June 23, 2014


- MUSTANG, Oklahoma USA

August 18, 2014

Q. I have experienced joint pain like the other 3 posters. Does anyone know if the wearing of gold or nickel can contribute to this condition?

Giancarlo A.
- Mansfield, Texas, USA

August 5, 2014

Q. I got my wedding rings upgraded a couple months ago. White Gold. I am experiencing this itchy red area with bumps and flakey skin. I have another white gold ring I wear since 2001 and never have problems. I decided to google and found this web page. After reading the comments I realized something: my other white gold ring is rhodium plated once a year! Now to get hubby to read this! I saw someone say they get it done for $25 what a deal. My jeweler charges me $75. I guess I should check around and ask my jeweler why he charges so much.

Susan Madden
- Buckeye, Arizona, USA

August 2014

A. Hi Susan. What will your auto mechanic do for you for $25? Or your plumber? Businesses have to charge for their time and I doubt that a good job can be found for $25 :-(


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 8, 2015

thumbs up signFor years I thought I was allergic to my wedding set. Yellow gold, I would get a rash, redness, and itching. Taking the set off and applying an anti itch cream it cleared up. Then I discovered, after 20 years, that soap residue that was collected under the ring and the moisture that stayed longer under the ring was the problem. So carefully rinsing my hands after washing dishes, my hands, or cleaning and making sure the finger was well dried, the problem went away. So then I had 28 yrs more before he passed away of itch-free finger. Probably a yeast infection problem.

Kathleen McCauley
- Livingston, Texas USA

June 2015

Hi Kathleen, sorry for your loss. 48 years!


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 12, 2016

Q. Similar problem, but with a bit of different twist. The newer white gold engagement ring will give my left ring finger a rash and itching. I have moved it to my right ring finger--no issues. ALSO, I have put an old 10K yellow gold ring with hollow channels on my left ring finger, with no issues.

I can't figure out if it is my engagement ring--but why wouldn't it cause the same reaction on another finger; or is it my finger--but why would I not have a reaction with a another ring with similar inside construction (albeit different metal.)

A while back, I did do the peroxide/white vinegar boil on my engagement, but that didn't last too long. I'm considering have the hollow portions on the inside sides of that ring filled, but I somehow doubt this is the problem.

I'm at my wits end trying to solve this!

Carol Parks
- Louisville, Kentucky USA

March 18, 2016

A. Hello, I don't have an answer of why the problem of itching only occurs on your left finger and not your right. You could have the ring plated in rhodium to solve the issue. Apparently the deep recess in the ring is causing the problem. It will probably be less expensive to have it plated than filled with a precious metal. Good Luck.

Mark Baker
Process Engineering - Phoenix, Arizona USA

January 15, 2018

Q. I just reached the ripe old age of 63 and decided to have my nose pierced. I know that I have a nickel allergy. But I was told that all white gold was coated with rhodium and therefore even if nickel was present the rhodium would prevent any allergic reaction. I recently ordered a new piece of jewelry for my nose, a diamond set in 14k white gold from India. After only a day my nose because red and painful after wearing my new jewelry. The next day I had signs of a possible infection, it was warm with a very slight white discharge. I removed the new nose stud after 4 days and I am healing. I love white gold and I loved my diamond nose stud. But, I think I might be allergic to it. I thought it was rhodium coated. But, I don't know for sure.

I am going to take it to the jeweler to have it rhodium plated if it wasn't already. I am wondering if nickel in the white gold caused the irritation. Maybe it's just a coincidence that my nose because infected right after putting the white gold jewelry in...But I don't want to take any chances until I solve the rhodium question. In the meantime I ordered a new diamond nose stud in platinum. Fortunately it's a very small item. I had waited years to wear white gold! I know that in the future, I will always ask for nickel free gold.

Tala Mayer
Make-up consultant - Medford, Oregon United States of America

January 2018

A. Hi Tala, sorry for your troubles. I doubt that rhodium plating will protect you from the nickel allergy because it is but millionths of an inch thick, and not pore-free. Nickel-free white gold (any white gold from Europe) should be fine; unfortunately, the USA allows nickel in jewelry despite the well-known and widespread problem of nickel allergy.

I am not asserting that nickel caused the infection though; that's a question for your doctor or dermatoogist. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 14, 2020

thumbs up sign This is a real interesting post! And informative as well. I know I am years late after this post started, but just wanted to say it's still relevant in 2020! I also might have a nickel allergy, and after reading this, I am gonna ask my dermatologist about it. I seem to have the scaly skin, sometimes, but not always, with a few rings on my finger - and actually different rings. Most are the 14K white gold, and another is 10K white gold. Never really knew what this was. Thanks to all for your info and suggestions!

- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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