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What to Do When Your Ring Irritates Your Skin

Causes and solutions for physical irritation and metal allergies in jewelry

Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to wear your engagement ring or other jewelry because it irritates your skin. Don’t worry. There are many options you have when faced with this problem.

Nickel in jewelry can cause allergic reactions
Nickel is a jewelry metal that many are allergic to. Photo by Alchemist-hp (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
The first step is to try to determine what the cause of the irritation is. There are actually several different possible causes and it’s easy to waste a lot of time and money trying different solutions if you don’t know what the true source of the problem is. There are two main types of irritation: 1) Physical irritation caused by the metal rubbing against the skin, and 2) allergic reactions to jewelry. These types of irritation can look very similar, but their root causes and solutions are very different.

Physical Irritation

This can be caused by the design of the ring, a rough area that is the result of normal wear and tear, or a ring that is not sized correctly. If the ring is too tight, it can cause irritation and the solution may simply be to size the ring up slightly. Likewise, if there is a rough spot on the ring, that can normally be smoothed out by a jeweler. Changes in diet can dramatically affect our finger sizes. So, if the ring has never caused irritation in the past, and suddenly it does, it’s possible that a change in diet (eating more salty foods for instance) has caused your finger to swell slightly.

Allergic Reactions

Some people are allergic to certain metals that are used in jewelry. This can show up as a rash or discoloration of the skin which can begin hours or even days after contact and may last for several weeks. Some people’s skin even turns black or green when they wear certain jewelry.

Skin irritation that could be caused by jewelry. Photo by Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. (Own work) CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Skin irritation that could be caused by jewelry. Photo by Blausen.com staff. Blausen gallery 2014. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. (Own work) CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most common metal allergies is Nickel which is added to pure gold in many white gold alloys. The Nickel is what makes the gold white, but it can also cause an allergic reaction. Some people are allergic to silver and we have even known someone to be allergic to pure gold (yes, it’s possible). Determining the exact cause and solution of an allergic reaction is not as simple as it may seem.

Jewelry, especially white gold, is often plated to give it a brighter finish. White gold alloys are often plated with Rhodium which is a member of the Platinum family. People are unlikely to be allergic to Rhodium, but as the plating wears off, irritation can start due to the fact that the skin is now in direct contact with the Nickel (or other metal) that they are allergic to. Furthermore, some people have no reaction to standard gold alloys, but are allergic to gold solder which has a different mix of alloys than regular gold. Solder is often used when a ring is sized to bond the ring back together again. This can lead to a confusing situation where a ring suddenly begins to irritate someone after years of problem free wear. A change in diet, again, could also lead to irritation due to a change in the skin’s chemical composition.

Adding to the confusion, metal allergies can develop at any age. This means that even if nothing changed it is possible to suddenly become allergic to jewelry that you have been wearing trouble free for many years. and reactions to metals can begin hours to days after contact and may last for several weeks.

Before we move on to solution it is important to note that not all skin reactions to metal are necessarily allergies. For example, copper or metals that contain copper (like bronze) can cause the skin to turn green where the metal comes in contact with it. This isn’t an allergic reaction but a simple discoloration on top of the skin from the metal. Also, tarnish from silver jewelry can rub off and leave a blackish residue. In both cases, the color will easily wipe or wash off. You can avoid this type of discoloration simply by keeping your jewelry clean and tarnish free. It also helps to avoid exposing your jewelry to water or lotion. Check out our video on cleaning your jewelry at home for more tips and tricks here.

If you are experience an allergic reaction, solutions vary greatly depending on the cause of the reaction. The key is to try to determine what is causing the reaction. If, for example, the irritation started after the ring was sized or worked on, maybe you are allergic to the solder.

  • Our shop has a laser welder which allows us to bond metal without using solder. So, if you determine that you are allergic to the solder in your ring, we can usually remove it and laser weld the ring back together.
  • Sometimes, a regular schedule of plating can be enough to solve the problem. Depending on how allergic you are, plating may prevent irritation for a few weeks, six months, or more, or not at all.
  • There are also anti-allergic coatings that can be added to jewelry to help alleviate reactions. They have mixed reviews, and, like plating, the coatings wear off over time. But, they can be enough to make jewelry wearable for some when plating alone fails. Clear nail polish is also very similar to these coatings, and you can definitely give that a try first if you have it on hand. Build up a few layers to insulate your skin from the metal.
  • Sometimes, the only solution is to change to a ring made of a different metal that you aren’t allergic to. You can look at this as an opportunity to upgrade or try a new design. We do custom jewelry design, and one of our favorite projects is to take the raw materials (gold, diamonds, gemstones, etc.) from a client’s existing ring and use them to make a new and exciting creation. We can reuse the diamonds and gemstones and give credit for the metal that’s causing the allergic reaction while making the new ring out of a completely different metal.

Platinum is hypoallergenic and generally a safe bet for people with allergic reactions to metals. There are also alloys of white gold that do not include Nickel that can be used as an alternative. Our Star White Gold is a perfect example of this.

When you are deciding on a new metal, it may be best to borrow a ring made out of the material you are considering for a few days. That way, you can know for sure if it will irritate your skin. Once you have found the right metal, we can either recreate your existing ring in that metal, or start from scratch.

As a final reminder, we are jewelry experts, and we have seen a lot of irritation from jewelry over the years. But, we are not doctors, and if you have a severe allergic reaction, it would probably be best to consult a dermatologist. Feel free to comment or contact us with any questions you have. Also, please visit the shop to get our advice on what the best solution for your particular issue is.

What people are saying

  1. Dr. Theodore M. Way says:

    I had been collecting mid-end watches by Seiko, Orient, and Orient Star. All was well until I bought a new Orient Star watch and wore it while hiking. After about a week, I developed a terrible rash, up and down the arm where I wore the watch. I had developed a nickel sensitivity/allergy. From what I have read, once you have developed this sensitivity, you will never really be able to wear nickel again. Online, I purchased a jewellery coating that claims to bond to your jewellery at the molecular level, rather than merely coating it. Although it looks good, and the watches don’t look coated, it hasn’t seemed to solve my problem. In a fit of desperation, I bought my first titanium wristwatch, and I fear that I am allergic to that, too. Will rhodium plating help solve my problem? If so, how do I go about getting it done?

    • Hello, and I’m sorry to hear about your allergy. Unfortunately, rhodium plating will likely not be a good solution in this case because it typically only helps for mild sensitivities and the type of process needed to plate something like a watch band is intense and not something that is readily available at your local jeweler. If you are reacting to titanium, you may be sensitive to more than just nickel depending on the alloy of titanium in the watch. It might be worthwhile to do some testing with a stainless steel watch to see if you react to that. However, I would probably recommend consulting a dermatologist who may be able to give you some better advice.

  2. hannah says:

    Hi there,
    I found the receipt for my engagement ring in the hall closet and noticed that my boyfriend chose rose gold. I think he remembered that my grandmother’s yellow gold rings made my fingers itch and so he went for a different color…I thought he would go for white gold (which is okay) or even silver. Do you find that people are having reactions to rose gold, too? I obviously cannot tell him now, but I wonder if maybe some scheming with the jeweler would help avoid a potentially awkward conversation and him being saddened by his choice!

    • Hi Hannah, good question. While possible, we definitely don’t hear of allergies to rose gold very often. That said, yellow gold is generally just as safe, so if you react to yellow gold in general, rose gold may not be the safest bet. My recommendation would be to try to borrow some rose gold to wear to see if you have a reaction. If not, you should probably be good to go when he decides to pop the question.

  3. Jodie pickthall says:

    I have been married for 6 years now and as soon as I put my rings on my fingers blister and itch. I have been trying and tried many many different ways to sort the problem and had no joy. My rings are all the same metal. White gold and I only seem to be able to wear replicas of them in stainless steel. I’m heartbroken as they mean so much to me and desperate to wear my rings. Any suggestions and I’m will to do anything

    • Hi Jodie, I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, if you have already tried rhodium plating and coatings (e.g. clear nail polish), there’s not too much else that we are aware of that will let you continue to wear the rings. In that case, your best bet is to do what you already have and wear replicas in a metal that your body agrees with like platinum or stainless steel. I wish I had better news for you.

  4. Sue says:

    My son passed away last year and I bough his brother a ring in white gold with stones containing his ashes. He has had really bad reaction and we thought it was an uneven inside so sent it back. It is still re-acting to him. I suggested that we get it rhodium plated but was told by a jeweller that white gold contains rhodium so may not resolve the issue. He is not allergic to his wedding ring which is yellow gold. Any recommendations is this is a very special ring as you can imagine.

    • Hi Sue, thanks for reaching out, and I’m sorry to hear about that. Most alloys of white gold do not typically contain rhodium although most white gold is already rhodium plated, so maybe that’s what they meant. Rhodium plating is at least worth a shot just to eliminate it as an option. If the rhodium doesn’t work, you can try the clear nail polish trick. Failing that, I think your best best, unfortunately, would be to remake the ring in a different metal (platinum or yellow gold). I wish I had better options for you, and let us know if you have any other questions.

  5. Dominique says:

    Hey! Great article.

    Wondering what you think about this?
    We make rings out of 925 sterling silver, and had a client who bought 2x rings from us. One of the rings gave them a rash and the other did not.
    We believe it could be as a result of skin sensitivity and product getting underneath the ring but are unsure as to why it would be occurring from one ring and not the other. We have sanded down the inside to make it a bit bigger to see if that was perhaps the issue but it is still occurring!

    Any tips?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Dominique, thanks for reaching out. That is a strange one. I would start by having them switch the fingers they wear the rings on to see if they are reacting to one or the other. If it’s an issue with one of the rings and not a particular finger, then perhaps that ring has some solder or other material they are reacting to. I have never heard of a metal allergy being localized, so it doesn’t sound like they are allergic to silver in general. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, and please post back if you are able to determine the cause.

  6. Sarah says:

    I recently lost a diamond, so my jeweler recommended I solder the wedding band to my engagement ring. After doing this I became allergic, my skin broke out bright red, itchy, flaky skin. I took it back again and they redid the solder and rhodium plate a 2nd time. After waiting for my finger to heal, I tried the ring again – still allergic reaction. After that, they decided to remove the solder and rhodium plate it again. I am still allergic! I am looking on amazon for a liquid jewelry protector. But I don’t want to add it to my $6k ring, if it will ruin it. My jeweler has pretty much said they cannot help my any more and I need to get allergy tested. I do have sensitive ears. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for commenting, and I’m so sorry to hear that. The liquid jewelry protector is generally safe to use on jewelry and should not ruin it (it’s basically clear nail polish). It may be difficult to remove, however, so you might need to bring it to a jeweler if you put it on and need to take it off later. That said, it could be worth a shot. I wish I had better suggestions, but unfortunately, if rhodium plating and the jewelry protector don’t work, your best bet may be to remake the rings in a metal you aren’t allergic to (e.g. Platinum).

    • PK says:

      Sometimes it’s the thickness of the band that causes the irritation. Moisture can get trapped under a thicker band, which you have now that two rings are soldered together. If you can’t go back and separate the rings, remember to dry you ring hand very, very well after washing your hands, and apply lotion after washing as well.

  7. Kimberly Litterine says:

    I used to get allergic bumps under my sterling rings when I played tennis. Weirdly, it turned out I was allergic to sunscreens- even more so when exposed to sun- and the sterling never gave me a problem if I didn’t wear those sorts of sunscreens. (Mineral ones have always been fine for me.) Recently, a pair oc 14k white gold earrings has given me a bad rash- while simultaneously my white gold wedding rings in 10k have continued to suit me perfectly. ??‍♀️ Nickel maybe? Allergies are a pain!

    • Hi Kimberly, that is a bummer about the different reactions, but thanks for sharing. It’s possible the nickel in the 14k earrings is the problem. It also makes sense that earrings which actually go through your ear might cause a reaction where a wedding ring which sits outside your skin might not. My best recommendation would be to talk with a skin/allergy specialist and/or try some of the coating options discussed in the article.

  8. Mark says:

    Hey guys! love this article, I’m now trying to solve my problem, I’ve gone from White gold, to platinum, to titanium to rhodium coatings on all 3 and im still getting a rash. I admit the Titanium took a few days longer than the other metals to show up with a rash. but now my wife and i are stumped. Do we try stainless steel? Are there any options out there or must i just wear the ring around my neck on a chain.

    • Hi Mark, sorry for the delayed reply, but if you are still looking for a solution there are a few other materials you can try. Checkout our article on alternative metals to learn about some of the options. In particular, I’m thinking ceramic or possibly tungsten might be worth a try.

    • Debra Smith says:

      The following scholarly article presents findings of allergy tests and shows that people can be allergic to a variety of metals.

      I, for one, am not allergic to nickel, but 14K gold has started to bother me. I had my 14K ring coated with rhodium, and now it is fine. Many people acquire metals from working with them in various jobs or through repeated wearing.

      Multiple allergies to metal alloys
      DERMATOLOGICA SINICA 29 (2011) 41-43

    • Adonis Fernandes says:

      Why stainless steel? If u got da money then go for 925 or 999 sterling silver. Silver is da best and never ever gives u skin rash and allergies.

      • Hi Adonis, good question. In general, fewer people will have allergic reactions to stainless steel (especially in higher quality grades like surgical steel) than will react to silver.

    • Sami Nelson says:

      Actually, stainless steel is unfortunately made with ☠️nickel👿 I tried this same option as well. After loads of googling and almost giving up on my favorite type of jewelry, I opted for ✨surgical steel✨, it can look just like sterling silver or white gold with the right amount of polishing and aftercare!…. sometimes you don’t need to polish it at all if you like the look the way it is.🤷🏼‍♀️ It’s funny actually because I have permanent piercings that I’ve had since 17 (30 now) they are called dermals and despite being highly allergic to all other metals even the the ones you mentioned, they’ve never bothered me at all!! So I’m not sure why the “💡” didn’t go off sooner. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Not to mention having metal hardware in my lower spine after having had 3 spine surgeries 1 including a spinal fusion, and they fused it with surgical steel rods and screws, I don’t know if I’d have a reaction.. but Im sure I could have if it was stainless steel.⛓ anyway, I was so happy when this metal didn’t react to my skin! I hope this helped and I really hope it works for you! 🤞🏻

      P.s. I have also resorted to what the original poster just commented previously. Ceramic rings, resin, glass even. It got fun looking into that side! Good luck!!

  9. khosi says:

    Hi I am married and have been wearing my white gold ring for about 1 year, now my problem is I have developed rash on my ring finger and it has overlapped to other fingers then I took my ring for coating with rhodium……I would like to know how can I treat my hand before wearing my ring again.

    • Ho Khosi, good question. There isn’t any hand treatment that I know of that can help with allergic reactions to metals.

      The rash should go away after some time without wearing the ring. If it does, and it doesn’t come back right away after you put the newly plated ring back on, then rhodium plating the ring is probably enough to solve your problem. Yay! Just make sure to have your ring re-plated every 6-9 months or so to keep the rash from coming back.

      If the rash doesn’t go away after you stop wearing your ring, you may need to consult a dermatologist. If it does go away, but rhodium plating the ring doesn’t make a difference, then you may need to look at other options like remaking the ring in platinum.

    • Shianne says:

      Coat your ring with tarnish-me-not before you wear it and you won’t get anymore rashes. The rash on your ring finger occurred because you are increasingly being sensitized to the Nickel in your white gold ring (even if you’ve never had a metal allergy before). White Gold is an alloy that is made of Gold and at least one white metal (usually nickel, zinc ,manganese, and/or palladium). Nickel is a dangerous metal so this hypoallergenic sealant keeps your skin from direct contact with it.

      – Based on my own personal experience, research, and what my dermatologist recommended.

      • Hi Shianne, thanks for contributing. It’s true that many people are allergic to Nickel, but it is a bit of an exaggeration to call it universally “dangerous.” Many millions of people wear white gold jewelry with Nickel based alloys everyday without issue. Current estimates are that between 80-90% of people have no reaction at all to Nickel.

        If someone is allergic to Nickel or another metal, coatings like the one you mentioned can indeed be effective as long as the person is not too allergic to the given metal. If regular coating is not enough, or becomes too burdensome, the only option may be to switch to a different alloy. Our Star White Gold, for instance, does not include any Nickel.

        • ann says:

          shianne is correct. nickel can be dangerous I have an aunt who could have lost her leg due to the nickel in the implant

          • Hi Ann, thanks for sharing, and I’m sorry to hear about your aunt. Keep in mind for others reading here that we are talking about jewelry which is generally worn outside the body and not medical implants. Of course, Nickel used in other contexts besides jewelry may be more or less dangerous.

            Many people are indeed allergic to Nickel which is why the industry is moving towards gold alloys like our Star White Gold that don’t include nickel. But, we don’t want to give the impression that it is a universally dangerous metal when used in jewelry as the vast majority of people can wear Nickel jewelry without issue.

        • SHIANNE says:

          That jewelry coating my dermatologist recommended worked great and I have a severe allergy to nickel. 10-20% of the US population (recorded) is allergic to nickel and that number is increasing because of increased exposure. Doesn’t include people who didn’t get a formal diagnosis.

          That’s great that people who aren’t allergic get to enjoy wearing nickel based alloys! But your comment below is implying it isn’t dangerous when used in jewelry. I wasn’t born allergic, my dermatologist told me I developed the allergy from wearing so much jewelry containing nickel. It’s not just cosmetic, my symptoms are very serious… Wish they weren’t

          • Hi Shianne, thanks for sharing that. I’m sure others will find the coating that you mentioned to be helpful. As for nickel being dangerous, it definitely can be if you are or you become allergic to it. Our goal is simply to avoid causing people who have no reaction to nickel at all (the vast majority) to panic unnecessarily. Hopefully that makes sense.

      • Sami Nelson says:

        Omg 😱 thank you 🙏🏻 this will save so much jewelry I’ve spend hundreds of money on!

  10. Kim Parker says:

    I’m allergic to nickle and can not wear my wedding band. My husband and I would like to get me another band can you please tell which metal I should get?
    Should it be 24k?

    • Hi Kim, thanks for commenting, and I’m sorry to hear about that. We generally recommend platinum for anyone with a metal allergy because it is hypoallergenic. If you don’t like platinum, there are nickel-free white gold alloys that you can consider (checkout our Star White gold which is nickel-free). Pure gold (24k) is generally safe from an allergy perspective, but it is also generally not recommended for use in rings because it is extremely soft and can bend/dent easily.

      We would be happy to give you a price for a new band in platinum or Star White gold. Feel free to contact us, if you’re interested.

  11. Anna says:

    I got engaged the day after Christmas (he didn’t want to be too obvious). We don’t know much about the ring as it’s an antique passed from a grandma who has long passed. But that night, my hands started to itch, and they have itched almost every night since. I know I have a sensitivity to some metals already as I can’t wear earrings that are anything other than surgical steel. But is it common for a reaction to the metal being present all over the hands instead of just the ring finger? Or might it just be an unfortunate coincidence?

    • Hi Anna, congrats on getting engaged, and I’m sorry to hear about the problems with your ring. If you’re local to Sacramento, feel free to swing by and we can test your ring to see what metal it’s made out of and even give you some info on the gemstones.

      It isn’t the norm to have the whole hand react; normally it’s just the finger with the ring on it and sometimes the adjacent fingers. However, each person is different, and if you are very allergic to the metal, it is possible. As a test, you might try not wearing the ring for a few days to see if the irritation goes away, and then put it back on and see if it comes back.

      If it is the ring that’s causing the problem, I’m not optimistic that a plating or coating will work due to the severity of the reaction. You might want to consider having the ring remade in a metal that you are not allergic to. Sorry, I didn’t have better news for you, but please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

  12. Sierra says:

    Hello, I recently got engaged and the ring was perfect. To keep up the lifetime warranty on the diamond I have to get the ring routinely cleaned and inspected at least twice a year. I had my first cleaning done a couple of weeks ago and now my ring finger has broken out into a rash and is very itchy right where the ring sits. I thought maybe there was some solution left over on the ring that I am sensitive to and so I washed it with some soap and used a qtip to try to get up into the crevices inside of the ring but it didn’t help. Do you have any ideas on why the cleaning would have caused it and what can I do to stop it?

    • Hi Sierra, thanks for commenting, and I’m sorry to hear about your experience. If your ring is white gold, it is possible (but unlikely) that when they cleaned the ring, they polished off the rhodium plating and didn’t re-plate it. If that is the case, you may have a nickel allergy which you didn’t notice before because of the plating. If that’s the case, the easy solution would be to have the ring rhodium plated again. That said, this is an unlikely scenario because one of the main things most jewelers do during a routine cleaning is to rhodium plate the white gold.

      Without seeing the ring in person, it’s difficult to give you accurate advice. You might try bringing it to a local jeweler and asking them if the ring is currently rhodium plated. Sometimes you can tell if a plating has been polished off which could help identify the problem.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, and please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

  13. Ashley says:

    I got engaged in Feb 2017. After a few months of wearing my 14k white gold ring, I developed some red bumps next to the ring, not under it. I had it rhodium plated, and now not even 90 days later, the rash is coming back. I don’t know what to do. My ring was gone for 3.5 weeks while being plated. Any other options on this? I didn’t have a problem for a while after being plated. My guess is the plating wore off some how. I don’t want to send my ring back for another 2-3 weeks only to have it back for 60 days. I take it off when I wash my hands, do the dishes, clean, showers, sleep, etc. I’m at a loss. The ring was expensive. And I don’t want to just not wear it. Any ideas on what I can do?

    • Hi Ashley, I’m sorry to hear about that. It sounds like your analysis is exactly correct. Rhodium plating puts a very thin layer (only a few atoms thick) of rhodium on top of the metal below. It is pretty normal for it to wear off within 90 days. What is a bit surprising is how long it is taking to rhodium plate the ring (it normally takes our shop about 1-3 days), but that will just depend on who is doing the plating, transit time to the shop, their work load, etc.

      As for options, you could try the anti-allergy coating mentioned in the article or clear nail polish which is very similar to see if that helps. If not, it sounds like you might be allergic to nickel. See if you can borrow a platinum (or nickel-free white gold) ring from a friend to confirm that theory. If you are allergic to nickel, and the coating doesn’t help, unfortunately, your best option is going to be to remake the ring in a nickel-free metal.

      I would ask your designer how much they would charge you to upgrade your ring to platinum or a nickel-free white gold alloy. If they won’t do that for you, then feel free to send us some good pictures and any details you know about your ring, and we would be happy to give you a quote to upgrade the metal.

      • Brent says:

        How can you upgrade a metal? Is it just plating the metal in a better coating? I am very curious. Thank you so much.

        • Hi Brent, thanks for reaching out. In this case, we just mean remaking the ring in a different metal. That’s pretty much the only real way you can do it. Plating doesn’t typically last more than a few months.

  14. steph says:

    I got engaged in late May of this year and I started getting these itchy dry rashes on my cheeks and eventually my upper chest started getting what looked like hives. I don’t know if my engagement ring (rose gold and expensive too) could do that? It turns my finger black but the irritation isn’t on my finger. It just changes color some days, especially if i have olive oil on my hands to moisturize. But I am trying to figure out what change made my face start having these rashes in June.

    • Hi Steph, thanks for commenting, and congratulations on getting engaged. Ok, I’m a gemologist and not a doctor, so my first advice would be to see your doctor to get a professional opinion.

      With that being said, when we see black on the ring finger that normally means you’re allergic to something in the alloys that make up the ring. In rose gold there are a bunch of alloys, primarily copper. So, if you have a copper allergy, then unfortunately, you might have to redesign your ring in a different metal. I would suggest platinum since it’s the purest precious metal we use and people are very rarely allergic to it.

      But, before you go redesigning your ring try to borrow a platinum ring for a couple of weeks to see if you have a reaction to it. Then, take action based on your findings.

  15. James says:

    I have multiple sclerosis, and I am very sensitive to cold. A few years ago a bought a watch with a metal back, and while it seemed fine at first, after a few days the area on my arm it had rested against had become totally numb. Once I realized the metal was too cold for my skin to touch for prolonged periods of time I decided to stop wearing it, and after about a week my arm was back to normal.

    Recently I decided that I’m going to propose to my girlfriend, but I realized that I don’t know how I can wear a ring without it hurting me. Do you have any advice?

    • Hi James, thanks for commenting. My advice would be to see if you can borrow a friend’s ring to wear for a while to see if it affects you the same way. The smaller surface area of a ring may be ok where the watch wasn’t. If that doesn’t work, my next suggestion would be to look into an alternative metal ring. We now have rings made with non-metalic materials like carbon fiber and even silicon, so you should be able to find something that works for you.

      Hopefully that helps, and please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.

      P.S. Don’t forget to checkout our engagement rings when it comes time to find the perfect ring for her. 🙂

  16. Jen R says:

    Thank you for this article! I have been wearing this 825 silver ring for years (literally years) and this year, out of the blue, my finger keeps turning red and looking irritated. It doesn’t itch or anything. So frustrating as I love this ring. I’ve had it cleaned and it still turned my finger red. Very disappointing.

    • Hi Jen, you are welcome, and I’m sorry to hear about your ring. That is so frustrating. If you love the ring, and want to keep wearing it, you can try the anti-allergy coating mentioned in the article or you can always consider having it remade in a metal you are not allergic to.

  17. Mia says:

    I’ve been searching up and down for something to prevent this and finally I came across this spray that keeps away any type of allergic reactions to metals. It’s called Tarnish Me Not. Mine are very severe… so bad that I would just break out in hives if I ever came in contact with jewelry. But I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and so far no reactions! Miracle for me, I hope it helps someone else out too

  18. Dave says:

    Hi. I bought a very expensive 14kt gold opal ring. At first it did not bother me, but then it started to irritate my finger. I did some reading, and what I gathered is that I was allergic to the gold. I sent the ring back, and asked that they put the stone in silver. I am having the same problem, with the silver. I do wear another 10kt gold ring on the other hand or same hand if the opal ring is off, and don’t have any problems. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Dave, thanks for commenting. That’s a tough one. The fact that the 10k ring doesn’t irritate your skin makes me wonder if you are not allergic to the gold but some alloy that is present in the 14k ring but not in the 10k ring (very few people are allergic to gold itself). For instance, if the 14k ring is white, it may contain nickel and if the 10k ring is yellow, it won’t. If you are allergic to nickel, that would explain your reactions. It is much, much more common for people to be allergic to silver than gold. So, it is definitely possible that you are allergic to both silver and some alloy in the 14k gold.

      As for where to go from here, that is also a tough one. You could try having the opal ring remade in exactly the same metal as the 10k ring that doesn’t bother you (color and all). Or, you could consider the possibility that you are actually experiencing a physical irritation caused by some design feature of the opal ring and not the metal at all, in which case you could look into modifying the design. Or, if the 14k ring was sized at some point, you might be reacting to solder used in the sizing process. Or, you could borrow a platinum from a friend to wear for a while to see if you react to that. Since platinum is hypoallergenic you shouldn’t have any issues. If platinum works for you, you can have the ring made in platinum.

      Hopefully that helps a little and we wish you the best with your ring.

  19. Ira says:

    I have been wearing my gold ring since a very long time. Few days ago it started a kind of irritation all of a sudden. I was then diagnosed with carpel tunnel syndrome. But now after completing the meds the pain has gone but I am still not able to wear my ring as my hand slowly starts paining after that.

    • Hi Ira, thanks for writing in, and I’m so sorry to hear about the pain and irritation you are experiencing with your rings. We’re definitely out of our area of expertise when it comes to trying to understand why the rings are causing you pain now when they didn’t before.

      You might try wearing the rings on different fingers (most rings can be sized easily). Or, if that doesn’t work and you can’t wear them on your hands at all, you could convert them into pendants and/or earrings. We do this kind of work all the time, and it’s amazing how seamless the conversion can be. Another option is to remove the gemstones and make a whole new custom piece using the original gems.

      It’s not fun when you can’t wear your jewelry the way you want to, but hopefully some of these ideas were helpful. Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

  20. jackie says:

    Hi, I have recently had my white gold ring resized and they said they rhodium plated it, but ever since I get a reaction to it, skin gets sore and lumpy and very itchy.
    Any ideas please.

    • Hi Jackie, thanks for commenting. If the problems have just started showing up after the sizing, you might be allergic to something in the solder. Depending on how allergic you are, you can still have a reaction even with rhodium plating.

      It is possible to fuse metal without using solder. We use our laser welder to do it, and there are other techniques to do it using only a torch. You could ask the jeweler who sized it if they can try to remove all of the solder and fuse the metal directly. If that’s not one of their skill sets (not all jewelers use that technique and if the ring has gemstones it may not be possible without a laser welder), you can always shop around for a jeweler who can do it.

      Hopefully that helps a little, and we wish you the best with your ring.

  21. Louise says:

    I have been wearing my wedding ring and guard for 2-1/2 years now, just recently I have been having a rash or irritation on my finger. No change in soaps or lotions. I think the ring is 10k white gold, not sure if I can be allergic to 10k and not 14k white gold. I normally where 14k white gold. Thoughts?

    • Hi Louise, that is a tough one. There could be a couple factors at play. First, our body chemistry can change over time, and you can become allergic to something that you weren’t allergic to before. Second, it is definitely possible to be allergic to 10k and not 14k because 10k contains a higher percentage of the alloys (e.g. Nickle) that are most likely to cause a reaction. Third, the ring guard could also be a factor. Most ring guards are made out of base metals that you are much more likely to be allergic to than karat gold.

      With all of that said, some experimentation might be in order. Try to wear the ring without the ring guard for a while if you can (maybe you can get it sized). Try to wear an alternative ring in 14k white gold for a while. Try to wear an alternative ring in platinum if you have one available. Try getting the ring rhodium plated at a local jeweler. Try coating the inside of the ring with clear nail polish or the similar product we mention in the article. If none of those suggestions work, it might be time to see a dermatologist depending on how severe the irritation is. Remember we can’t give medical advice, so these are just some suggestions from our experience.

      We wish you the best, and please post back if you are able to solve your problem.

  22. Jen says:

    Hello. My engagement ring is causing major problems on my pinky finger. It’s 100% white gold with diamonds. It really does break the skin on my pinky and cause the skin to tear. Does this seem like an allergy? Or is it just roughing up the pinky finger because it is a lot of friction against it? Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Jen, thanks for commenting, and I’m sorry to hear about your ring. If the ring is causing your skin to tear, that definitely sounds more like physical irritation than an allergic reaction. One good indication of if you are allergic would be to check for irritation on the other fingers that the ring touches. If your ring finger and middle finger are ok, then you are most likely not allergic. You might consider taking the ring to a local jeweler that has repair facilities to see if they can smooth it out or adjust it so that it doesn’t irritate your pinky finger. Hopefully that helps, and feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

  23. Tamara says:

    Hello, I was engaged for a year and it will be a year in August since I have been married. I’ve had the ring for over two years.

    Suddenly over the past few weeks my rings have been itching and irritating my finger. I have a scaly rash, welts around my finger and my finger swells. I love my rings and I hate that I can’t wear them right now.

    • Hi Tamara, thanks for commenting, and I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Sometimes a change in diet or soap can bring on a change in body chemistry causing your skin to react to your jewelry that wasn’t a problem before, so that’s one thing to consider.

      It seems more likely though that your rings were plated, and now the plating has started to wear off. Two years is a long time for plating to last, but it is possible (especially if the plating was very heavy). To test this theory, you can have your rings replated where you bought them (or at a local jeweler if that’s not possible). Once, they are replated, give some time for the swelling to go down and then try to wear them again. If you don’t react, you know that you are allergic to the metal the rings are made out of, and that you need to have them plated regularly.

      If you do react, try to think back to any changes that happened in the past few weeks that could have brought this on (diet, hygiene routine, etc.) and do some experiments. Of course, the best advice may be to consult a dermatologist who would be able to scientifically identify the problem and recommend solutions. Hopefully that helps, and we wish you the best with your jewelry.

  24. Daniella says:

    Have you ever put a thin platinum band inside of a ring? I LOVE my Rose Gold engagement ring, however it is turning my finger black. I don’t particularly want to re coat this all the time – and I need to decide on a wedding band next. Ideally, I also want a rose gold wedding band.

    I have been told different things with regards to a laser being able to add a thin band of platinum on the inside as a permanent solution.

    Really appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • Hi Daniella, thanks for commenting. We actually have done similar things in the past for people who are allergic to metals in the their rings. Essentially, we take a thin strip of platinum (or another metal that you aren’t allergic to) and overlay it on the inside of the ring. It is generally quite successfully as long as you aren’t “too allergic.” Some people have very intense reactions to metals and while the inside of the ring will be shielded, the outside will still come in contact with the other fingers in your hand. For some people, this minor contact is not an issue at all, and for some it can still cause a reaction. Feel free to contact us if you would like to talk more about doing this type of thing with your rings.

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