Zinc alloy is safe to make jewelry because it is lead-free, and lead is the toxic substance that makes most jewelry unsafe to wear. When you expose zinc alloy to air, it reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate.
Is zinc alloy jewelry safe?
It depends on the zinc alloy you used for the jewels. Some of them are safe, while others are not. Although it’s may be rare, we have a few people who are allergic to zinc metal. In such cases, therefore, it’s unsafe. Nonetheless, if you don’t have a metal allergy, then the zinc alloy should be safe. Generally, the zinc metal will contain lead, nickel, copper. Nickel is the leading cause of allergies.
Lead is also toxic, and for a long time, the governments have been canceled as a metal to avoid just because it affects the nervous system.
Brass is the most common metal used in zinc alloy. People say that brass is safe, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Remember, if you use a lot of copper, it may also cause skin reactions. Therefore, if you use the ones that are free of lead, we may say that they are safe.
Why is it safe?
Zinc alloy is safe to make jewelry because it is lead-free, and lead is the toxic substance that makes most jewelry unsafe to wear. When you expose zinc alloy to air, it reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate. The carbonate acts as a protective layer for zinc, stopping it from further reacting to water or air.
Manufacturers rarely use zinc in its pure form, but instead, they add 55% or more copper to it, to make brass, a common zinc alloy used in making various pieces of jewelry.
Pros and Cons of Zinc Alloy Jewelry
|Pros of Zinc Alloy Jewelry||Cons of Zinc Alloy Jewelry|
|The alloy is quite durable; Rust and corrosion-resistant||It’s not the strongest metals out there|
|It’s affordable; It’s versatile; It’s not brittle||It might be lacking in terms of aesthetics|
|Its malleability means that you can easily shape brass into different and intricate designs||It will develop a greenish layer/ patina over time|
Zinc alloy jewelry durability
Zinc metal in its pure form is a very strong metal. However, when combined with other metals such as copper and nickel copper, it increases zinc’s dimensional and impact strength as well as its stability and corrosion resistance.
However, copper in brass is known to oxidize with the skin, causing the jewelry to tarnish and your skin to turn green. Luckily, this tarnishing effect does not occur immediately. The reason being that zinc reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to form a protective film that bars any further reaction of the metal, promoting the durability of the jewelry piece.
Several factors affect the durability of zinc alloy jewelry. Some of them include oxidation and other chain reactions, high temperatures and humidity, and abrasions and dents that may result in the jewelry piece cracking. Zinc alloy pieces are beautiful and durable. However, you have to take good care of them to promote their longevity.
Is zinc alloy jewelry hypoallergenic?
There are cases where users have reported being allergic to zinc alloys with nickel. As mentioned above, zinc alloys could be blends of zinc and copper or zinc, copper, and nickel.
The hypoallergenic component is common with brass, with many users having no reactions to the metals. The reason for this is that copper hardly ever causes allergic reactions, and very few people are allergic to copper. Therefore, brass is regarded as a largely hypoallergenic metal for jewelry.
With nickel as the main cause of allergies to jewelry, buying zinc alloy jewelry with nickel means that you are at a high risk of an allergic reaction to the metal, especially if you are acutely allergic to nickel. In most cases, nickel allergies present after a few hours and they manifest as itchiness, redness, swelling, and in other cases, rashes.
How to handle zinc alloy jewelry allergy?
Different people have different metal allergies, while others have none. When it comes to brass, some people may show signs of copper metal allergy, resulting in blisters, itchy skin, and rashes. Nickel silver, which consists of zinc, copper, and nickel, is a more common form of zinc alloy that causes allergic reactions to its wearers.
Nickel is a well-known cause of allergic reactions and is the most widely used metal alloy in the world. Some allergic reactions you may experience from nickel include skin redness, swelling, tenderness, and dry patches, in extreme cases. Severe cases of allergic reactions include pus-filled blisters and painful skin.
Once you find out you have zinc alloy allergies from wearing your jewelry, it is best to avoid wearing that piece to prevent further complications. You may also opt to use various soothing creams to control inflammation and reduce your body’s histamine response.
Depending on the severity of the reactions, the doctor or pharmacist may prescribe over-the-counter antihistamines or stronger medications. Some home remedies for metal allergies include applying cool and wet compresses, using calamine lotion, or hydrating body lotion.
Choosing jewelry for sensitive skin
- Always avoid nickel – if your ears or skin get itchy, warm, red, and swollen hours after wearing jewelry, you are most likely allergic to nickel. Though cheap, nickel is very reactive, and its interaction with water results in the formation of salt, further corroding metal and irritating the concentrated area.
- Choose palladium and zinc alloys instead of copper and nickel
- Invest in high-quality jewelry from reputable jewelers
- Get a metal testing kit – if you are unsure about those earrings, get a metal testing kit instead of hurting your ears.
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