Hypoallergenic Rings: Metal Sensitivity, Styles & What to Look For

The excitement of buying or receiving an engagement ring is unlike anything else.
It carries a promise of the future and a feeling of eternal companionship when the diamonds and precious metals are worn. Nevertheless, an allergy to the metals of the engagement ring can dampen this special feeling.
Vatche 1533 Charis Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche 1533 Charis Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
It is common for the term hypoallergenic to be used incorrectly to refer to things that are free of allergens.
In reality, hypoallergenic products are those that have a low risk of causing allergic reactions. While hypoallergenic rings are generally safe, allergic reactions still can occur.
Either way, a hypoallergenic ring is a better choice if your skin is very sensitive. The good news: if you do have metal sensitivity, you’ve got some beautiful hypoallergenic ring options to choose from and most popular metal choices for engagement rings are naturally hypoallergenic anyway.
We’ve explored metal sensitivity, metals to avoid and tips for finding your perfect hypoallergenic engagement ring below.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Metal Sensitivity?

It is estimated that 15% of people who wear jewelry have metal allergies. Several immune system conditions make certain types of metals toxic to a person's body.
Certain metal alloy types cause skin reactions in the form of itching or rashes, swelling, blisters, or blisters in the area where the jewelry sits.
There is a good chance you already have some idea whether you may be sensitive to metal, but if you want ultimate certainty, skin patch testing is available today. It will tell you whether you are sensitive to metals - and which ones you are the most sensitive to.
Doctors can determine whether your symptoms are caused by a metal alloy allergy or something else. If you think this may be an issue for you it would make sense to consult a dermatologist.

What Types of Metals Cause Allergies?

There are metals and metal alloys that do not cause allergic reactions. However, it can be wise to avoid certain ones if you’re prone to sensitivity. A list of metals and alloy types that are usually associated with allergic reactions is provided below:
  • Nickel: When exposed to water or sweat, this metal breaks down into a type of salt. It goes without saying that salt is irritating (hence the saying "pour salt on an open wound"). Allergic symptoms are most frequently triggered by this metal, but it is not the only one.
  • Copper: Although copper is typically hypoallergenic, it's a soft, pliable metal. In spite of its beautiful appearance, it does not hold up to wear and tear as well as other metals. Consequently, some craftsmen reinforce it with nickel metal alloys, which can cause allergies.
  • Lead: It is common for some metal alloys, particularly in costume jewelry, to contain a small percentage of lead. For many years people have known that lead can be toxic. Fine jewelry alloys (gold and platinum) are generally free of lead.
Jewelers or retailers who are knowledgeable about metal alloys can help you find the perfect engagement ring metal without going over budget. For more information on precious metals please see our page with an overview of common jewelry alloys.

Finding Your Perfect Hypoallergenic Ring

Hypoallergenic metals are the best choice for people with sensitive skin (even if they have not been officially tested for allergies). Although you should avoid nickel and lead, it's good to know which metals are ultra-safe and won't cause you any discomfort.
The best part? You don’t have to sacrifice beauty for comfort. There are plenty of popular metal choices that are hypoallergenic by nature.

Platinum Hypoallergenic Rings

When it comes to sensitive skin or allergies, platinum is the safest metal to wear. There is no better engagement ring than platinum for people with allergies. Despite platinum's reputation as a precious metal used in fine jewelry, many do not realize that it is also safe for sensitive skin.
Tacori 2638RDP Dantela Crescent Motif Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 2638RDP Dantela Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
The purity of platinum used in fine jewelry normally ranges from 90% to 95%. Even the slightest intolerance to alloys (such as nickel in some white gold alloys) can result in a reaction, leading many brides to choose platinum.
Platinum has been called a "noble metal" for its resistance to corrosion, tarnishing, and oxidization. As a result, it has lasting beauty. Apart from its good looks, platinum is more durable than gold alloys, and is therefore ideal for active lifestyles.

High-Karat Gold Hypoallergenic Rings

If you are looking for a hypoallergenic gold metal option, high-karat gold such as 18k is a fantastic option.
A 24k (pure gold) engagement ring or wedding band is unlikely to be available in the USA. Simply put, it is too soft and will scuff or bend easily. Also, 24k gold is polarizing because of its intense orange/gold color - some customers love this, others dislike it. It would be better to stick with 18k gold if you are looking for purity and a rich color.
In the yellow gold family, 18-karat yellow gold is the most wearable metal, consisting of 18 parts gold and six parts alloy for a purity of 75%.
Verragio Renaissance 939R7 Solitaire Engagement Ring
Verragio Renaissance 939R7 Solitaire Engagement Ring
It has a rich yellow coloration and is extremely malleable and easy to work. Due to the 25% non-gold elements in 18K gold, it has a good hardness. Due to its purity, 18k gold is unlikely to cause any irritation to skin, even on sensitive skin.
To create distinct types and tints of gold, jewelry artisans infuse pure gold, or yellow gold, with other metals. For instance, rose gold is made from mixing copper with yellow gold in different ratios. There is a slight chance that rose gold may also will contain nickel, which is the metal that causes the most allergic reactions.
Before you fall in love with rose-tinted metal, you should examine and research it thoroughly. Generally, 18K gold is an excellent gold alloy that looks great, feels good, and is suitable for everyday wear.

Palladium - White Gold Hypoallergenic Rings

The white color of white gold is achieved by mixing pure yellow gold with other metals.
Aside from adding color to gold, the additional elements also make it harder, as pure gold is too soft for jewelry making. It is common to use zinc, silver, copper, nickel, or palladium in the mix.
Like platinum, palladium is a white metal that when used by itself, does not require plating. Rhodium plating is commonly used by jewelers to make white gold alloys look whiter and more lustrous. There is a reason for that since most gold alloys still have a yellowish hue. It is possible to restore the luster and shine of these metals with occasional polishing and re-plating.
18k white gold has a higher gold content, it has a lesser nickel content, and there is less chance of you getting an allergic reaction to it.
In order to find out whether a particular piece of jewelry is nickel-free, you should ask the jeweler about specific styles and designers.

Other Hypoallergenic Ring Metals

Below are some other, less popular, hypoallergenic metal choices. These are often used in men’s jewelry due to their durability and hardwearing nature.
  • Cobalt/Cobalt Chrome: This biocompatible alloy is stronger than platinum and other precious metals, and it is often used in dental and joint implants. It contains non-irritants and will not aggravate allergies or irritations.
  • Tungsten Carbide: These rings are made up of two metals forged together and are often used in men's and women's wedding bands. A tungsten carbide ring is both scratch-resistant and four times harder than a titanium one.
  • Titanium: Despite not being as strong as other metals, it is safe for people with allergic contact dermatitis. With no rust or corrosion, it also retains its silver color and is easily cleaned.

Our Favorite Hypoallergenic Rings & Designers to Fall in Love With

Simon G. MR2342 Dutchess Three Stone Engagement Ring
Simon G. MR2342 Dutchess Three Stone Engagement Ring
  • 18k White Gold Alloy: Palladium
  • Platinum Alloy: 90% Platinum, 10% Iridium
The Simon G. MR2342 Three Stone Diamond Engagement Ring is part of the Simon G. Duchess Collection. Two delicate pear-shaped diamonds tastefully set in migraine bezels flank the center stone in this graceful setting.
You'll be sure to turn heads with this unique design, all while remaining comfort and allergen free if you opt for it in icy platinum.
A. Jaffe ME1689 Classics Solitaire Engagement Ring
A. Jaffe ME1689 Classics Solitaire Engagement Ring
  • 18k White Gold Alloy: Gold, 75%, Zinc 3.75%, Copper 6.1%, Silver 0.50%, Pallidum 14.65%
  • Platinum Alloy: 95% Platinum, 5% Iridium
Featuring a high polished shank and pavé diamonds under the crown, this 6 prong solitaire engagement ring is from the Classics collection. This ring is a statement all on its own, and the warm and welcoming 18k yellow gold metal is simply exquisite.
The perfect example of how you can get the engagement ring of your dreams without sacrificing comfort.
Vatche 1003 5th Ave Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche 1003 5th Ave Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
  • 18k White Gold Alloy: 75% Gold, 25% Palladium. No copper, zinc, nickel - guaranteed hypoallergenic
  • Platinum Alloy: 95% Platinum, 5% Ruthenium
Vatche's "5th Ave Pave" Diamond Engagement Ring is a heavenly combination of smooth shanks and pave diamonds. Your diamond will feel right at home with the scooped four-prong head. The icy exterior of platinum or white gold really sets this engagement ring alight.
If you are prone to skin irritation, or allergies, it is important that you choose a metal that is hypoallergenic. This essentially means that there is a very low chance that the metal will cause you any reaction.
When you shop with Whiteflash and our excellent vendors, you can look forward to comfortably wearing your wedding ring for years to come.
Whether you need assistance choosing a diamond engagement ring or determining what your best options are, we're just a quick call, email or chat away. We have friendly and knowledgeable diamond and jewelry consultants who are expert at answering questions without pressure, and guiding you towards items that meet you and your loved one’s specific needs. We look forward to helping you!

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