Do Sterling Silver Earrings Contain Nickel?

It seems that there is endless information out there about the different jewellery metals, however, sometimes you may find contradicting views - especially about which metals are considered ‘hypoallergenic’. It is important to note that ‘hypoallergenic’ itself does not actually exist on a scientific level, moreso the word was created by marketers to sell jewellery to people who had issues with sensitive ears. Today the term is thrown around quite flippantly.

Those who have allergies to metals, usually actually have a nickel allergy. If you experience soreness, redness or itchy ears after wearing some jewellery you’ll definitely want to stay away from nickel. This begs the question, do sterling silver earrings contain nickel?

The short answer is no, the long answer is maybe. Most people who want to wear nickel-free jewellery can safely wear sterling silver earrings.


Does Sterling Silver Contain Nickel?

Sterling silver is also known as 925 silver (typically genuine sterling silver will have the 925 stamped somewhere). It is a metal alloy that is used in jewellery and decorative household objects. The 925 hallmark indicates that it contains 92.5% of silver (Ag) and the other 7.5% is made up of other metals, typically copper, that is alloyed with the silver.

Silver on its own is much too soft to be used in jewellery, hence, it is alloyed with copper to increase its durability. Unless you have an allergy to copper, sterling silver is a fantastic option for those with sensitive ears. Not only this but it doesn’t tarnish or oxidise, so you don’t need to worry about turning green!

Learn More: Is There A Difference Between Silver And Sterling Silver?

Do Silver Plated Earrings Contain Nickel?

Silver-plated earrings are where it gets a bit more complicated. Rather than being made entirely from silver, plated earrings only have a very thin coating of sterling silver over a base metal or alloy. This is what makes them more affordable. The base metal is usually made up of nickel, copper and other materials. The key word there, nickel. 

The plating on jewellery is not very durable, and after just a couple of days of wear, it will begin to tarnish and expose the raw metal mixture underneath. It’s when your skin comes into contact with nickel that begins to react. Therefore, while your plated earrings might hold up for a couple of days or weeks, you should be wary about corrosion and tarnishing. If you are swimming or wearing them in the shower, they will also tarnish quicker.

 Learn More: Can You Wear Sterling Silver in The Shower?

If you’re wanting to avoid nickel, you should stick to 925 sterling silver. Not only does it have gorgeous colour and shine, but you don’t need to worry about sensitive ears! You can put in a pair of sterling silver earrings and forget about them. 

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite sterling silver earrings that are perfect for everyday wear. 

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