Jewelry brand recommendations

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    Does anyone have any recommendations for jewelry manufacturers that are actually worth the cost? I have a pretty brutal metal (probably nickel) allergy that makes it impossible to wear anything that might be an alloy. I am really trying to find some very small (barely extends beyond the lobe) hoops for everyday wear, but I don’t know how much quality jewelry SHOULD cost, so I don’t want to overpay. I am overwhelmed by the options. Also, I would love to hear what you guys wear for you “everyday” pieces. I am not big on special occasion jewelry/accessorizing, and I basically wear the same subtle pieces everyday.



    Technically almost all metals other than surgical steel, platinum and titanium that you get in the jewellery category are alloys. An alloy is any mix of metals. For example, sterling silver is hallmarked “925” which means 925 parts per thousand / 92.5% pure silver and then a 7.5% of – usually copper – but some shadier places will mix in nickel. 18k gold is 75% pure gold and then the other 25% is a mix of varying metals depending on what colour gold you’re mixing. Rose has mostly copper, white has mostly palladium, yellow has copper and silver.

    So if you are trying to avoid all alloys you’d be best to stick with surgical steel or titanium (unless you have the budget for platinum, wheeeee!).

    Otherwise if you’re trying to avoid nickel and other base metals that are more likely to illicit allergic reactions, high grade gold alloy is your best bet. I’d avoid 9/10k (depending on where you’re from) and stick with 14 or 18k.

    I’m a jeweller and wear my own jewellery everyday – jewellery is highly personal and it would help to know more about your personal style before making recommendations of designers you might like to look into…. but retailers like Fiat Lux carry gorgeous precious jewellery by some awesome contemporary makers.



    I have a nickel allergy as well and my favorite brand for everyday pieces that are made well, not super expensive and don’t break me out is [Ashkal Jewelry]( All of their pieces are stainless steel and despite my allergy I can wear their earrings and rings pretty much continuously without allergy issues. I love how bold and modern the styles are but the pieces are pretty flat and don’t get in the way. I can wear them in my Healthcare/outpatient rehab job comfortably despite using my hands all day.

    Stainless/surgical steel works great as a go to everyday material for me in jewelry and well, also the 3 screws I had placed to fix my broken elbow this summer. I also do well with sterling silver. My engagement ring is platinum which is excellent for allergies but higher quality and higher priced (justifiable for an engagement ring). Plated metals seem to be the worst for me. 14k gold works for some but I find I can’t wear it for it getting a rash.



    I buy a lot of my jewelry off Etsy.

    Some recommended stores:



    [AlexaMilne Jewelry](



    I also frequent local artist markets and have discovered some of my favorite pieces that way. And I have a bunch of jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages.



    My husband just got me [these David Yurman hoops]( which have become my daily go-to pair. Yurman is definitely on the pricier side, but I think they’re worth the price.



    I have some sort of metal sensitivity too (though probably less severe than yours – I just get a little itchy and red). Sterling silver, brass and gold-filled pieces seem to be a safe bet for me. Definitely avoid anything plated, as the coating can wear off quickly and expose whatever dodgy metal is underneath.

    That said, most metals used for jewellery are alloys – precious metals are generally too soft to withstand daily wearing. For example, 18k white gold is generally 75% fine gold, 10 % copper, 8% nickel, 4.5% zinc, and 2.5% silver. If you want to wear white gold, make sure you purchase jewellery made with palladium instead of nickel. Yellow and rose gold both contain copper and silver. It’s definitely worth determining which metal you’re actually allergic to – a copper allergy is a much bigger problem than a nickel allergy.



    A lot of excellent suggestions in this thread. Wanted to add:

    * For earrings your best bet is titanium and niobium. Both can be anodized in different colors. Titanium and niobium jewelry is in the ~$20 – $50 range.
    * Something to be aware of: for studs, inexpensive titanium earrings often have steel bezels (the part that holds the stone / whatever) and clutches. This is usually not an issue for mild allergies. But a problem for severe allergies. Make sure all the parts are titanium or the clutch is plastic. Ask the seller or test with a magnet, titanium is not magnetic. Niobium usually has a titanium or plastic clutch.
    * Sterling silver is a crapshoot, but Argentium silver is nickel free. Silver jewelry is in the ~$20 – $50 range. Argentium is a little higher than Sterling but worth it.
    * Yellow and rose gold may or may not have nickel, sometimes it’s advertised nickel-free, sometimes you can ask the seller, and any quality body-jewelry (for non-ear piercings) should be safe. Higher karat gold is usually safer (14K or 18K). White gold usually has nickel. Gold is going to be in the $100+ range, and that’s on the cheap end. Gold-filled and plated are much cheaper but I don’t recommend if you have a severe allergy.
    * Surgical steel is probably fine for rings / necklaces. But I would avoid it for earrings. Implant-grade steel is safe for earrings, you can find that in quality body jewelry. Steel jewelry is usually cheap, in the ~$20 range.
    * **Bonus tip:** if you like dangly earrings, you can buy cheap ones and swap out the garbage french hooks with safe niobium french hooks [like these](
    * **Another bonus tip:** If it’s bad enough your jeans button, etc, irritate… you can paint the back of them with clear nail polish. This also works for cheap rings and pendants. It’ll wear off and need re-applied periodically. Don’t do this with earrings 😛

    Most my jewelry is vintage, but my nickel allergy is moderate. For earrings, a couple nice vendors I liked:

    [Element41]( has niobium earrings in a lot of different styles.

    [Barefoot Pony]( for cute beaded niobium hoops.

    [Titaani]( has some really incredible punk / industrial / brutalist titanium stuff that, honestly, I just have never seen anything like elsewhere.

    [Earthstar Studio]( for Argentium silver pieces.

    Actually there’s a lot of other sellers on etsy, like [PrettySensitive]( and [Splurge](, I just haven’t personally bought anything from them. I’d stick to sellers who are focused on hypoallergenic earrings, those who sell regular costume stuff and have a couple titanium pieces are like to have the whole steel bezel/clutch problem.



    I’m really bad at keeping track of jewelry so I don’t want to spend much money on investment pieces when they’re more likely to be whoops-I-liked-that-pair-of-earrings-so-it-sucks-I-forgot-them-on-the-hotel-sink pieces.

    But I also have moderately sensitive ears, so it’s a bitch to find earrings that are less expensive but also won’t irritate my ears.

    Lately I’ve really been liking Madewell as a decent middle ground for minimalist jewelry. Their earrings usually have sterling silver posts so I can actually comfortably wear them, and I believe the rest of the earring is usually something-plated brass (maybe double check that first though, instead of trusting me). They have several hoop options too.



    Not a brand, but my sister has what’s probably a similar allergy, and I can almost always find some cute sterling silver or sterling plated with gold at the Tjmaxx jewelry counter. I found her this adorable little necklace with an elephant on it that I think is kind of her go to for when she needs something delicate for a boho look. There’s also a simple gold plated bar necklace she has that goes with just about everything.



    I have tried implant grade surgical steel and titanium and they both irritated my ears, as well as sterling silver. I actually bought some 14k white gold hoops on Ebay, 2 for each ear, and they don’t irritate my ears at all. I wanted something simple that I could leave in all the time.



    Catbird is great – if you are ever in NYC check out their store front because they are very sweet and accommodating about anyone who is unsure about choices.



    I have been buying my jewelry from local eclectic. They collect a bunch of indie jewelry designers and sell their pieces on local eclectic. I started shopping there after my ears became super itchy if it wasn’t quality jewelry.



    If you can, find a high quality craft fair / maker’s market nearby. That way your money goes directly to an artist and you can actually talk to the person who made what you’re buying, and they should be able to answer any questions about allergies etc.



    Two somewhat strange suggestions:

    1. Antique co-ops. There are a few by my house where several of the dealers specialize in jewelry, and they ALWAYS have gold hoops. Often, they are in the original boxes so you can see what the metal alloy is, or you can ask to inspect the piece and just look for the stamp.
    2. Amazon actually has some really nice jewelry these days. Their “Amazon Collection” line has some very reasonably priced gold pieces, and you can read the reviews to double check that people with allergies have had success with them.



    Alighieri jewelry. Love it and wish I could afford more



    Recently stumbled over pernille Corydon in a shop. Their stuff looked amazing if you are into Scandinavian design.



    [ana silver co]( i think they specialize in mostly jewelry with stones but they’re sterling silver and good quality while also being cheap. i paid like $15 for a sizable labradorite ring, which has really great flash and I think $30 for earrings that are the same stone. i don’t really care for the wraps they’re doing rn but they’re quality. i’ve dropped this ring *a lot* and you can’t tell unless you lookk real close that i’ve chipped the stone.



    I have [these]( small stainless steel hoops that I wear every day. I have the 10mm ones, but I would have probably gotten the 8mm ones if they didn’t have that weird little latch. They might suit what you’re looking for!



    Wolf Circus and Leah Alexandra are really affordable!



    I’m late to the party here, I also have a nickel allergy. I stick to jewelry that is at least 14k gold especially for earrings. I can wear silver in my ears for a few hours before they get itchy. My daily wear, never remove earrings all have 14k gold posts on them and they’re fine. Macy’s is a great place for inexpensive gold jewelry. I’ve had several pairs of earrings from them that haven’t bothered me.

    My allergy to nickel is so obnoxious I can’t even wear jeans from Target or anywhere else cheap because the rivets make my butt itch and the button on the front gives me a rash. I buy higher end jeans that user better metal pieces and don’t have those issues.



    Alexis bittar



    Tiffany’s is high quality, albeit on the pricy side. But their service is great and they clean things for free.



    I’d say approx $100 is safe for good quality small plain gold hoops.



    Hopefully not too late to this but I recently have started getting more into jewelry too, I think [garmentory]( has a great selection of indie jewelry designers with a good range of styles. For me part of being worth the cost is supporting local/smaller businesses, and ones that I’ve had personal experience with and really liked are [merewif](, [open house projects](, [hikaru furuhashi](, [young frankk](

    I also have sensitive ears and have had no issues with these compared to cheaper earrings I used to buy, although they tend to be gold or silver plated so maybe not the best for severe allergies.



    Maison Maru ads popped up on my Instagram and they’re giving away tiny studs for the price of shipping ($7) Mine came in today and they’re cute! I have no idea about sensitivity, however. Might be worth a glance!

    Tiny Crystal Studs

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