2007 - White Gold Piercing Jewelry and The Nickel Directive

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2007 - White Gold Piercing Jewelry and The Nickel Directive

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Nickel-containing white golds are known to cause nickel sensitivity and even allergic dermatitis, especially when used in piercing-type jewelry such as ear-post assemblies. In the United States there are no restrictions on the use of nickel-white golds. But in Europe, the Directive 94/27/EC banned the use of post assemblies if the nickel content in the alloy exceeded 0.05% by weight. This effectively eliminated all nickel-containing white golds for piercing applications. The recent European Directive, 2004/96/EC, has amended this restriction and now allows the alloys that show nickel release less then 0.2 µg/cm2/week in artificial sweat. Our paper presents the results of nickel-release tests that we carried out in accordance with the European Standard EN 1811 on a number of common 10K, 14K and 18K white golds containing various levels of nickel. The tests found that most of the 14K and 18K alloys examined satisfy the requirements of the recent Directive (the 10K white gold alloys did not). If these findings are confirmed by other laboratories, it will open up new opportunities for 14K and 18K nickel-white piercing jewelry products previously banned.

Author: Greg Raykhtsaum, Dr. D.P. Agarwal

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