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The Best zinc alloy jewelry comes in all shapes, colors, sizes, and for men and women. Some are for sensitive skin, while others can cause an allergic reaction to the wearers.
Allergies, especially allergies caused by nickel, are the top cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
What happens if you’re allergic to nickel but still need to buy a piece of jewelry which is non-allergenic? I mean, we all need to look good, right?
You go for any of the jewelry which is made from non-allergic metals; these are also called hypoallergenic, non-allergenic, or biocompatible jewelry metals.
Although there are many different jewelry metals for sensitive skin, this post will be focusing on zinc alloy and why it is one of the best jewelry metals for sensitive skin(at least for some skin types).
First things first, let’s go through the basics
What is an alloy?
An alloy in plain English means the final metallic product you get after mixing two or more elements and metals. For an alloy to form, one or more of the mixing materials must include a metal. The process is quite simple, melt –> mix –> allow to solidify.
The resulting alloy metal’s properties are different from the features of the non-alloyed metals.
Examples of alloy metals include brass, nickel-silver, stainless steel, Britannia metal(which is used for making most utensils and cookware), bronze, platinum-palladium, silver-copper, aluminum-bronze, and many more.
What is plating?
plating(or coating) is just a fancy way of saying “painting” in metallurgy. Basically, this means painting over one metal using another metal.
Often precious metals like platinum, sterling silver, gold, rhodium, palladium are used for plating over base metals like brass alloy, copper, etc.
So, now we know what an alloy and plating are, let’s talk about what a zinc alloy is.
What is a zinc alloy?
Zinc alloy is the alloying of zinc with other elements or metals for form a more superior metal than zinc, examples include brass, nickel silver.
What are the kinds of zinc alloy?
There are several alloys of zinc, but the most common ones include, brass (the most known of the two) and nickel-silver alloys, typewriter metals, bronze, and aluminum solder.
These two zinc alloys both have different contents, brass is an alloy of zinc and copper, in the compositions, 35: 75%. Nickel-silver, on the other hand, contains zinc, copper, and nickel.
Ironically though the zinc-copper-nickel alloy is coined as nickel-silver, in fact, it contains no silver.
In comparison, among the two alloys, nickel-silver is shinier and more malleable than brass even though it isn’t the best alloy jewelry for sensitive skin, however, they both are used for crafting beautiful pieces of jewelry.
Palladium zinc alloy is another emerging alloy of zinc, more on that on later posts.
Is zinc alloy hypoallergenic?
Seeing both alloys can be used for crafting jewelry would probably get you scratching your head and ask,
- Is zinc alloy hypoallergenic?
- what about the earrings? Are zinc alloy earrings hypoallergenic?
- Will it turn my skin green (and turn me into an alien)?
- Is zinc alloy safe for jewelry use?
First off, let’s answer the first question about if zinc alloy is hypoallergenic or not.
And I believe you know the answer.
The answer to that question is a yes and a no! Primarily, the hypoallergenic property of zinc alloy metal jewelry lies in its constituents.
Remember from my previous post about nickel allergy? (If you haven’t read that post by now, I’d highly advise you to head over there now and read up about nickel allergy and its symptoms.
In brief, if the zinc alloy jewelry, such as a zinc alloy necklace, contains nickel, and you happen to be allergic to it, then it isn’t hypoallergenic.
Likewise, in the fortunate situation, you purchase a piece of zinc-copper alloy jewelry which is plated with either sterling silver, platinum, palladium or rhodium then it’s almost completely hypoallergenic, depending on the coating thickness.
It’s hypoallergenic since most people aren’t allergic to precious metals like rhodium and platinum, and most times to copper, compared to the 25-30% of the world’s population that is allergic to nickel jewelry.
If you’re wondering about what metals are good for sensitive skin, I reviewed 5 earrings which are among the best metal earrings for sensitive ears out on Amazon.
Alternatively, zinc alloy jewelry plated with either rhodium, platinum or silver sterling is some of the best zinc alloy jewelry out there.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases you make.
Although zinc alloy jewelry might not sound trendy to you at the moment, it is making a strong comeback to the jewelry and fashion industry, and the reason is due to its unique designs, colors, durability, and crafting.
Since zinc in its un-alloyed form is brittle, it needs other metals before being crafted into a piece of jewelry. Each metal giving its properties such as different shades of colors, feel, and glow.
In doubt? Take a quick look at some of these! These are probably some of the best zinc alloy jewelry I’ve seen in the long run!
Fact is, if you want a more different look, that is outspoken at the same time, then get yourself a beautiful piece of zinc alloy jewelry now (And thank me later.)
Should you choose brass zinc alloy jewelry or nickel-silver jewelry?
This is a straightforward question that requires a direct answer, so both, but only if you’re not allergic to nickel. You’ll probably know if you’re allergic or not by now since there are quite a lot of food high in nickel as I mention in my post titled “List of 80+ foods high in nickel” and the nickel allergy food pyramid post about low nickel diet.
In the absence of nickel allergy, both alloys will pose stunningly on your body, regardless of the one you choose. If you’re among the few lucky ones with no skin allergy, then you should get a little bit of this and that.
Before making your purchase, there are certain things you must be aware of about zinc alloy brass jewelry, and that includes.
Zinc alloy jewelry, though, cheaper and more economical to maintain, it can break when you apply a certain amount of force on it.
Furthermore, once the un-plated or thinly-plated brass jewelry is out of the box, it immediately starts reacting with the oxygen in the air. It will, over a space of time, gradually produce a greenish layer on the jewelry which may not look too appealing, coincidentally, to some, it might even add a whole new look to the jewelry. This reaction is an entirely natural and harmless process.
Ps: As an amazon associate, I may earn an affiliate commission when you make a purchase via the links on the site. (This doesn’t affect the price of your item)
Besides, copper is an excellent nutrient need by our bodies. Our bodies leach some copper from the jewelry into our bloodstream but don’t worry because copper is good for you.
Alternatively, if you purchase brass jewelry such as an earring, you can have it plated or coated with any other precious metal of your choice.
BEST ZINC ALLOY JEWELRY FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Why is my zinc alloy jewelry turning my skin green?
First off, you’re not turning into Hulk, so calm down.
Secondly, the production of green color by brass jewelry an entirely natural process, and it doesn’t mean that you’re allergic to brass jewelry(zinc alloy) or sort.
Zinc alloy jewelry will tarnish after an extended period of usage when it starts to tarnish, and you’ll notice some green “powdery” residues on the zinc jewelry.
The greenish hue coloration on your skin is simply a product of the copper content of the alloy reacting to the oxygen in the air.
When copper oxidizes with the air, it forms a green “Residue” on its surface, called Patina.
A study has shown that not everyone will experience the green discoloration on the skin when it comes in contact with brass jewelry.
Fortunately, if your skin turning green yikes you out, there are certain steps to take to reduce or even prevent the tarnishing.
Does Zinc Alloy Rust?
Many times people often think to themselves, does zinc alloy rust? Unfortunately, they don’t seem to know the answer to this question. In order to answer the question asked, “does zinc alloy rust?” We’d need to answer what “rust” really means.
Rust, meaning corrosion of iron metal, popular to the general misconception, the only metal that can rust is iron and iron alone.
So no, zinc does not rust, however, zinc does corrode. When zinc corrodes, it produces a white corrosion powder-like substance called “white rust”. White rust is the general public name for zinc carbonate which is what forms on the zinc surface.
Interestingly, depending on the zinc alloy metal, for example, copper, the corrosion powder’s color would change to green powder can patina, this is the case of the Statue of Liberty.
Brass is another alloy that turns green, this is due to the presence of copper, too.
So, does zinc alloy rust? Now you know the answer!
Ways to prevent zinc jewelry from tarnishing and avoid skin green discoloration
- Don’t wear is overnight
- Do not wear it when working out, as sweating quicken the tarnishing process.
- Have it sent in to be coated with any of the precious metals of your choice.
How do you clean off the green tarnish from brass alloy jewelry?
A mixture of vinegar and baking soda, plus a little 20mins soaking, will get the Patina right off your jewelry.
Choosing the best zinc alloy jewelry for sensitive skin
In order to choose the best zinc allow jewelry for sensitive skin, you only need to keep a lookout for zinc alloys containing nickel metal, especially if you are sensitive to nickel, avoid them if possible.
Depending on the metals used for zinc alloy, it may or may not cause allergic reactions.
So make sure you read the accompanying labels thoroughly before making your purchase.
When in doubt, you can purchase other higher-quality pieces of jewelry made of precious metals like sterling silver, platinum, or gold.
This is the wrap up of our review on the best zinc alloy jewelry for men and women.