Is Cheap Jewelry Bad for You?
In honor of Spooky Season, we will be covering a topic that is truly frightening:
What is costume jewelry really made of?
Costume jewelry, sometimes called fashion jewelry, is jewelry made with non-precious metals and non-precious gemstones. Metals commonly found in costume jewelry include nickel, brass, and copper, and usually the gems used are colored rhinestones made of glass or plastic. Costume jewelry is generally very cheap, and can be found in just about every clothing store.
So what’s bad about cheap jewelry?
If you’re anything like me, you probably spent your tweenage years hoarding packs of miscellaneous studs and dangly styles. Earrings which, inevitably, turned my ears green, tarnished, and had to be thrown out. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the earrings were actually reacting to my skin. In an article for Image, Niamh O’Donoghue explains,
“When we perspire, the metals in cheap jewellery react with the acid in sweat to form salts, which are green. These acids cause the nickel to corrode on the surface of the metal, which forms a salt compound of the metal. These salts are absorbed into the skin and the result is a decidedly green digit/neckline/wrist/lobes.”
Yuck! While the thought of metal salts being absorbed into my skin is gross at best, it wasn’t this information that really spooked me. Instead, it was a report published by the Ecology Center in Michigan which assessed levels of toxic substances in children’s and adult’s low-cost jewelry. They concluded,
“More than half (57 percent) of the products tested had a “high” level of concern due to the presence of one or more hazardous chemicals detected at high levels. Four products contained over 10 percent cadmium, a known carcinogen. Fifty percent contained lead, with over half of these containing more than 100 ppm of lead in one or more components, exceeding the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limit of lead in children’s products.”
To quote Alexis Rose of Schitt’s Creek: Ew, David! Fortunately, you’re reading this, so you’ve already found Tini Lux, your source for chic, non-reactive jewelry that never contains toxic chemicals.
While mystery ingredients in low-cost jewelry are, at best, spooky, you don’t have to worry. The solution for us jewelry lovers is simple: seek hypoallergenic options and be aware of what metals we are subjecting ourselves to.