Have you ever had a customer return to your store, complaining that the jewelry you sold them caused an allergic reaction, like a rash? The culprit could be nickel, which in rare (but growing) instances can cause such a reaction.
Since jewelry manufacturers are not required to disclose nickel content in the U.S., it’s likely that white gold in particular may contain the base metal. If you are selling lower-price-point metals (less than 14K), the likelihood of it containing nickel increases.
Jewelers of America’s David Peters offers the following advice to help you address customer complaints or concerns about nickel allergies:
- Inspect Piece in Question: If a customer complains of a rash from white gold jewelry, the first thing to do is inspect the piece. Peters says the problem could be that the rhodium plating has worn down and the customer’s skin is coming in contact with the white gold. The situation can easily be resolved by re-plating the item.
- Nickel-Free Vendors: If a customer doesn’t want to have the jewelry re-plated, consider finding a vendor that sells nickel-free white gold. With laws in Europe restricting the levels of nickel that can be present in an item that comes into direct contact with the skin, some manufacturers now offer nickel-free jewelry.
- Consider Platinum: Many consumers are willing to pay more for platinum’s prestige and beauty and, for customers suffering from uncomfortable allergic reactions, the fact that it is hypoallergenic becomes a big selling point.
- Properly Communicate Care: Even in the case of a pure platinum ring, irritation can be caused by something as simple as soap or detergent build-up from washing hands or doing the dishes. In addition to communicating care related to the jewelry product, sharing tips on avoiding the kind of build-up that could cause a skin irritation is a great, extra customer service bonus that will ultimately lead to greater enjoyment of a piece of jewelry by the customer.