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Toxic substances in stainless steel jewelry

Toxic substances in stainless steel jewelry , international standards.

  1. Definition
  2. Limits
  3. Test methods
  4. Test report example

I’ve seen a lot of arguments back and forth on the issue of toxic substances in stainless steel and fashion jewelry,  and one thing that really jumps out at me is how much confusion and misunderstanding there is regarding what the standards related to jewelry really mean. This is an attempt to clear up some of the confusion including simple instruction and up to date jewelry lab report examples.

High metal contamination in low-cost jewelry is a widespread problem. While the U.S. and Canadian legislation put emphasis on lead exposure prevention, other toxic elements like cadmium in jewelry are not regulated except in paint and coatings. After much discussion and consultation the European Commission has completed amendments to Annex XVII of Regulation1907/2006 (REACH), and published an Updated as on February 2016.

What regulations do we follow?

We at Hulpf jewelry follow the European Regulation and the REACH Annex XVII in specific as the EU legislation  regarding Toxic substances in stainless steel jewelry is more comprehensive and updated.

What substances related to steel jewelry we test for?

  1. Lead (Pb) content. Read more
  2. Cadmium (Cd) content. Read more
  3. Nickel (Ni) release. Read more…
  4. AZO dyes. Read more…

Where do we test  for Toxic substances in stainless steel jewelry ?

There are numerous independent internationally recognized labs and organization. We use SGS to test for toxic substances in stainless steel jewelry that we manufacture.

What the regulations mean to me as a customer?

Lead and its compounds in jewelry.

Section 63, Annex XVII of REACH will restrict the concentration of lead to 0.05% by weight. This will apply to any individual part of stainless steel jewelry articles, imitation jewelry, fashion jewelry, and hair accessories, including bracelets, necklaces and rings; piercing jewelry, wristwatches and wrist-wear; brooches and cufflinks.

63. 7439-92-1 231-100-4 Lead and its compounds

Shall not be placed on the market or used in any individual part of jewelry articles if the concentration of lead (expressed as metal) in such a part is equal to or greater than 0.05 % by weight.

(i) “jewellery articles” shall include jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories, including:
(a) Bracelets, necklaces and rings;
(b) Piercingjewellery;
(c) Wrist watches and wrist-wear;
(d) Brooches and cufflinks;
(ii) “Any individual part” shall include the materials from which the jewellery is made, as well as the individual components of the jewellery articles.

Cadmium and its compounds in jewelry

Section 23, Annex XVII of REACH will restrict the concentration of Cadmium to 0.01% by weight.
This will apply to any individual components and assembled stainless steel and fashion jewelry articles.

23. 7440-43-9 231-152-8 Cadmium and its compounds.
Shall not be used or placed on the market if the concentration is equal to or greater than 0, 01 % by weight of the metal in:
(i) Metal beads and other metal components for jewellery making;
(ii) Metal parts of jewellery and imitation jewellery articles and hair accessories, including: bracelets, necklaces and rings, piercing jewellery, wrist-watches and wrist-wear, brooches and cufflinks.

Nickel release in jewelry.

Nickel and its compounds may pierce the skin and cause allergic contact dermatitis. The EU Directive 2004/96/EC was issued on 27 September 2004 to restrict the use of nickel in consumer products that may have contact with skin such as buttons, fashion jewelry, sunglasses and belt buckles. After REACH took into force, the directive was replaced by the Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH). Nickel release was then added to the REACH Annex XVII – REACH Restriction List.

The Requirements of REACH Restriction are for the release of the nickel in a given time and not the absolute content. There are 2 main jewelry categories.

  1. Articles that intend to pierce the human body for example ear studs and should release less than 0.2 µg/cm 2/week.
  2. Articles that intend to come into direct contact with the human skin should release less than 0.5 µg/cm 2/week.

7. 7440-02-0 231-111-4 Nickel and its compound
Shall not be used:
(a) in any post assemblies which are inserted into pierced ears and other pierced parts of the human body unless the rate of nickel release from such post assemblies is less than 0,2 µg/cm 2/week (migration limit);
(b) In articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the
skin such as: earrings, necklaces, bracelets and chains, anklets, finger rings, wrist-watch cases, watch straps and lighteners, rivet buttons, lighteners, rivets, zippers and metal marks, when these are used in garments, If the rate of nickel release from the parts of these articles coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin is greater than 0,5 µg/cm2 / week.

AZO dyes in jewelry.

AZO dyes are the name of the group of synthetic dyestuffs based on nitrogen that are often used in textile industry. Some AZO dye stuffs may separate under certain conditions to produce carcinogenic and allergenic aromatic amines.
Since Annex XVII of REACH came into force in 2009, the AZO Directive 2002/61/EC has been replaced by REACH regulation. AZO dyes are put on REACH Restriction List.  Leather and textile components in jewelry articles made of colored leather or other synthetic materials should contain less than 30 mg/kg.

43. 405-665-4 Azocolourants&Azo Dyes
2. Azodyes, which are contained in Appendix 9, ‘List of azodyes’, shall not be placed on the market or used for colouring textile and leather articles as a substance or constituent of mixtures in concentrations higher than 0,1 % by mass.
1. Azodyes which, by reductive cleavage of one or more azo groups, may release one or more of the aromatic amines listed in Appendix 8, in detectable concentrations, i.e. above 30 mg/kg (0,003 % by weight) in the articles or in the dyed parts thereof, according to the testing methods listed in Appendix 10, shall not be used, in textile and leather articles which may come into direct and prolonged contact with the human skin or oral cavity, such as: clothing, bedding, towels, hairpieces, wigs, hats, nappies and other sanitary items, sleeping bags, footwear, gloves, wristwatch straps, handbags, purses/ wallets, briefcases, chair covers, purses worn round the neck, textile or leather toys and toys which include textile or leather garments, Yarn and fabrics intended for use by the final consumer

How jewelry test reports look like?

This jewelry custom project involved different types of materials and components that related to all the above substances we mentioned in this post. For one of the bracelets we use synthetic colored polyester and we test for 22 different AZO dyes. In this bracelet AZO test report you can notice that the limits allowed is 30mg/kg and the result shows that none of the substances were deducted.

The silver color bracelet made of Brass and was tested for Cadmium content. In this bracelet Cadmium test report the results show content of 26mg/kg which is below the limit defined by REACH Annex 0.1% or 100 mg/kg.  For lead content test we choose to test several beads from the same jewelry project. The test report shows content of 22mg/kg much below the limit of 0.5% allowed by the EU regulation for stainless steel or fashion jewelry. For the nickel release test we choose different beads from the same project. This Nickel release report shows that the beads release less than the 0.5 µg/cm 2/week the max allowed rate for jewelry that come into direct contact with the human skin.

I hope that in this post I was able to clear some of the confusion surrounding REACH regulations  and make  toxic substances in production of stainless steel and fashion jewelry easier to understand.

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stainless steel jewelry manufacturer ad Hulpf


How to clean stainless steel jewelry info

Stainless steel jewelry is made of a steel alloy that contains minimum of 10.5% chromium and less than 1.2% Carbon content.
The advantage is that it doesn’t corrode or rust.
Although it is also very durable, steel jewelry may get scratched and stained.
Bellow some simple rules to keep your stainless steel jewelry in good condition.

Things You will Need

1. Bowl

2. Dish-washing or window-cleaning liquid

3. Fabric

4. Towel

5. Toothpaste(optional)

6. Jewelry polish or polishing cloth(optional)

7. Bags or pouches(for maintain)

Stainless Steel Jewelry Cleaning

Stainless steel jewelry is pretty easy to clean. Simply follow below steps:

1. Pour some warm water in a little bowl, and add some mild dish-washing or window-cleaning liquid.

2. Dip a soft, lint-free fabric in the soapy water, and then gently wipe the stainless steel jewelry with the damp fabric til the piece is clean. Once cleaning it, rub the jewelry along its polish lines.

3. Wipe the remaining soap off your jewelry using a wet fabric dipped in clean water.

4. Dry the jewelry well with a clean towel, and then leave your pieces to air dry.

After your stainless steel jewelry is cleaned, you will be able to use a jewelry polish or a polishing cloth to shine it.

Some people use toothpaste to clean the especially dirty spots of their stainless steel jewelries. Keep in mind, however, that toothpaste is abrasive. If you decide to use it for cleaning, make sure it is a non-whitening brand that does not contain silica, and use a soft cloth to rub the paste onto your pieces. Don’t forget to rinse the jewelry thoroughly after you are done.

An alternative to these cleaning methods is to purchase a stainless steel cleaner from the store and follow the instructions on the package.

Stainless Steel Jewelry Maintaining and Storing

Although stainless steel jewelry doesn’t tarnish or corrode and doesn’t need special care, it will scratch. That’s why you should wear and store your pieces in a way to minimizes any contact with other items that can damage your stainless steel jewelry. If your jewelry does get scratched, you can always have it professionally polished by a jeweler.

Store your stainless steel pieces individually from jewelry made of other metals. It is best if you retain your stainless steel jewelry in individual bags or pouches.

Questions? Contact us here

Comments? please join the conversations.

If you want to guest post on this blog please contact us.

Hulpf teamStainless steel jewelry-earring by Hulpf

Jewelry trade fairs for jewelry professional

It’s that time again,  in January after we all recover from the holiday season the jewelry trade fairs first season will begin.
This year as well, the VICENZAORO Winter edition  will open the jewelry world show calendar.
The VICENZAORO held in Italy and it’s a great opportunity to get a taste from what going to happen in the coming year and enjoy great Italian authentic food.

Asia main jewelry trade fairs held in Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong are mainly commercial and trading opportunity rather than trends leaders. Great opportunity to visit your suppliers and check what new in this market segment.

The jewelry show in Shenzhen, China not matures enough and usually does not worth the travel.
But if you already in the area, you don’t need to spend more than a day for in-depth visit.

If brands is your main focus. The Watch and Jewellery Show BASELWORLD is the best chance to experience brand worlds at the top most level.

Below we indexed the main jewelry trade fair information for your convenience.

World’s top jewelry trade fairs

January 18-21, 2013
MIJF-Spring 2013 Malaysia International Jewellery Fair
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia
Convention Center, Malaysia

Jan. 19 – 24, 2013
VICENZAORO T-Gold, Glamroom,
Gem World Via dell’Oreficeria, 16 36100 Vicenza Italy

January 23-26, 2013
24th International Jewellery Tokyo
Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan

February 4-9, 2013
Al-Ain 11th International Jewellery & Watches Exhibition

February 6-10, 2013
XIX International Jewellery Forum Junwex St-Petersburg
The Fair Lenexpo Faigrounds in Gavan, Sain-Petersburg, Russia

February 22-25, 2013
IIJS Signature The Bombay Exhibition Centre,
Goregaon, Mumbai,India

February 26 – March 1, 2013
China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair-Shenzhen
Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center,
Shenzhen,Guangdong, China

February 26 – March 2, 2013
51st Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2013
The Impact Challenger, Muang Thong Thani , Bangkok, Thailand

April 16-18, 2013
11th International Gold & Jewelry Exhibition
Mishref, Kuwait

March 5-9, 2013
Hong Kong International Jewellery Show
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre,Wan Chai, Hong Kong

March 14-18, 2013
International Jewellery & Watch Show Abu Dhabi
National Exhibition Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

March 21 – 24, 2013
36th Istanbul International Jewelry
CNR Expo Fair Center 34149 Yesilkoy – İstanbul

April 25 – May 2, 2013
BaselWorld 2013 The Basel Exhibition center, Basel, Switzerland

Stainless steel usage for jewelry and watches

Let’s go back to the history of a stainless steel,  which also known as inox steel or inox. The source is  from the French word inoxydable, which means a steel alloy.
Stainless steel has been discovered by Harry Brearley year back 1913 while investigating rustproof gun barrel.

Stainless steel does not easy to corrode, rust or stain as ordinary steel does, but despite the name it is not completely stain-proof. It is one minimum of 10.5% chromium and less than 1.2% Carbon content and it’s 100% recyclable.

Stainless steel is widely used as fashion jewelries as well as for other industrial applications. The most widely used stainless grades in jewelry production are the austenitic 304 and 304L. The second most used grades are the molybdenum-alloyed austenitic steels 316/316L.

Steel crystalline structure classifications are as follows:

  • • Austenitic crystalline structure: austenite steels has 70% total stainless steel production. It comprises 0.15% carbon, 16% chromium, and adequate nickel or manganese.
    • Ferritic stainless steels: it comprises 10.5% and 27% chromium, small amount of nickel and some lead. The contents include molybdenum, aluminum or titanium.
    • Martensitic stainless steels: comprises chromium (12–14%), molybdenum (0.2–1%), nickel (less than 2%), and carbon (about 0.1–1%).
    • Precipitation-hardening martensitic stainless steels: precipitation hardened to higher strengths. Most common, 17-4 PH, uses about 17% chromium and 4% nickel.
    • Duplex stainless steels: mixed microstructure of austenite and ferrite, produce a 50/50 mix, and commercial alloys 40/60. Consists of high chromium (19–32%) and molybdenum (up to 5%) and lower nickel contents.

The highest demand of fashion stainless steel jewelry

As we go through the newest era, many of us envision what the future awaits and what it offers. When it comes to the hottest fashion of jewelry right now, stainless steel owns its place whether for men, women and youngsters. Widely used by  world’s leading fashion brand jewelry and watch manufacturers.

To mention the famous brands, which include Fossil, Guess, DKNY, and Ben Sherman are made especially to enhance and discover the true elegance and wonders of stainless steel jewelry.

The fresh and impressive art of these jewelries are hard to resists because once you see it you cannot turn your back without buying one of them. It is just like a temptation that will never go away unless you can taste and satisfy that urge. Its alluring and gorgeous designs and its different varieties  offers a wide range of unique colors, and artistic shapes.

When it comes to durability, the stainless steel excels from gold and silver because of its naturally hard alloy. It can be handled for a longer period of time apart from its 100 % recyclable materials. Versatility is one of its characteristics since the wide range of selective stainless steel fashion jewelry could conform to all of our needs, which exactly fit our desired style and fashion ways. Therefore, when it talks about stainless steel jewelries there is no second thought. That it is competitive and practical preferences, the first and world-class choice of this age of generation. As beauty comes in the eye of the beholder, stainless steel jewelry found its grace and essence through the entire fashion history of this 21st century.