Chemistry & Metallurgy of Jewellery
NICKELspecified as “nickel compliant”
BS EN 1811:2011 - Reference test method for release of nickel from all post assemblies which are inserted into pierced parts of the human body and articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin Limit.
Any post assemblies which are inserted into pierced ears and other pierced parts of the human body 0.2 μg/cm2/week (migration limit)
Articles intended to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin such as : 0.5 μg/cm2/week - earrings, necklaces, bracelets and chains, anklets, finger rings.
In articles referred to in point (b) where these have a non-nickel coating 0.5 μg/cm2/week for a period of at least two years of normal use of the article.
CADMIUMIn January 1988 the European Commission was requested to investigate methods of combatting environmental pollution by Cadmium because it is regarded as a carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction substance. According to the CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 Annex VI it is a type 1B carcinogen (presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans, classification is largely based on animal evidence), a category 2 mutagen (substances which cause concern for humans owing to the possibility that they may induce heritable mutations in the germ cells of humans) and reproductive toxicant (suspected human reproductive toxicant).
Cadmium may be present in jewellery as (a) part of the main jewellery alloy, (b) in a solder, (c) in gold coatings (electroforming/electroplating), or (d) as a pigment or stabiliser in non-metal components of a jewellery article : specified as LESS THAN 100 parts per million.
CHROMIUMNo specific legislation regarding the use of lead in jewellery in the UK.
LEADNo specific legislation regarding the use of lead in jewellery in the UK. But there are regulations in relation to lead, and other toxic elements, in toys (i.e. Safety of Toys – BS EN 71-3:1995 – Migration of certain elements).
USA legislation defines a safe limit of 0.06% (600ppm) lead.specified as “lead free”
TheBirmingham Assay Office offers its customers two options; the first is testing by ICP- OES to establish lead content by weight. In this case USA legislation defines a safe limit of 0.06% (600ppm) lead. This test is particularly appropriate for checking a product which has been specified as “lead free” to ensure that there are only trace levels of lead present. Alternatively products may be tested for release of lead.
In Europe the closest parallel legislation is the Toy Safety Regulations which require items to be tested by BS EN 71.3 to establish the level of migration of lead and other dangerous elements from toys. This is obviously intended to ensure that articles which may be sucked or chewed by a child are safe and the permitted level is defined as less than 90 mg/Kg (equivalent to 0.009%, or 90ppm) leach able lead.