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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/allergic reaction to watch



I was given a watch for a birthday last year, and I was able to wear it without any problems for around 7 weeks before I started having reactions to it, and I subsequently stopped wearing it. I told a freind about it and he said putting talcum powder on the watch would help. I know rhodium also helps but don't know any jewellers that would plate the watch with it. Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Matthew,

I do not know what metal the watch and band are made of.  A rhodium plate would be the best answer if the band and case are metals which will accept the plate.  Gold items may certainly be plated readily with no need for an in-between plate of copper or another metal, including and especially white gold.  As for base metals which are not precious metals, you are likely out of luck in finding a jeweler to rhodium plate the watch.

A watch movement may be generally removed from the case without great difficulty.  If the metal of the case will be ok with rhodium plate, that job should not be too difficult.  If need be, only the back of the case may be plated by masking the front with a lacquer which is removed once the plate work is finished.

Talcum powder will help asbsorb moisture and oils from the skin but will provide only a quite temporary solution, if providing any solution to the problem at all.

Matthew, best wishes with a possible electroplate on the watch to prevent direct contact with your skin and allieve the metal sensitivity reaction.

Best New Year to you, God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Ok the watch bottom is made from stainless steel (this is an alloy of nickel and copper).

I know talc would be temporary, but if applied to watch and skin every day before I put on the watch, would that be a good temporary/daily fix?

Dear Matthew, the stainless steel back should not cause any skin reaction.  It is possible the watch case is made of metal to which you are sensitive. You might take off the band(if removable) and put clear lacquer or nail polish delicately around the bottom portion of the case liable to touch your skin. Do not allow the lacquer to run between the case back and case or removal of the back might be impaired. Use very little and a small applicator.

I have not used talc for this purpose but it is effective in absorbing moisture, etc., helping prevent rash.  Give it a try. There is possibly something to gain and little to loose in giving it  try.

Again, best wishes and God Bless.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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