Nickel Testing

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Nickel is now the most frequent cause of contact allergy in Europe. Skin absorption of nickel ions, released from nickel containing materials, can lead to sensitisation. The degree of sensitivity to nickel varies between individuals. This widespread health problem has forced the introduction of measures to reduce the development of allergic contact dermatitis to nickel.

Why is nickel used by manufacturers?

Nickel has been used for many years because of the physical properties it bestows on an article of jewellery. For example:

When a rough casting is made it can be overplated with nickel and made very smooth. (This process is known as 'levelling').This smooth surface when overplated with silver or gold is extremely bright. When nickel is plated as a continuous layer it acts as a barrier to the migration of copper to the surface. Copper oxidises, turns green and roughens the surface. A product's strength and durability are both increased by the addition of nickel. Precious metal alloys are mixtures of several metals chosen for colour, strength or hardness. Nickel added to gold may bleach it thus producing a white gold alloy.

Nickel has been used for many years and the industrial expertise is well developed. It is also inexpensive when compared to the available alternatives such as palladium. 

Consumer Protection

Previous legislation stated that any manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or retailer would be breaking the law if:

In order to support the legislation and ensure products complied, they had to be tested to the correct British Standards, BS EN 1811:1998 and BS EN 12472. Both standard have been reviewed several times to improve consistency and allow repeatability of results. For example, the test solution is now more stable and a procedure for measuring the surface area has been clearly defined. Latest version, “BS EN 1811:2011 + A1 2015”, has been in effect since 31st August 2015. The compliance levels for an article are:

Our Service

Sheffield Analytical Services undertakes chemical analyses and testing of items for nickel release under EC Nickel Directive 1907/2006 REACH Annex XVII, Item 27. Items may range from fashion jewellery, sunglasses and accessories to belt buckles. The primary reason for importers, manufacturers and multiple retailers to use this service is confirmation of due diligence. We number many national retailers amongst our clients and offer:

Nickel release tests:

The testing procedure involves first identifying parts of an article that may contact broken or unbroken skin, assessing for coatings and then applying the appropriate tests.



Based to BSEN 1811:2011 + A1:2015 and BSEN 12472

Prior to carry the test method in accordance with BSEN 1811, articles are subjected to a procedure of corrosion and wear which simulates a period of two years' normal use. Then, each article is divided into components to identify component part release.

Short test (PDCR12471)

This method is designed to identify clear PASS articles through a more aggressive test. It combines the principles of BS EN 12472, BS EN 1811 and PDCR 12471 supported by XRF scanning. Where the result is unclear a recommendation of testing to BS EN 1811. This method is not a direct substitute for the reference procedures but as a screening technique to support due diligence claims. It is not designed for piercing articles because of the lower limits required for these items.


Item is not split into components. Test method is in accordance with BSEN 1811.

Field test kits

Qualitative screening test method.

Based to EN 16128:2011 (glasses frames)

It’s the test method for determining the Ni

The item to be tested for nickel release is placed in an artificial sweat test solution for one week.

Nickel content:

Please get in touch for further details. A Certificate of Conformity Scheme is available that includes Due Diligence Defence, purposive sampling and stock audits.

Click here to download the Analytical Services application form.

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