From markets to malls, shopping centres to petrol stations, cheap, mass produced, imported jewellery is everywhere.
Just recently I visited a local garden centre & as I walked in the office main entrance I was suddenly confronted with a long wall of jewellery. Fleetingly I was hopeful that this may in fact be a space dedicated to showcasing the talents of local jewellery makers.
But as I walked closer, the tell tale signs emerged that this was just another retailer on the bandwagon of selling cheap jewellery as a sideline to their existing business.
I understand the need for businesses to have different income streams but the problem is that a lot of this cheap, imported costume jewellery can actually be a potential health hazard.
The reason being is that much of it is made in South East Asia in large quantities & to keep costs down, they use cheap labor (young children) & cheap components & findings.
The quality of these jewellery findings & workmanship of the jewellery piece itself is often extremely low & as a result can lead to minor & major health problems such as skin irritation.
For example some time ago a client had a glass multistrand necklace that she had purchased from a market & she couldn’t wear because it scratched and sometimes even cut her skin. On closer inspection I found that most of crimps had been badly mashed rather than folded & many of the glass beads in the piece were extremely rough to touch.
I have repaired many pieces of cheap costume jewellery over the years & they all have the same issues: poor quality materials & workmanship. The underlying problem with this is that when the skin is severely scratched or cut by your badly made, cheap jewellery, there is always the potential for infection which, can lead to further health problems down the track.
How can Jewellery Make You Sick?
The selling of imported, fake, knock off jewellery often sold at markets is not only a huge problem for the economy but is also a health hazard. This type of cheap jewellery has a much higher lead content than Australian industry standards permit. It has been well documented over the years that high lead levels in jewellery can cause acute & chronic toxicity through direct skin contact .
The problem of lead poisoning from wearing high lead level jewellery is not confined to the adult population. When we wear this type of jewellery around children we are putting their health at risk too. As a mum myself, I know children naturally like to touch, feel, play & put items such as jewellery in their mouth.
In fact, I still find the mouths of my 8 & 10yr old coming into contact with some strange things!
So, aside from the fact that I make jewellery, & much to my 10yr old daughters’ dismay (she loves DIVA, Equip, Kleins jewellery), one of the many reasons I refuse to support the cheap imported, mass produced costume jewellery industry is because of the potential risks to my families’ health.
How about you?
Share your thoughts below.