Current Safety Issues with Jewelry: Part II Radium in SteamPunk

Steam Punk:  It's new, it's cool and it's good for the environment.  Steam Punk jewelry is the latest thing on the market.  For those who have never heard of it, Steam Punk jewery is recycled mechanical parts, like those found in computers and old watches, which have been created into necklace pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings.  

But what is old should not always be made new again.  Many old watches contain radium.  The following blog post, dated January 9, 2009, explores the dangers associated with old watch parts and illustrates videos of the radium testing results:

This danger is new and not yet on the government's radar for consumer protection.  Buyer be warned.

Current Safety Issues with Jewelry: Part I Lead

As many of you may be aware, the CPSIA has passed new legislation requiring mandatory testing for all products sold to children aged six or younger.  Most of  the concern is regarding lead in products, most widely found in toys.  But what may come as a surprise to many is the presence of lead in many crystal beads used to create the trendy crystal baby bracelets which sometimes include the baby's name in metal beads.  These beads are also commonly used in the mom's bracelets that have become so trendy today.
Swarovski crystals, commonly regarded as the finest crystals for their precision faceting.  As beautiful as they are, a lead content of up to 21% is present in these crystals.  Celestial crystals, another popular crystal on the market contains 12 to 14% lead in many of their crystals, but has recently released a new lead free crystal.  Czech glass is similar to crystal and contains no lead.

Lead in crystals is used to provide additional weight and add a luxurious feel to beaded jewelry. This level of lead is perfectly safe for adults and children provided you to do not attempt to consume or place them in your mouth.  However, leaded crystals or metals are not considered safe for children under age 6.  Also be on guard for lead in metal beads, especially base metal beads.  There are lead free alternatives and it's your right to be able to get them.  (Although, as a jewelry designer and a mother of a toddler, I do not recommend jewelry for any children under age six due to the risk of choking, no matter what the materials.)

Beginning February 10, 2009 anyone selling these jewelry items for children are obligated to have their products individually tested by a third party agency approved by the CPSIA.  And it is your right to review copies of these results.  If you are told that a product containing Swarovski crystal is lead free, that's simply not possible.  Know your rights and keep your kids safe.