Jewelry rash is often caused by a lower grade of jewelry. Less expensive jewelry contains a significant nickel content. Often nickel is what causes the irritation. The skin that came into contact with the jewellery breaks out into hives or becomes swollen and itchy. If this occurs, take the jewelry off immediately. You should see your symptoms subside within a few hours and clear up completely within a day or two, depending on the severity of your rash. If you choose to continue wearing the jewelry, there are a few things you can do to help prevent a rash.
Keep the area dry. Bracelets can cause an allergic reaction soon after you've washed your hands, if you failed to completely dry the area. Dry your hands and wrists completely, along with the jewelry after you have gotten them wet. Though this isn't foolproof, it can help.
Buy quality jewelry. Cheap jewelry often has plating over the nickel to prevent the nickel from coming in direct contact with the skin. However, sometimes the plating wears off after you have worn the jewelry for awhile. Once this happens, you may break out into a rash. Though pure silver or gold jewelry is substantially more expensive, you will save yourself from an unsightly rash by spending the extra bucks.
Have your jewelry electroplated again: This will help to conceal the nickel. Though this will work for awhile, it's likely that the plating will rub off again and you will be faced with a similar problem.
Use clear nail polish on the area of jewelry that touches your skin. Clear nail polish will help to seal the nickel. The polish can wear off, so be prepared to reapply the clear coat as needed. However, this is a very cheap alternative that will let you wear your favorite pieces.
Have your jewelry cleaned. If you are getting rashes from expensive jewelry, it's likely that is has come into contact with a substance that irritates your skin. Take it to a jeweler to get it cleaned and polished. Try your luck after the cleaning process, as you are likely to see results.