• Karen Seiger

Shaya NYC Jewelry is Now 100% Nickel Free

Until recently, I had rarely heard of people having allergies to nickel in jewelry. But I’ve been hearing about nickel more and more in the past year or so. People usually become allergic to nickel after long-term exposure to it. The allergy is a form of dermatitis, and apparently it is itchy and uncomfortable. The only way around it is to avoid jewelry that is not 100% nickel free. People who are sensitive to nickel cannot be too careful with the items they wear next to their skin.

Shay Mehubad in his booth at the Union Square Holiday Market


For this reason, I am thrilled to learn that my friend Shay Mehubad of Shaya NYC Fine Handcrafted Jewelry has upgraded all the materials and production processes that he uses in his jewelry designs. His entire collection is now nickel free.

“Customers started talking with me about nickel allergies. I looked into it, and I realized that I didn’t want to make anything that would be bad for anyone’s health, especially if they receive a piece of my jewelry as a gift.”

So he decided to remove nickel from his collection. He also decided that it was time to upgrade his materials to create higher quality pieces of jewelry. It took months to plan and execute the reengineering of his production processes. a major investment in his business to modify the materials he uses. As of June 2014, every piece he makes is free of nickel.

ShayaNYC Metal Smithing


Previously, Shay had used brass as a base for many of his pieces. It is a common metal in jewelry, as it is strong, malleable and relatively lower in cost compared to silver and gold. He would create pieces of jewelry and then plate them with the final finishes in gold, rose gold and gunmetal. The nickel became an issue because the plating process involves nickel to help the metal finishes adhere to the brass. So although the pieces themselves did not contain nickel, the plating process made them unsafe for people with a nickel allergy.

Now Shay uses .925 Sterling silver as the base for all his pieces instead of brass. Not only does this switch make it possible to eliminate nickel from the plating process, but plating over silver creates a bond with more longevity. In other words, the finishes on his collection should stay true and shiny for longer — as long as the jewelry’s owners care for and store their pieces properly, of course.

Arden Bracelet from Shaya NYC, signed by the artist


The materials are now of a higher quality, which required Shay to make a significant  investment in these changes. “It was the right thing to do for my customers and for the long-term growth of my business,” he said. His work now meets most international jewelry standards, which now opens overseas opportunities for Shaya NYC.

Personally, I’m addicted to Shay’s jewelry. It’s just so clean, versatile, comfortable and beautiful. My sister Andrea is addicted too. So is my sister-in-law Marcy. And my friend Elizabeth. And my other friend Beth showed up wearing a Shaya NYC necklace to a party. There’s just something fresh and modern about his designs. And I never imagined you could create so many different shapes and combinations based on the simple square!

Shay always tells me that doesn’t want his jewelry to draw attention to itself. He wants it to flatter the person who is wearing it. I love that he listened to his customers and changed his entire design and production process as a result. I can’t wait to see how these changes affect his creativity and his business going forward.

Visit ShayaNYC online, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And come see the pieces in person every Friday – Sunday at the Nolita Market on Prince Street between Mott and Mulberry Streets (weather permitting).

Shaya NY Karen Earrings in Rose Gold, named after Yours Truly!


Shaya will be launching his gorgous Rough Cut Diamond Collection online!


#KarenSeiger #FineHandcraftedJewelry #NickelFreeJewelry #ShayMehubad #ShayaNYC #100NickelFree #Jewerlyproduction #NolitaMarket #handmadejewelry #Jewelrymaker #MarketsofNewYorkCity #ArtisanMarket

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