How to (Safely!) Wear Scented Jewelry

How to (Safely!) Wear Scented Jewelry

For people like me who just want a quick answer, use the links below to jump to the parts you need:

  1. How does scented jewelry work?
  2. Safety issues with scented jewelry
  3. Benefits of scented jewelry
  4. Where to buy scented jewelry

Introduction

For people who don't mind (or even love?) wearing unique jewelry pieces that stand out, kicking it up a notch by adding scent to the mix is a natural next step. Why not smell like baked goods all day, especially if your jewelry looks like a baked good?

Slow down there, Emeril. While I personally love scented jewelry, there are definite no-nos and maybe-maybe's and careful-careful's to consider. The past decade has brought countless stories of the dangers of essential oils, sometimes without giving an adequate warning to the consumers...well. There's a reason to write this blog post.

I don't want to scare anybody; there are definite pluses to adding a little spice (or sweetness, or florals, etc., etc.) to your wearables, especially as aromatherapy. But I'm getting into spoilies mode... let's get the ball rolling instead.

How does it work?

Scented jewelry isn't new—we've been wearing perfumed jewelry for centuries. But it is a little confusing if you don't know about it, right? It either sounds like some magical, fantasy concept or like we're all still trying to live our Strawberry Shortcake life long after the dolls stopped being popular.

Here's the deal:

  • Jewelry is designed with unique spots to hold scents. This can look like little cage pendants where you add a fragrance or beads to which you directly apply scents. When there is a cage pendant, they usually hold either a bead or a colored pad meant to hold a scent.
  • Essential oils add scent to the jewelry. Bonus round: you could choose to spray it with your fav perfume, cologne, etc etc etc.
  • The scent is released slowly by your body's heat, and the jewelry can absorb it. This means you won't have to worry so much about unwanted smells wafting through the air and annoying other people. Instead, it's released slowly over time so that you'll get a whiff now and then without being overwhelmed by it.

What kind of magical bead carries such marvelous scents?

Blue lava beads. Photo by xoxoshelley on Pixabay.
The most popular type of bead used in scented jewelry is a lava bead. These lava beads are made from natural volcanic rock that absorbs essential oils like coconut oil or eucalyptus oil very well. They're porous enough to trap the scents of these oils inside them but not so porous that they'll allow moisture out—and since they're made from lava rock, they don't soak up water either (so no need to worry about rust).

Natural coral beads can be scented, too. Coral beads are porous, so they can absorb essential oils like wood beads do. Just like lava beads, coral beads are also water-resistant—so they're a great choice if you want to wear your necklace in the shower or on a humid day.

Some wood beads can be used for essential oils. Wood beads work well because they're porous, so they can absorb the oils and keep them safe inside. However, wood beads are not as water-resistant as lava beads are—so if you want to use them for your jewelry and then wear it in the shower or on a humid day, you might end up with a soggy necklace.

Bonus round: Jasper.
Jasper is another type of porous bead that's often used for jewelry making. It comes in many different colors and patterns—including red jasper, black jasper, tiger eye jasper, and more!

Is it safe?

Drumroll, please...

If you follow the rules, then it is probably safe.

It's generally safe to wear scented jewelry. But, there are a few exceptions (why else would I make this blog post...)

The Rules for Safely Wearing Scented Jewelry:

1. Find out if you just shouldn't wear it because of allergies or lifestyle.

For example, don't wear if:

  1. You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  2. Have young children or pets who could put the jewelry in their mouths.

  3. Have asthma or any other respiratory issues that make inhaling essential oils difficult for you

  4. Have sensitivity to fragrances. This could mean getting a headache after awhile or even having severe allergies (though, if that's you, you probably aren't reading this...)

  5. If you work in a small office space where you're close to other people. Let's be real; this is less common in 2023 than in, say, 2019, but this isn't unheard of. More people have extreme scent sensitivities than you may think, and it's better to err on the side of caution.

2. Research the manufacturer and oils they send.

If you still have questions, check with the manufacturer or seller before buying. Most reputable companies will be able to tell you whether their products are infused with essential oils or other fragrances, and some may even offer information about what types of oils are used. If you're concerned about allergies or reactions, ask for a list of ingredients in advance so that you can determine if there's anything in them that might cause an issue for you.

3. Test the oils first.

Most essential oils are safe to wear on the skin and in the air. However, some oils can irritate or burn your skin, so it's best to do a small patch test with any new oils before using them. The best way to test an essential oil is by rubbing a little bit of it on your inner wrist, which is rich in capillaries and nerve endings. Wait 24 hours to see if you experience any irritation or burning. If the area becomes red or swollen, wash off the oil immediately with soap and water. If you notice no reaction after 24 hours, you should be able to safely use that oil as long as you don't get too much exposure at once (more than 5 drops).

4. When you refill the scent, only use 1-4 drops, especially on any part that will directly touch your skin. 

If you notice no reaction after 24 hours, you should be able to safely use that oil as long as you don't get too much exposure at once (more than 5 drops).

To refill the scent, just add a lil more oils on there, baybee. Use a dropper to place just a few drops of oil into the bead. You can also use a spray bottle filled with distilled water and essential oils. Just be sure not to overdo it; beyond the potential skin irritation, we've all been around people who accidentally put on too much perfume, and it's...not ideal.

"I wore two colognes!""Oh I'm VERY aware of how much cologne you're wearing."

 

    Benefits of scented jewelry

    Now that I've gotten the warnings out of the way, let's cover why people choose to wear scented jewelry in the first place:

    Lavender oil and lavender buds.Scented jewelry can be used for aromatherapy.

    Aromatherapy is the practice of using various scented materials to improve your mood or health. It's been used for centuries, but only recently has it become popular worldwide. There are a number of ways that aromatherapy can be used to promote wellness, including through inhaling the fragrance itself or wearing jewelry that contains essential oils.

    Scents can elevate your mood.

    There is some evidence that certain scents can affect your mood. Lavender is the go-to scent for relieving anxiety and stress; while not as effective at a molecular level as, say, pharmaceuticals, studies have demonstrated how the chemicals in lavender have measurable effects on the central nervous system. Translation for people cooler than me: it do be having some kind of biological effect.

    Reducing anxiety when you have issues being in public can be extremely difficult. As somebody with social anxiety, I can relate. Having a scented piece I can wear has been a helpful little incognito way to carry something for self-soothing purposes without standing out too much.

    Bonus round: when the scented piece is made of beads, rolling beads in a bracelet form can be an effective form of stimming, too. Of course, this isn't ideal if you are somebody who needs to stim but has fragrance sensitivities, so if you're thinking of buying scented jewelry with beads as a gift...maybe double-check first.

    Scents can bring back good memories.

    There is also evidence that scents can help bring back memories. This is one of the more well-documented phenomenons with how scent functions in the human body. For example, one study found that people who are more likely to feel nostalgic are especially sensitive to scent-evoked nostalgia. If I'm interpreting that correctly, you may get extra happy tingles from scents if you have ever read a Buzzfeed article even once in your life. 

    Scented pieces that smell like food or a baked good could have extra memory power of your family member's baking or even just eating some good, good food. I love that for you.

    You can just...like it.

    Let's not pretend that isn't a good enough answer.

    Where can you find it?

    I'm glad you asked.

    Scented jewelry has been more popular in the past few years, but it's relatively new enough that it may not be widely available IRL. You can still check out local stores, especially specialty shops and gift shops.

    If you're into it, I make several scented pieces and sell them on this website.

    You can check them out here:

    I add an extra vial of essential oils when I sell my pieces to ensure you can get their lasting effects as long as possible.

    If you don't like my offerings, plenty of sellers online can scratch your itch as if they were a scented sticker. I recommend using Etsy to find designs you're into. Just search for "scented necklace" or "diffuser jewelry," and you'll probably find what you're looking for.

    If you're feeling especially DIY, you can always make your own. Local craft stores tend to have helpful supplies. Michael's in the U.S. has a whole section meant to be used for diffuser jewelry. However, I recommend finding a bead shop close to you. Shopping locally is my preferred way to source materials; you can support small businesses and give back to your local economy simultaneously. From personal experience, these small, local bead and jewelry supply shops will be very helpful in getting you all the materials you need to make your own cool piece.