Silver coloured 3mm crimp. Nickel and lead free.). Nickel and lead free. . What is Nickel Free? The term "nickel free" can be confusing, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, most of us used to think that surgical stainless steel had no nickel. Surgical stainless steel (the most commonly used piercing material in the United States), although wearable by the majority of the population, does contain a small amount of nickel, usually 8% in jewelry. Also, jewelry marked nickel free is allowed to contain a very small amount of nickel ... but it is such a tiny amount that it takes very sensitive instruments days and sometimes weeks to measure it. The European standard is that items labeled nickel free may not contain more than 0.05% nickel. In other words, there canÃ¢Â€Â™t be more than 1 part in 2,000 that is nickel. The UK standard is even more stringent: 0.01% nickel. There is not yet a U.S. standard, but if/when there is one, it will probably be the same as the European standard (0.05%).