Kosmemophobia: The Overwhelming Fear Of Jewelry Explained

Most of us have a fear that isn't necessarily founded but still dictates some of our behaviors. It may prevent us from engaging in certain activities, even if we haven't experienced any direct trauma from the phobia -– like skipping out on roller coasters, because there's just no need to be tossed about like that, right? Common fears tend to include heights, creepy crawlers, the ocean, and paranormal activity. But some lesser-known fears may sound a bit absurd to us -– like eisoptrophobia: the fear of looking in the mirror. But with some consideration, it's possible to understand why someone could potentially be freaked out by mirrors.

So, what about a deep-seated fear of jewelry? A fear so intense it makes you nauseous and you even need to request that your partner abstains from wearing much of it. Sounds pretty wild, right? But the rare phobia is the real deal. Kosmemophobia is the term for this fear and while extremely rare, there are people out there who struggle to not only wear jewelry but see it worn by others. Let's take a closer look at what kosmemophobia is all about.

Kosmemophobia is theorized to be linked to OCD

There are few studies done on the rare phobia, so information is limited, but a kosmemophobia Facebook support group with over 800 likes gives fellow sufferers a place to explore living with the phobia together. Some have linked the fear to obsessive-compulsive disorder, although there isn't much solid research in this area yet either. Those who struggle with kosmemophobia report an overwhelming need to wash their hands after seeing someone wearing jewelry. It's safe to say those with the condition don't even attempt to wear earrings, rings, or necklaces themselves, so the phobia is mostly experienced through the sight of jewelry.

Nascar racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the most famous voice on the matter and struggles with the phobia daily. "(My wife) Amy thought that I was making it up and that there's no such thing as a jewelry phobia," Earnhardt explained on his Dale Jr. Download podcast, via For The Win. "But there is a word. It's one of them long, crazy words, but it's real. There's people that have it. I don't like wearing it, and I don't like being close to it." The Nascar pro even wears a silicone alternative wedding ring from Qalo to sidestep his kosmemophobia and still be able to show off his love for his wife.

How to cope with kosmemophobia

The phobia may seem a bit silly to outsiders, but the fear can be so intense it can even lead to vomiting after touching jewelry or other small metal objects, like keys. Some sufferers of the phobia share their experiences of being belittled and dismissed for having made up the fear. But small metal objects cannot be completely avoided in life. Others are bound to sport jewelry in public and sometimes even silverware can trigger a negative response.

So, how do those with kosmemophobia manage the fear? It's possible that traditional treatment for OCD with the right therapist could be effective in helping those with kosmemophobia navigate the world. Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention which are used to combat OCD (via Mayo Clinic) could potentially curb the intense bodily reactions to triggers, as kosmemophobia may be connected to a more general mental health issue. But ultimately, those with the condition will likely share that it's a daily battle since jewelry is just about everywhere you go. If you struggle with this fear, your loved ones may be able to work with you and avoid wearing jewelry in your presence. And hopefully, further research will be done on the unique phobia to help soothe those with a fear of jewelry.