While jewelry is beautiful and fun to wear, there are drawbacks, among them that some jewelry can turn skin green. Contrary to popular belief, this does not happen just because the jewelry is cheap or of low quality. There is no single answer to why certain pieces of jewelry turn fingers green, but there are a few possible culprits.
- Sweat from your finger reacts with the metal on the ring. This means that the metal begins to break down into microscopic fragments, which then wear off onto your skin as you perspire.
- Metallic abrasion. Tiny metal particles, the result of makeup chemicals coming into contact with jewelry being worn close to the skin, can form black dust and result in discoloration.
- You may have a slight allergic to the type of metal on the ring. The fragments mix with the natural metals, minerals and chemicals of the body and turn green or blueish-green depending on the wearer’s specific body chemistry.
- You may have washed your hands with soap that does not react well the metal on your ring. This is usually caused by a chemical reaction between a chemical and the alloy in the metal. Make-up, hand creams, lotions, perfume, etc can all react with the alloy
Regardless of the specific cause for the finger discoloration, after some time the green will disappear. Many think that finger discoloration indicates the quality of a piece of jewelry. It’s a common misconception that only cheap rings can turn your finger green. Inexpensive rings are commonly made using copper or a similar brass based metal, which reacts with oxygen to form verdigris, which is green. However, fine jewelry also can cause discoloration of your finger. This reaction happens more commonly with sterling silver than with gold, although some people do have adverse reactions to gold jewelry as well.
Some wonder: does my finger turning green mean that my ring is not sterling silver? In short, no. Sterling silver contains other metals as well, but the most common stains from sterling silver jewelry are black, and occur when the metal tarnishes (darkens due to a reaction with gases in the air). All silver oxidizes, and this is what makes some silver look tarnished. Some sterling pieces are coated with products that help keep them from tarnishing, but the coatings may wear off in time.
So how can you prevent your fingers from turning green? Remove the ring before you wash your hands or immerse them in water. Water may assist the metal ions in absorbing into your skin. Swimming, washing your hands and doing dishes can all cause the skin on your finger to turn green underneath your ring. Removing your rings before washing, and drying your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with water will prevent this from happening. Avoid wearing jewelry while cleaning, gardening, and other activities that can quickly destroy the metal’s finish. Even talc, which is found in many cosmetics, is known to have an abrasive effect on jewelry items.
Luckily, Emitations offers many jewelry solution products that help prevent discolored fingers. Our Jeweler’s Skin Guard can work wonders! Apply this clear solution to the inside of the ring or directly on your finger. A coating of the nail lacquer will prevent the ring’s metal alloys from coming in contact with your skin. This product is completely invisible and will work like magic! Customers have said, “I have applied skin guard to my clip earrings and rings and have noticed no irritation after wearing them.” and “Skin guard works much better than nail polish. With nail polish I found that a lot of the time it would chip or flake away, whereas skin guard doesn’t .”
You can also avoid finger discoloration by cleaning your jewelry often using our Brilliant Jewelry Cleaner or a soft lint free cloth. Or take advantage of both with our Gift Set: Jewelry Cleaning Set. Our cz jewelry cleaner is recommended by the Jewelry Information Center and was used in Academy Award gift bags! Our customers swear by this cleaner, saying: “I don’t ever want to be without this cleaner now that I’ve discovered it. It’s pure magic. I am amazed at the difference it has made to all my jewelry. I just spray it on, wait a few seconds, rinse and then dry with my hair dryer. The results are incredible!”