What Jewelry Turns Your Skin Green?


What Jewelry Turns Skin Green? — TOP 7 Types Revealed

Many of us have unfortunately hit a jewelry store, were gifted, or purchased that gorgeous piece on sale online only to find out later that our skin has turned green after wearing it.

This unpleasant experience doesn’t have to be tough, if only you knew what ring, necklace, or earring jewelry produces negative effects, right?

Jewelry that turns your skin green is typically metal alloys like copper. Moreover, cheap jewelry has a tendency to cause discoloration which is a result of metal oxidation when, e.g., ring tarnishing occurs.

Fine jewelry like silver or gold may trigger green skin too. To avoid this, use antioxidants.

The 7 Pieces of Jewelry That Turn Your Skin Green

The following base products are mainly responsible for turning your skin green in pieces of jewelry you get.

#1 Copper-based Jewelry 

Although copper is an antimicrobial as well as an antifungal (prevents the growth of microorganisms in the body) it is, in pieces of jewelry, one of the chief causes of green fingers.

This is true, for example, while wearing your favorite copper ring due to the oxidation processes it goes through.

Copper usually reacts with chemicals it gets in touch with. This can be either at the jewelry level, e.g., in metal alloys as often is the case, or with your body’s acids that flow out towards the item you wear.

The last reaction occurs when applying any lotion, soap, or other chemicals to your skin.

The result is the beginning of the oxidation process that eventually leads to jewelry tarnishing, which turns your ear parts or finger green.

This green layer over your fingers, helix ear parts, or neck is of course unpleasant. However, copper jewelry is in terms of being safely non-harmful.

Toxicity by copper can only occur when swallowed or consumed otherwise.

#2 Nickel Jewelry 

Is nickel good for jewelry?

This is a common question that many jewelry buyers across America and the rest of the world occasionally ask.

The answer, nickel is good for jewelry because it strengthens, for example, a white gold engagement ring or silver wedding band. 

Nickel is a common metal alloy added to various jewelry like fine gold or silver sterling, often together with the aforementioned copper, to give the piece resistance against all kinds of possible issues like scratches or ring bending.

One of the disadvantages of nickel on the other though is that nickel may turn your skin green depending on the alloy metals it is mixed with

Since most plated metals, especially on the cheaper end of the jewelry fashion spectrum, contain nickel and copper, the tarnishing and hence green finger or skin effect occurs.

Another important aspect of nickel jewelry you should be aware of is the fact that this lustrous metal may cause health issues.

It is said that nickel may be the cause of some severe health issues like allergies, kidney failure, and carcinogenic (causation of nasal as well as lung cancer) due to its toxicity levels, though more research is underway (Source).

Nickel-free pieces of jewelry are therefore widespread and may be recommended, though, of course, not everyone who is wearing nickel-based jewelry automatically experiences health problems.

Fashion product quality, mixture, and the amount of it, as well as the possible and real direct exposure to it, all play key factors in this health debate.

#3 Zinc Jewelry

Zinc in jewelry is widespread in the form of copper-zinc alloy, better known as brass jewelry. Since copper is one of the favored jewelry alloys, it tarnishes and unfortunately discolors your skin to green.

Accept from making your skin partly look like the Incredible Hulk movie, it is scientifically not known of severe harmfulness to your body in terms of being used as zinc jewelry.

Zinc is usually known as a useful and essential mineral found in dietary food supplements, and as science says, supports your body to combat harmful bacteria and improve your immune system (Source).

What other metals and products are responsible, if any, for turning fingers and other body parts green?

Let’s bust the myths or verify the rumors to the benefit of your brain, health, and pockets.

#4 Can Real Gold Turn Your Skin Green?

Real gold, fine gold also known as 24K,  doesn’t corrode and therefore causes green skin. The issue with gold discoloring appears when the gold alloy is used to make the jewelry.

In this case, the gold alloy can be causation for discoloring, as science and real-life experience show (Source).

Corrosion created by gold-plated jewelry contact with cosmetics that contain hard metals, e.g., rhodium alloys, migrate with the hard cosmetics metal, and discolor is the result. 

Yellow, red to the dark, and greenish coloring of skin may be the negative effect. Adding a non-oxidation metal, like platinum in between, prevents the gold alloy discoloring, though.

#5 Can Sterling Silver Turn Skin Green?

Sterling silver 925 is a metal alloy that contains portions of copper. Copper, as previously established above, corrodes, tarnishes, and lastly turns your finger (skin) green or other discolorations once exposed, especially in a moisture environment.

This metal aging process due to the exposure can be prevented, by applying cleaning methods recommended by silver metal experts, as the Heritage Science Journal explains in its Aug 12, 2015 publication.

  • Pouring white vinegar for about 30 minutes in a bowl,
  • then brushing it with a toothbrush carefully
  • water clean it, dry it, and finish

 is my homegrown remedy picked up along the way though, jewelry cleaning products are probably the safe route for guaranteed results!

#6 Does Brass Turn The Skin Green?

Green layering (patina) on brass metal jewelry is quite common as a consequence of the inability of copper and zinc alloy (which brass is made of) to prevent excessive staining and color uniformity, as the Copper Development Association Inc. confirms.

The high amount of copper brass metals (around 70%) guarantees the oxidation of the jewelry piece that will translate your skin into green coloration.

A gold-plated brass necklace and other accessories are therefore used to prevent your brass pieces of jewelry from turning your skin to a green film.

Though, as you’ve discovered above, only real gold (24K) may be the only coating solution for prevention.

This green finger or verdigris effect is nevertheless a general phenomenon you’ve probably experienced when you picked up a green penny from your dad’s or mom’s old jewelry case back then.

It’s not really poisonous or something like that as long used accordingly. Clean your brass necklace pendant or ring with baking soda, vinegar (see above), or soap, or water — that’s usually it.

#7 Is Bronze Jewelry Staining Skin Green?

Bronze is an alloy that sadly enough contains nickel and copper. As heavily discussed, this means your skin will show the green film created by copper oxidation.

Moreover, some people have a nickel allergy that may display toxicity. Bronze jewelry can be safe if the ring places, for example, a platinum mixture between the bronze and the gold or silver plating to avoid the stain.

Sealed bronze jewelry prevents the chemical reaction to occur, ´cos otherwise bronze-based jewelry was and is known for other benefits like low price points of an otherwise great-looking piece or skin condition improvement.

How To Get Rid Of Green Skin

The best way to get rid of green skin is to avoid getting it in the first place. The second-smartest thing is to have only fine gold, silver, or tungsten jewelry and others that do not oxidize at all.

Thirdly, avoid alloys that contain copper, zinc, bronze, and brass. These are often not mixed into a metal alloy accessory like mom birthstone rings that might look great but, without care-taking, chipped, tarnish, and discolored.

Forth, the green stains on your skin can be cleaned using:

  • Clean skin by applying alcohol when already green skinned
  • Coating jewelry e.g., with nail paint (please use non-stinking, organic-based)
  • The barrier between jewelry and skin (must be a polymer, ideally)
  • Avoid skin care products with hard metals (perfumes, creams, sprays)
  • Clean earrings, necklace chains, or rings before wearing (jewelry cleaner)
  • Environmental exposure prevention (sun, moisture, and other oxidants accelerators)

This should be a solid list of how to get rid of the green film on your skin when wearing fashion pieces of jewelry.

All good and well you say, know I know very well what jewelry stains turned my ring finger green, but what about the opposite case, you rightfully demand a full-blown answer?

What Jewelry Does NOT Turn Your Skin Green?

Generally, fine jewelry of different compositions and even some specific metal alloys are safe and do not make your skin change suddenly change to green (e.g., the rare precious metal platinum). These antioxidants are of high metal value and chemical stability.

In the following post on this very shop and care jewelry website, you can explore more on this topic about which pieces of jewelry do not actually create stained skin coloration.

Jewelry and Green Skin (Conclusion)

In short, you can wear your startling engagement wedding or promise ring anytime you like, as long as you follow these simple tips and jewelry advice on green fingers and skin coloration prevention.

It’s not simply about price, though cheap jewelry is prone to stain your skin. An affordable engagement diamond ring or silver wedding band for him of good quality products can be a great and safe jewelry choice.

Bear in mind that the chemical reaction of oxidation, tarnishing, and hence green skin is mostly not a harmful one for your body or health.

When your skin itches or is reddish, then it’s probably a sign of an allergic reaction rather than a chemical one.

Copper and nickel are the metals you should either avoid in terms of green film on the finger or allergies.

On the other side, the amount in the jewelry as well as the coating and sealing of it from oxidizing or skin contact affects the outcome of the patina (green skin coloration).

Lastly, prevention by purchasing chains, bands, anklets, or earrings and rings that do not oxidize in the first place is the way forward Mr. or Ms. Fashionista.

Cleaning and maintaining jewelry the right way as touched above will make you a longtime happy owner or gift-giver of thrilling bling-bling for yourself, her, or him.

Bill Dominic

Bill is an art history and business graduate. Moreover, he loves to test, compare, shop jewelry & fashion items for his 5 sisters, girlfriend, nieces when not enjoying a great novel.

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