Why Am I Turning Green From My Jewelry?
I get this question a lot and the answer is relatively simple so let’s dig in.
Copper is the prime suspect when it comes to your skin turning green. Copper is present in a lot of jewelry either in pure or alloy form. Brass and bronze are two main culprits, while sterling silver and lower karat gold can also cause green skin. The reason this occurs is because chemicals and your sweat oxidize copper creating copper chloride. Copper chloride isn’t harmful to you but it is the reason why you’re rocking green skin underneath your jewelry. Washing with soap and water should be sufficient to remove the green tinge from your skin. If not, you can also use rubbing alcohol for easy removal.
Acidity is another culprit as to why your skin turns green. The more acidic, the more likely copper is to react. Lotions, hair products, etc. can contribute to this. It’s important to wipe down your jewelry after you’ve worn it to remove any dirt or oils. A polishing cloth is a simple way to remove oxidation from the jewelry once it’s already occurred. It’s important to keep jewelry dry since moisture can speed up oxidation. While getting jewelry wet doesn’t damage it, it can contribute to green skin if there’s copper involved.
There are many suggested hacks on the internet to prevent abrasion from occurring but most will simply damage the jewelry. Using clear nail polish for example doesn’t work because polish is softer than plated metals. You’ll end up having polish in some areas while other areas will be bare from the friction while wearing the piece. Trying to remove the polish with acetone will damage the jewelry. If you want to create a barrier, use renaissance wax instead. Unlike nail polish, this will create a barrier that takes much longer to rub off. And the wax is super easy to reapply! If you’d like to go the professional route, you can always have the jewelry re-plated. While plating doesn’t last forever, it can last quite a while if you care for it properly.
If green skin really bugs you, stick to metals without copper like platinum, rhodium, stainless steel (it does contain nickel though), titanium, or pure silver/gold.