Perhaps we should call it the curse of gold jewelry – you have had this stunning piece of jewelry for several months and have always known that it will be the best jewelry option you’ve ever had, and yet, it now seems that every time you wear that gold ring, you end up with a green stain on your finger.
And when this happens, it is not only annoying but, honestly, one of the most embarrassing things that could ever happen to you, especially if you pride yourself in investing only in the very best kinds of jewelry you can afford.
So, you may be wondering where you went wrong or what you messed up in the process. Why is it causing a green discoloration? Is it possible that you bought a fake 18k gold ring?
Join us as we explore the possibilities that may have led to the green discoloration of your fingers from the ring. So, let’s get right into it!
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18k gold ring turning finger green – Does it mean a fake ring?
18k gold ring turning your finger green hardly means that the ring is fake, although it points to the purity level of that gold piece of jewelry.
And 18k gold, like all the other gold alloys, are impure versions of gold made of gold that is mixed with other kinds of metals.
Note that 24k gold is 99.9% pure gold, non-reactive, tarnish-resistant, and corrosion-resistant, which means that you should not expect any discoloration from this version of gold.
However, 24k gold is extremely soft and expensive. It doesn’t make the best jewelry material. (Here we explain why 24K gold is not good for making jewelry.)To create solid gold jewelry, jewelers and goldsmiths mix pure gold with other metal alloys in different proportions, resulting in different versions of gold.
18k gold, for instance, is made of 75% pure gold, and the remainder 25% is often mixed with other metals such as copper, silver, zinc, or palladium, among other types of metals. Want to know more about 18k gold? this post is for you!
And so, when you notice color changes, it’s often to do with the metals alloyed with pure gold. But even then, the solid gold hardly ever shows any color changes or tarnishing. In the case of 18k solid gold jewelry, tarnishing, staining, or skin discoloration is one of the things that you shouldn’t expect from the jewelry.
Note that 18k solid gold is not often alloyed with metals like copper but silver and palladium. The only exception is 18k rose gold, which is alloyed with copper, silver, zinc, and palladium for that nice champagne color. Even with such pieces, you shouldn’t expect discoloration because the copper content is too low to cause a reaction.
Also, note that the lower karat gold pieces (10k gold, for example) are the ones that may likely cause a skin reaction and subsequent discoloration, and not the higher karat pieces.
So, while the discoloration of the skin often happens even with 18k gold pieces, it is unlikely. You may notice traces of green with 18k gold jewelry if your skin is very acidic, but this doesn’t always happen. Therefore, the green discoloration doesn’t always mean that the gold jewelry is fake.
Why is your 18k gold ring turning finger green?
Your 18k gold ring may turn your finger green for several reasons, which we’ll explore here.
1. Acidic skin (Amino Acids/ Sulfur Reactions)
Suppose your skin is highly acidic, perhaps because of certain medications that increase the body’s production of amino acids and sulfur. In that case, your ring may leave a green discoloration on the skin.
This often worsens when someone perspires, and because these acidic chemicals are present on your skin, they will cause a reaction with metals like copper or even nickel that may be present on your skin, causing a reaction that leaves a green blemish behind. This will also cause the darkening of the gold ring.
These are the typical or expected reactions for persons undergoing antibiotic treatment or even chemotherapy. It may also result from some topical treatments that contain sulfur, like sulfur-based cremes and shampoos.
This is the other common reason why gold jewelry would turn the skin green or leave behind some green discoloration.
It often happens when the gold used for the jewelry is exposed to corrosive chemicals or components like chlorine in swimming pools or household cleaners.
Chlorine will react to gold jewelry as a highly corrosive product, turning your skin green. And there are cases where the reaction may change the ring’s color.
There are cases where the gold ring turns green when the metals for the ring react with your skin. In such cases, your skin’s secretions may be made of soluble chemicals that will dissolve the minute particles in the metals.
Eventually, the reaction causes a visible color change on the ring and your skin. Sweat is also another reason for the discoloration of the skin because the salts and chemicals released consequently react with the gold ring, hence the discoloration.
The most common culprit in such cases is sodium chloride or salt and lactic acid. And as the copper and nickel particles dissolve in these salts and the acid, the metals are absorbed into your skin, resulting in that green/ blue shade or staining of the skin.
The other big reason your solid gold jewelry may turn green is oxidation. In most cases, copper and nickel present in the gold would be exposed to the oxygen in the air, and this would initiate a chemical reaction that will not just cause color changes on the ring but also form a residue on the metal that transfers to the skin, turning the skin a shade of green.
The good news is that discoloration doesn’t mean anything harmful to your skin.
Pros and cons of 18k gold ring
- The elegant finish on all 18k solid gold rings
- Highest possible purity level for gold jewelry that can be worn practically every day
- Gorgeous color, with a very vibrant tone.
- Very low risk of allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis
- 18K gold rings tend to be much softer and so scratch and dent easily
- They may cause a green discoloration on your skin
- These rings are quite expensive
- Tips for cleaning and storing your 18k gold ring
Regular cleaning tip for your 18k gold rings
The best way to ensure that your gold ring always looks excellent is by cleaning it regularly. You need to make sure that it keeps its shine, and the easiest way of doing that is by cleaning it with a warm water and soap solution – 10parts to 2 parts (water: soap).
You’d need to use a soft cotton cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it, then rinse thoroughly before patting it dry and putting it away in storage.
If you haven’t cleaned it in a long time, soak it in the same soap/water solution for 30mins to3 hours. Brush off dirt and debris using a soft-bristled brush, and then rinse, dry, and store it.
- Store the clean rings in a clean, fabric-lined, dry jewelry box after cleaning or in the evening when you need to remove the jewelry
- You could also wrap the jewelry in a piece of soft cloth in the absence of a jewelry box.
- Always store your gold jewelry pieces separately.
Even 18k solid gold jewelry can turn the skin green, and this doesn’t always mean that the jewelry is cheap or fake – it’s something to do with the added metal alloys that may cause different reactions and the green discoloration.
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