fbpx

Does Sterling Silver Turn Your Finger Green?

Have you ever purchased a beautiful new ring, only for it to turn your skin green after just short while? There are a number reasons why this might happen, from body chemistry to the type of metal used.

When it comes to the type of metal used, you might ask yourself “does sterling silver turn your finger green?” The short answer is yes, sterling silver jewelry can sometimes cause your skin to turn green. Despite what you may have heard, however, this happens because of the metal’s composition—not because it’s “fake” or low-quality silver.

Today we’re sharing some tips for protecting your skin from turning green from your silver jewelry; plus we’ll connect you to higher quality sterling silver to prevent this from happening! You can pair silver jewelry with any outfit so we want to make it easy for you to enjoy this versatile accessory.

What is Sterling Silver Made Out Of?

Close up photo of a woman with 6 stackable bracelets and with a watch on with her thumb in her jean shorts pocket with a sterling silver ring on her middle finger.

The first step in understanding why sterling silver may turn your finger green is to understand the chemical makeup of sterling silver. In its purest state, silver is very malleable, making it great for manipulating, but too soft to keep its form. In order to create silver jewelry, the silver must be blended with other rigid metals, known as alloys, to keep its shape. The most common alloy jewelry makers use is copper. A 925 sterling silver piece of jewelry consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. This small amount of copper is what’s responsible for potentially turning someone’s skin green.

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to copper because of the varying chemicals in our skin, how much we sweat, the products we put on our skin, and much more. Some people are even allergic to copper. The reason why your skin turns green (or sometimes black) is because the acidity of your skin or skin products reacts with the copper salts in the metal, which are a blue-green color. This color is then transferred to your skin.

If you focus on buying high-quality sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, you can reduce the chances of your skin turning green.

Why is My Jewelry Turning My Skin Green?

There could be several reasons why your sterling silver jewelry is turning your skin green which is why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common factors:

  • Weather – Weather can also play a role, especially if it’s hot or humid outside. One of the most common reasons why sterling silver can make your skin green is because there’s moisture trapped between the piece of jewelry and your skin. This moisture can cause a chemical reaction, resulting in the tint. In addition, the sun can also change how your jewelry reacts with your skin.
  • Sweat – Sweat is another cause for moisture between your skin and your jewelry, which can cause discoloration.
  • Products – When jewelry turns your skin green, it’s because of a chemical reaction, which can occur between precious metals and products like perfume, lotion, sunscreen, oil, and more.
  • Hormones – Believe it or not, hormones can also play a role in your jewelry changing your skin colors.
  • Low-quality jewelry – While sterling silver can still turn some people’s skin green, it’s much less likely to than lower quality jewelry.
  • Type of base metal – The type of base metal used in your jewelry plays a big role, as well. Some common metals that cause reactions include copper and nickel.

Types of Metals That Can Turn Your Skin Green

graphic of a T table that shows which types of metal is more likely to turn skin green on the left side and metal that is less likely to turn your skin green on the right

Some metal types are more likely to turn your skin green than others. While you may wonder “Will 925 sterling silver turn my finger green?” But as we mentioned before, pure sterling silver would not turn your finger green, but it also cannot be made into jewelry on its own. Usually, it’s part of a metal alloy with materials like copper or nickel. This is the component that may turn your finger green.

Let’s compare sterling silver to other common types of metals found in jewelry:

Copper

Copper is the type of metal most commonly known to turn your skin green. The chemical reaction that causes this, called oxidation, will happen when copper is exposed to oxygen in the air, sweat, or other oils on your skin. Copper is most commonly mixed with other metals in jewelry, making it the reason it commonly causes fingers to turn green. Some people have increased sensitivities to copper which is why it may not be the best metal to choose as a base for your jewelry.

Nickel

Nickel is one of the cheapest metals used to make jewelry and one of the most common to cause discoloration. Similar to copper, nickel also oxidizes when exposed to certain chemicals, staining your skin with a green color.

Brass

Brass is a metal alloy that is composed of primarily copper mixed with other elements like zinc. Since brass has a chemical makeup that is mostly copper, brass-based jewelry will most likely turn your skin green.  

Bronze

Bronze jewelry, especially minimalist pieces made by hand, has become very trendy, but bronze is a cheaper metal that is more likely to cause your skin to turn green than a more high-quality metal like sterling silver, white gold, or gold. These pieces might be a cute addition to your fashion jewelry collection, but they’re usually not made to last a lifetime.

Gold

Gold is less likely to cause discoloration because of its chemical components. However, people with sensitive skin may find that gold jewelry turns their skin green anyway. This can also be the case with gold-plated jewelry, as the gold is only on the outside.

Rhodium

One of the higher-quality elements, rhodium, is primarily used to plate jewelry to enhance the durability of the base metal. Pure rhodium will not turn your skin green but since it’s a brittle metal that cannot be shaped easily, it cannot be made into jewelry. Similar to sterling silver, it often has to be combined with, or plated over other base metals that have the potential to turn your skin green.

Stainless Steel

Like pure silver, pure stainless steel is a lot less likely to turn your finger green than some of the other metals on this list. This is because it’s not usually combined with another metal, like copper. Just be careful to not let stainless steel jewelry rust!

How to Protect Your Skin From Turning Green

close up photo of a woman's hands with painted nails on her hip and stackable rings on both her index fingers

Of course, one of the main questions when buying a new piece of jewelry is about how to stop a ring from turning your finger green. There are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:

  • Avoid buying low-quality jewelry
  • Notice if you have increased sensitivities to certain metals
  • Dry the area beneath your jewelry after washing your hands or getting wet to avoid trapped moisture
  • Avoid the use of products that interact with your jewelry (stay away from cobalt, aluminum, chromium, and lead in cosmetics)
  • Paint a thin coat of clear nail polish on the inside of your sterling silver rings. This helps create a barrier between your skin and the jewelry and can help stop a ring from turning your finger green.
  • Remove your jewelry while showering, swimming, cleaning, washing your hands, etc.
  • Clean your jewelry regularly. Tarnish can increase the chances of your finger turning green. Plus, polishing is a great way to make jewelry shine!

Tips for Cleaning Your Skin After Jewelry Turns Your Skin Green

Graphic showing two ways to clean green residue off ones fingers, using rubbing alcohol and using a washcloth and dish soap.

Sometimes, no matter what you do or how much money you invest in jewelry, your skin will still change colors, especially because of some of the factors listed above. As you shop for the perfect piece of jewelry that works for your specific skin and lifestyle, you’re going to run into a few pieces that give you the infamous tint. But, don’t worry. Cleaning your skin after jewelry turns it green is simple and easy.

Use Rubbing Alcohol, Nail Polish Remover, or Makeup Remover

One tip is to use rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or makeup remover to rub the green tint off your skin. The alcohol in these solutions helps remove the acidity that caused your skin to turn green in the first place.

Massage Skin With a Washcloth

Another tip is to wet a washcloth with warm water and liquid dish soap. Rub the soapy washcloth on the area of your skin that’s stained and then rinse. Dry your skin completely before you put your jewelry back on.

Find High-Quality Sterling Silver Jewelry at Silpada

Of course, one of the best ways to stop a ring from turning your finger green is to invest in high-quality jewelry that is not only better for your skin, but will also last longer. While the price may be more initially, it’s worth it because you can wear the pieces without worry and enjoy them for longer.

The best part is that fine jewelry doesn’t have to cost a lot. At Silpada, we offer quality sterling silver jewelry that is made with the same level of care and attention to detail as designer jewelry brands, but for a fraction of the cost. We specialize in offering artisan collections you can’t find anywhere else.

As a female-run business, we know how important it is to find that piece of sterling silver jewelry that speaks to you, without breaking the bank. We have made it our mission to provide this to other women and in the process, we also give back to artists and other empowering businesses. Check out our Think Pink Collection and Living Beyond Breast Cancer partnership to learn more about our initiatives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: