Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Do Silver Rings Turn Your Finger Green?

Have you ever worn a ring, bracelets or earrings that turned your skin green?

If you have, it's because those pieces of jewellery contain copper, a metal commonly mixed with silver and even gold to give the jewellery more strength while using less of the more expensive metals.

Copper reacts with your skin, turning it green or bluish-green after a period of contact.
A lot of jewellery sold as silver tone or gold tone is copper or nickel plated with a very thin layer of silver or gold, or even just silver or gold varnish. Perspiration and everyday wear causes this think layer to be worn off, exposing the copper underneath. When the plating is gone, the copper comes into direct contact with your skin.
When the copper is exposed to air and your skin, it oxidizes. This means that it begins to break down into microscopic fragments, which then wear off onto your skin as you perspire.

When copper breaks down, it turns green (copper weather vanes and pipes often show signs of green patina, and copper, when exposed to heat, will burn with green smoke). 

The fragments mix with the natural metals, minerals and chemicals of the body and turn green or blueish-green depending on the wearer's particular body chemistry. Removal and prevention

The green stain left by copper jewellery will wear off after a few days, and you can prevent copper jewellery from staining your skin again by asking a jeweller to recoat the jewellery in silver or gold, or even with a thin translucent varnish. NEXT: How to make a silver polish