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Why Some Rings Discolor your Finger

by Staff Writer

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A pretty ring can discolor your finger

Have you ever removed your favorite ring to find a thick green or black stain on your finger? Some rings can turn your finger black or green, and though there are many far-fetched explanations for this occurrence, the facts are interesting and useful. Chemicals, alloys and acid in jewelry can all play a part in causing that semi-permanent black or green ring around your finger. Knowing how it happens can help you avoid the stain and keep your jewelry in good condition.

Facts about Rings and Finger Discoloration:

  1. Chemicals: Many different chemicals can cause a ring to leave a green or black stain on your finger. The most significant offender is chlorine. Gold is impervious to most chemicals, but chlorine will eat away at gold. Many other metals, such as sterling silver, can also be damaged by chlorine. Chemicals in makeup and body lotion can also elicit a negative reaction. There are many elements in body cream that are harder than metals used in jewelry. These elements can wear off microscopic pieces of metal that do not reflect light, causing discoloration around the finger. Salty air can also create a chemical reaction when mixed with sweat.

  2. Alloys and acid: Jewelry is usually made of a precious metal mixed with a metal alloy. Common metal alloys include nickel and copper. Metal alloys can cause an allergic reaction, causing a black or green ring to form around the finger. The acid in your skin can also cause a reaction with some metals, which can result in discoloration.

  3. Prevention: Chemicals, alloys and acid should not keep you from wearing your rings. There are many things you can do to prevent the dreaded green or black finger stain. Remove your rings before swimming in swimming pools or hot tubs. Avoid wearing your rings when handling any household chemicals. You should also remove your rings at night and clean them regularly. If these tips aren't enough to prevent your rings from leaving a stain on your finger, consider having the bands coated with rhodium on the inside to prevent a reaction. Your jeweler can coat your rings quickly and affordably.

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