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Why Do Silver Rings Turn Your Finger Green?

Anna ScanlonMarch 22, 2010

Overview

Silver rings can be a beautiful addition to your jewelry collection, but they often have a terrible habit of turning your finger green. Interestingly enough, silver rings may not change the hue of everyone's fingers. A ring turning your finger green can depend on extreme variables such as the moisture on your fingers or your personal sensitivity to the metal.

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Acidity of skin

The level of acidity present in one's skin can be a key factor in jewelry turning a finger green, especially when it is hot or humid outside. As air hits the jewelry, it will oxidize, slightly tarnishing silver jewelry. If the ring begins to oxidize while you're wearing it and you have a high level of acidity in your skin, the result may be a green finger. Avoid this by putting the ring away during the hottest or more humid times of the day, when you have to get your hands wet or when exercising.

Sterling silver properties

Sterling silver jewelry, while genuine silver, also contains copper or nickel alloys to prevent the ring from chipping too easily. Pure silver is extremely soft and fragile; alloying the silver with copper or nickel makes the ring slightly more durable. A copper component can sometimes contain a hint of green, which may rub off onto your finger.

Allergic reaction

An allergic reaction may be the culprit of discoloration. If the wearer is especially sensitive to metals, such as nickel or cooper, this can cause green finger stains as part of the body's reaction to the metal.

Soaps and lotions

Soaps, lotions and other chemicals coming in contact with the ring can also cause the "green finger effect." These products, when mixed with sterling silver, can create a chemical reaction that turns the finger green.

How to clean it off

Once you've been graced with a green finger, the next step is to remove it. These unwanted green marks can be scrubbed off with simple soap and water. In order to guarantee avoidance of green fingers in the future, go to your local jeweler and have a special coating, known as rhodium plating, placed around the ring. This will give a bit of sheen to your piece as well as help you avoid unwanted stains.

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