Why Does Some Jewelry Turn My Skin Green?

Published: October 2, 2020

by Megan Williams

Have you ever noticed a green or dark tint on your skin after wearing a new piece of jewelry or sometimes even after you've had a certain ring or bracelet on your skin for a while? You love wearing and showing off your latest jewelry looks, but you wonder if your jewelry is turning your skin green. Anyone who is a fan of jewelry has experienced this harmless, but unattractive inconvenience. Thankfully, there's a simple reason behind the green tint and we have some easy tips to help you prevent this from happening. 

Jewelry and Green Skin FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about why jewelry can give your skin a green tint:

Why do I have a dark or green tint on my skin?

Essentially, the type of jewelry metal and its reaction when mixed with skin acids or body lotions generates an unsightly green hue on your skin. The real reason for this green tint is because of the jewelry metal composition.

Your favorite jewelry piece is probably alloyed or blended. Alloyed metal is the mixture of copper with another type of metal like sterling silver or gold. These metals are mixed with copper because it provides the durability and workable form that is necessary to create jewelry. Copper is extremely important in the jewelry-making process; however, it can result in the green coloring on your skin.

Metallic abrasion from your makeup is another reason why your jewelry could be causing a green tint on your skin. Your cosmetics contain compounds that are harder than gold. This will cause your makeup to rub off small pieces of the metal and create the green coloring.

What types of metal can cause a green tint?

Copper Jewelry

Copper jewelry offers a beautiful red-orange hue that catches everyone's eye. The neutral orange earth tone is very versatile, making it easy to pair with your favorite outfits. Copper is a great material used in jewelry because it is highly malleable and very durable when mixed with other metals. However, copper jewelry may turn your skin green due to a chemical reaction when copper mixes with sweat.  At this point, it can oxidize and leave a green hue on your skin. 

Sterling Silver Jewelry 

Shining bright, sterling silver is the ideal piece for anyone's jewelry collection, but it can also leave a green tint on your skin. This is because pure silver generally takes a liquid form and must be alloyed (blended) with another metal type to create jewelry. Sterling silver jewelry is most often combined with copper to create durable jewelry. This mixture of metals can leave a green coloring on your skin.

Gold Jewelry

Just like sterling silver, pure gold must be mixed with copper in order to create jewelry. The gold is not responsible for the green color, but the copper is once again. After a long period of time, your 14K gold jewelry may start to leave a green tint on your skin. 

Gold and Silver Jewelry

How can I prevent jewelry from turning my skin green?

Some of your jewelry maybe prone to discolor your skin, but there are simple steps you can take to prevent it. 

Clear Nail Polish

One easy method is to coat the inside of your ring or bracelet with clear nail polish. Painting the part of the jewelry that touches the skin will help create a barrier between the jewelry and your skin so it will prolong the time it takes for your skin to discolor, but you may have to add another coat later on.

Alchemy Jewelry Sealer from JTV

Alchemy is a water-based sealer that creates an invisible barrier that protects your jewelry from tarnishing and protects your skin from discoloration and irritation. Once dried, you can’t see it, feel it or smell it. Say goodbye to green skin!  It is gentle enough for contact with your skin but strong enough to protect your jewelry. Alchemy can be used on costume or fine jewelry and also on eyeglasses, buttons, belt buckles, etc.

https://www.jtv.com/product/alchemy-jewelry-sealer-bundle-includes-4-oz-and-2-oz-spray-bottles/ACC053

What are some other tips to avoid skin discoloration from my jewelry?

  • Don't wear jewelry that turns skin green on hot days, since perspiration is the main cause.
  • Clean your jewelry regularly to remove dirt, liquid, lotions or soap.
  • Don't swim while wearing your jewelry because chlorine and copper can produce a skin reaction.
  • Remove your jewelry when cleaning. Standard cleaning supplies also contain chlorine which can cause discoloration.
Gold Necklaces

Does the green tint mean my jewelry isn't high quality?

This green tint left behind by some jewelry does not mean the piece is fake or low quality. This is a common myth about jewelry, and we hope to put it to rest.