Why do my silver rings tarnish my fingers?

Written by egon schiele
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Why do my silver rings tarnish my fingers?
Silver rings may turn a finger green (silver ring image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

Silver is among the most precious metals. It is frequently used to make jewellery and decorative objects. Silver is often alloyed with other metals like copper or nickel to make it more malleable and to give it extra strength. A silver ring may react body and turn your finger green due to an allergic reaction or from the oxidation of the non-silver metal used to make the ring.

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Silver in jewellery

Silver has been used throughout history for objects of personal adornment. Ancient Romans used silver for jewellery, statues and for objects created for ceremonial purposes. Silver jewellery is often associated with wealth and status and many of the techniques used to create pieces thousands of years ago are still employed today.

Silver is generally alloyed

Silver is often alloyed, or combined, with other stronger metals. These additional metals add durability to silver jewellery without increasing the precious metal content. Common metals combined with silver are copper and nickel.

Oxidation causes a green finger

Certain metal alloys---particularly silver and nickel---will change colour after being exposed to oxygen over time. When you wear a piece of jewellery, this oxidation can cause your skin to turn green, particularly if your skin has a naturally high level of acidity or if the weather is very humid. While sterling silver is 92.5 per cent pure silver, different alloys containing less silver may cause you to get a green finger.

Allergies are another cause

Another reason that your finger may turn green is from an allergic reaction to the alloy metal in the silver ring. Lotions or soaps may also interact with the metal and cause this problem. Cleaning your jewellery regularly may help prevent your finger from turning green.

Green fingers are generally harmless

The green finger effect is only a problem when it is the result of an allergic reaction. Most times the green or black discolouration on your skin is harmless, and can be easily washed off with soap and water. Wearing the same piece of jewellery for an extended period of time can exacerbate the problem.

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