If your ring turns your finger green, it's likely because the metals are fake or mixed with another cheaper metal. Jewelery makers often mix copper or nickel into metals like gold or silver to strengthen them or make them more affordable. The green discolouration on your skin does not usually mean you have an allergy, and it is harmless.
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There is nothing to worry about should you discover a green colour on your finger from fake jewelery. It’s not an allergy. According to Discovery Health Online, metal allergies will cause redness and swelling, not a green or black colour. People with naturally high acidity in their skin may experience their skin turning green from silver or gold rings, although this reaction is rare with gold. Cheap jewelery may contain nickel, and while it’s not poisonous at this level of exposure, it can spark a reaction in anyone sensitive to it.
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Metals That Will Turn Your Skin Green
April Williams, owner of Eluna Jewelry Designs, says that in some cases alloys in the silver and gold may react with your body chemistry, possibly caused by a sensitivity to the metals. This reaction might cause a harmless green discolouration on your finger that can be removed with soap and water. There are some metals to be wary of though, she says, if you want to avoid green fingers.
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Your perspiration creates an environment perfect for the oxidation of copper. MadSci Network explains that sulphur compounds in the air and on your skin react with the copper in your ring to form copper sulphate, which is what causes the blackish-green colour that appears on your skin.
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Sterling silver is made up of 7.5 per cent copper, which will stain fingers. But usually the stains from silver rings are black and appear because the metal tarnishes. Jewelery maker Walker Metalsmiths explains that most silver and white gold rings are plated with rhodium, to increase the dazzling appearance, and some sterling silver rings are coated with products that stop them from tarnishing. But over time, these coatings will wear off, and the result might be a black stain on your fingers.
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Gold or Gold Plating
Gold will almost never turn your fingers green. The cause is likely the other metals gold is mixed with in order to change the colour or make the gold stronger or more affordable that are reacting to the acids in your skin. However, gold plated rings have only a thin layer of gold on top of a cheap metal base. This coating can wear off, and the metal beneath can stain your skin, turning your finger green. Gold filled rings are made with a thicker outer coating of gold, which doesn’t wear off as rapidly as with gold plated rings.
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According to General Chemistry Online, rings that contain nickel typically make the skin itchy and red if you are sensitive or have an allergy to nickel. You won’t have green fingers but blisters or peeling. It is recommended that you stop wearing the ring if your finger blisters, peels or shows signs of irritation.
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Tips To Avoid Staining
There are several ways to avoid green fingers from fake or cheap metal rings. You can choose a gold ring with a carat value of 18 or higher or select other pure metals like platinum, recommends jewelery designer April Williams. Another alternative is to either ask your jeweller to coat the ring with a new layer of metal if the ring begins to tarnish, or do it at home when the ring is new by using clear nail polish. Rings labelled "hypo-allergenic" are a better solution, as they are made for people with sensitivities or allergies to metals. Also do not wash your hands with the rings on or immerse them in water. Keep rings clean, and wear the cheaper metals for only a short time.