How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?

Written by sunny martin
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How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?
Taking good care of your jewellery is the first step in preventing tarnish. (tin box image by CraterValley Photo from

It can be alarming when you notice your jewellery is turning your skin green, but this is a common chemical reaction. It is not an allergic reaction and is not harmful -- even though it looks unpleasant. Take care of your jewellery and how you wear it. This will not only prevent it from tarnishing and turning your skin green, but it will look like new and last longer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Ammonia
  • Cleaning alcohol
  • Toothpaste
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Soft cloth

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  1. 1

    Buy pieces of jewellery that are unlikely to tarnish. Check its metal properties before you buy it. The purer the metal, the less likely it is to tarnish. A piece of jewellery made from 18 carat gold, platinum or titanium is unlikely to tarnish, whereas a piece made of nickel, sterling silver, brass or copper is likely to tarnish. Some gold pieces contain traces of copper or nickel that discolour your skin. Products that are labelled hypoallergenic have been treated to reduce tarnish and are unlikely to discolour your skin. Check with the salesperson, and buy accordingly.

    How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?
    Gold that is mixed with copper or nickel can turn your skin green. (jewellery image by Aleksey Ubozhenko from
  2. 2

    If your gold jewellery is tarnished and turning your skin green, have it replated. Sterling silver tarnishes when it mixes with environmental hydrogen sulphide gas, so protect the metal and your skin by coating sterling silver pieces with clear nail varnish. Keep jewellery clean and away from harmful chemicals or cleaning products, and this will minimise its chances of tarnishing.

    How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?
    Sterling silver will tarnish, but you can protect it with clear nail varnish. (jewellery image by Vladislav Gajic from
  3. 3

    The way you store and wear your jewellery also determines its likelihood to tarnish and discolour your skin. Store each piece individually in a resealable plastic bag, and make sure pieces do not touch each other, as this can often lead to tarnishing. Allow your skin to breathe and loosen any pieces of jewellery that are tight fitting.

    How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?
    Avoid wearing tight-fitting jewellery (le bracelet argent image by harmonie57 from
  4. 4

    Clean your jewellery regularly. Choose a method of cleaning that is comfortable to you. The safest method is to soak a piece of jewellery in boiling water for 10 minutes, remove it and allow it to dry. Alternatively, soak jewellery in warm soapy water and brush gently with a soft toothbrush before drying it with a soft towel. Rinse and wipe jewellery with a damp, soft cloth or use toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Soaking jewellery for a minute in diluted ammonia, or alcohol, is another option, but use caution when using this method. This is not suitable for older pieces of jewellery, as glue can lose its effectiveness. You could also buy professional jewellery cleaning solution.

    How do you prevent jewelry from tarnishing & skin turning green?
    Clean jewellery is less likely to tarnish. (antique jewellery image by Alison Bowden from

Tips and warnings

  • Consult a professional jeweller if you are unsure how to clean your jewellery.
  • If your skin itches, or if you develop a rash on your skin, consult your physician.

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