No one wants or expects from their jewelry to leave mucky spots on their skin, isn’t that right? Absolutely no one. Unfortunately, many of us have been faced with this unpleasant experience, at least once in our lives, due to lack of information before heading to the shopping adventure. Logically, the “X factor” for such a chemical reaction between the piece and the skin is hiding into the metal. How and why jewelry stains the skin will be the subject of this interesting Kobelli article, so stay tuned and learn how to prevent yourself from getting the undesired “dirty skin” look.
BLAME IT ON COPPER
The disappointment comes when you take off the jewelry, whether a ring, necklace, bracelet or a pair of earrings and you see that the skin area where the piece has been sitting all day has left a greenish tinge. You feel furious and you blame it on the jeweler you bought it from and yourself for having made a wrong choice. You might even think that it is an allergic reaction. Well, it is not. It is all because the presence of copper. Our sweaty skin contains acids that make copper corrode, by leaving the so-called “copper salts”. This will result in leaving nasty spots on the skin, which are usually featuring dark green color. Sweat is not the only factor that can irritate copper to tarnish, this process can be easily induced if you have put a lotion on the skin and the jewelry piece afterwards. In most cases, skin coloring is caused by cheap jewelry, but expensive precious metals cannot be excluded too if some precautionary standards have not been met during the jewelry making process.
WHICH METALS CONTAIN COPPER?
Copper is used for making alloys that help the primary metal to change its color and hardness, even its melting point in certain cases. The typical copper alloys are: brass (a mixture of zinc and copper) and aluminium bronze (a mixture of aluminium and copper). Copper is also a frequent ingredient in the composition of sterling silver and gold, especially rose gold, where it comes in the largest amounts of all gold types. The main reason for that is to give yellow gold the desired rose hue, which can be only achieved by adding an alloy of copper. Now, the ultimate paradox is – how is it possible to create a fine-quality jewelry piece that consists copper, but at the same time, it won’t stain the skin? Is this possible at all? The answer is “yes, it is possible”. Thanks to nickel, the secret ingredient, copper promotes corrosion resistance, which in other words means, stain-free skin. Therefore, only 10% of nickel in an alloy that contains 90% copper presence is enough to not produce the notorious coppers salts and protect both the skin and the jewelry piece from tarnishing. The common inconvenience when it comes to wearing gold jewelry is that nickel may cause allergic reactions on the skin, so if you have noticed that your skin becomes red and itchy on the area where you are wearing your golden jewelry piece, take if off and come to terms with the fact that gold jewelry is not good for you.
WHEN THE GREEN STAINS BECOME BLACK?
Black-stained skin is a consequence of wearing poorly-made sterling silver jewelry made of cheap or fake materials. Many are convinced that sterling silver does not tarnish, but that is not true. Sterling silver does tarnish and its tarnish is manifested by leaving black stains on the skin. This is the only metal that colors the skin black and that is how it is easily distinguishable as a jewelry-related cause for skin coloring. Hence, if copper in gold turns the skin green, copper in sterling silver turns the skin black. As simple as that. Sterling silver reacts to different types of gasses in the air and that is how the staining process occurs even faster than expected. So, how to avoid the tarnish of sterling silver? It is done with layering the jewelry piece with rhodium coating. Rhodium is considered a noble metal and it is a part of the platinum group, which we all know, it is the most expensive precious metal of all.
In addition, read a few helpful tips that will protect you from experiencing unpleasant jewelry tarnishing that colors the skin, which you can confidently share with anyone who is already dealing with this problem.
- Look for nickel-free jewelry. You can get this type of information from the jewelry store where you are planning to buy the piece. You can even make a custom order with this particular preference.
- When choosing gold jewelry, avoid the low-karat values. The best options are 14K and 18K gold. When it comes to this matter, what you should remember is “the purer the metal, the better”.
- Platinum is the only precious metal that guarantees 100% tarnish resistance. If you can afford a platinum jewelry piece, have no doubts to go for it.
- Titanium is a lesser known metal that does a great job in protecting the skin from getting colored by jewelry, so consider it a “plan B” metal.
- To add an extra layer of protection from tarnish, coat the jewelry with nail polish.
- Do not perform any intense physical activities with the jewelry you wear. Make sure to have you skin clean and dry while wearing your favorite jewels.
- Clean and maintain your jewelry regularly.
We, at Kobelli Jewelry, stand firmly behind the qualities of all our products, by offering our customers handcrafted jewelry made with finest materials that guarantee 100% tarnish-free wear. Try us and prove us by yourself! Thank you endlessly for your reading attention.
Written by: Liljana Tomova