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13 year itch

Howd’ye, Congrat’s to Orchid on Ezine vote! Hearty thanks to all who
do the real work involved in creation and maintanance of this
wonderful site. Thank-yous to all who shared info about Heikki Seppa.
I’ll keep my eyes open for future workshops.

Now…After 13 years of wear my Claddagh wedding ring of 10k gold is
giving me a nasty rash.What could be the cause? I’ve switched it to
the right hand and no problem there.Not long ago the joint gave out
and I had it resoldered by an excellent local jeweler.(I’m a rank
beginner and wouldn’t trust my skill with this much sentimental
value.) Could something have happened during that process that would
cause my skin’s reaction? Any ideas gratefully appreciated and
considered. Annmarie

Dear Annmarie. I wrote an article several years ago and used some
sources from the industry in my research. There are several reasons
gold will cause discoloration on the skin please see below. But
sometimes it is just the body chemistry of the person. Our body does
change and what once did not occur can all of a sudden happen. For
more detailed info regarding that avenue you would have to talk with
an endocrinologist. But anyway here is part of the article I wrote, I
hope it helps.

regards Thomas Why gold discolors The most common reason gold will
turn different colors is due to chemical reactions with the alloyed
metals mixed with the gold when it is exposed to a caustic element.
Some of these chemicals are present in common household products.
Swimming pool chlorides and Clorox based household cleaners will
definitely cause gold to change to an ugly gray. Mercury from a
broken thermometer can literally dissolve the gold right out of a
ring leaving a burned black spot or hole. Copier ribbons contain
xylene which can cause yellow gold to turn white and some ink stamp
pads contain a medium which will do the same thing. Smog fumes,
perspiration, saltwater, or even certain fruit juices can all cause a
discoloring effect on gold. Whenever you are going swimming in
chlorinated water or will be working with solvents or cleaners it is
best to remove your jewelry. If you get any of these chemicals on
your jewelry clean them with a mild solution of baking soda and rinse
well before wearing them again. Or take them to your local jeweler
for a professional cleaning. The most common reason gold will discolor
your skin is metallic abrasion. Many cosmetics contain compounds
harder than the jewelry itself. These compounds in the cosmetics will
wear away microscopic particles of gold which will collect in the
pores of your skin. Very fine metal particles always appear black not
metallic and when they stick to your skin in quantities they will
form a black smudge. To prevent this you should remove your jewelry
when applying cosmetics and then carefully clean the area so that it
is free of any cosmetics where the jewelry is to be worn. Changing
cosmetic brands may also help. Gold itself will not corrode but the
primary alloys that are mixed with 10 and 14 karat gold will. They
are copper and silver. Under moist wet conditions a persons
perspiration which contains fats and fatty acids can cause corrosion
in karat gold jewelry. The level of corrosion will differ based upon
each individuals unique body chemistry. Things that you can do to
prevent your jewelry from tarnishing or turning your fingers black
are, remove all jewelry before using soaps or perfumes or cosmetics,
and have your jewelry cleaned frequently. You will be amazed at how
nice it will look when kept free of oils and dirt. Also 18 karat gold
jewelry is less likely to change because of the lower alloy content
and platinum jewelry is nearly impervious to chemical corrosion. Of
all the different types of jewelry it will wear the best and give you
the least amount of trouble, especially if you experience constant
problems with discoloration and black smudges.


There are a number of causes of a rash developing from jewelry,
however, your problem could be as simple as the ring was made
slightly smaller during repair.

If you experienced no problems before and now you are having a rash
it could be that the ring is now smaller and moisture is collecting
under your ring. When you wash your hands be certain to slide your
ring up your finger far enough to dry your skin under your ring.

For most people their fingers on their right hand are larger than
their left. However, if you are left-handed that would account for
your left finger to be slightly larger that your right. This would
explain why you have problems on your left hand and not your right.

Brad Simon

Your reaction could be nickel sensitivity which develops over time.
This may explain why changing hands helps - not enough time to become
sensitized on the other hand. Remember that in Europe they do not
allow nickel in jewelry for that reason.

Hi! I posted (I thought) a response to the question of the itchy
ring, but I think it dissappeared. In any case, I just wanted to offer
the possibility that something irritating got trapped under the ring
and caused the rash, in which case the ring would not be to blame,
other than mechanically. I say this because I am sensitive to ammonia
if it remains on my skin. If I wear a ring while working, and use
ammonia cleaner,and don’t take care, I get a rash under the ring. Hope
you figure out the problem—it would be nice if it were this simple!