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14K Gold turn skin green

I had a piece of jewelry made for my wife, within 24 hours her skin
turned a blackish green. The piece is stamped 14k, and my receipt
states same. None of her other gold is having this effect, including
her wedding band which she has worn for 12 years.

Any advice would be appreciated,

Thank you,


Black smudge is a common problem on some people with karat gold
jewelry. The causes of this can be living in an environment where
there is salt in the air or pollution in the air. Other causes can be
from cosmetics or soap left on the skin which act like a very fine
sandpaper rubbing micro particles of the gold and alloy onto the skin
or from perspiration or aciditidity.

Have your wife remove the jewelry when she washes her hands or takes
a shower. Clean the jewelry regularly and rinse well. Green color
left on the skin is generally a sign that the piece is made of brass,
bronze or copper.

Greg DeMark

Hello! 1st of all you do not mention if the ring is yellow or white
gold. 2nd you did not mention if it (the ring) was breaking the
finger out as to an allergy, along with the color of her finger. Next
you should take it back & have it cleaned & steamed again to make
sure that they (the maker) just did not leave a little polishing
compound inside the ring. (the simple problem) If this does not help
& the ring is white gold your wife may be allergic to white gold
(nickel). A change in medication can also cause this. Some hand
lotions with skin softeners, which contain small particles of
abrasives that smooth hands, can abrade the metal as well, that will
appear as blackish smudges (actually the particles are so small they
do not reflect light) & they appear blackish. Many things other than
a poor product or jeweler can cause this. After 35 plus years as a
bench jeweler, I have seen & cured this problem and many more!

Been there, done that.

Rob - the same thing happens to my husband when he wears anything
under 18kt. The 18kt and up have fewer impurities in them; less to
react with skin secretions that some people have trouble with. Do
note that the more pure golds are also softer, and for rings
especially may deform to fit the finger. Doesn’t mean it isn’t 14kt,
just that something in the mix is reacting with her skin.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

As fast as this happened, I’d be inclined to have the gold tested.
Not a big deal. I have seen this type of mistake made in a couple of
different ways. I saw my boss make a nickle ring thinking that he
had already alloyed 14 karat white gold. Have it tested and tell us
what happened.

Bruce Holmgrain