Discoloration on platinum earrings

Hi all,

I made a pair of platinum handmade earrings in Nov of 2008. My
customer has sent them back to me because one of the earrings has
discolored. I don’t know what to make of it. Because only the tip of
the post and the basket has discolored I’m assuming that it
discolored while in the ear. I didn’t get the backs, which are
platinum locking nuts, so I assume they aren’t discolored. The owner
says she wears the earrings every day and takes them out to sleep
and shower but doesn’t say whether she puts them on before or after
she puts on makeup, moisturizer or perfume. Here’s a link to a photo
of the earrings I took


I haven’t cleaned the earrings yet. They aren’t as dirty as many I’ve
seen, but if there was some sort of chemical these earrings were
exposed to, I’d think that both of them would have been discolored,
but that’s not the case as can be seen in the photo. The client uses
Connoisseurs jewelry cleaner for platinum jewelry. The owner also
thinks it happened after a trip where she went swimming in a
chlorinated pool, which I discount since they’re 950
platinum/ruthenium and soldered with Stuller’s plumb platinum medium
and easy solder. My initial thinking is that soaking the jewelry in
cleaner was the most likely culprit. I’m keeping an open mind,
though. I’ve made a lot of platinum earrings for this customer, and
though none of the earrings I’ve made have ever had this problem, I
don’t want the owner of the earrings to lose trust in my customer.
I’d be happy to hear any and all suggestions. Thanks,


What I notice is that there seems to be no discoloration on the
portion of the post that would be in the ear. I would conclude there
was an external agent working on the plat while worn. Point out to
your customer that when people complain about cheap metals its
always where it makes contact with the skin. Jewelers cannot be
responsible for external agents. I’d double check that no error in
metal was made then polish and maybe rhodium just as an extra

Hi there,

This is strange but I have seen this before. Only it was on18k yg.
Years ago a store had me put together earrings for the customer with
these type of posts & backs. Not too long afterwards they came back
discolored…We cleaned & polished but had them returned again in a
short time with the same problem.

In the end it turned out to be a chemical reaction from a hair
treatment solution. She was African-American and had her hair
periodically treated with a relaxer…Perhaps your customer has used
some substance on her head/hair that could cause this reaction…

Just a thought.
Cheers & Happy Spring from sunny S.F.
Jo-Ann Maggiora Donivan

That sure looks like an iodine stain to us. Hey James Binion, got any

Jo Haemer

It looks like organic debris to me, skin, body oils ear wax, make up
etc. Should clean off with a good blast in an ultrasonic bath with a
suitable degreasing solvent.

Swimming pool shouldnt make any difference. If cleaner was
contaminated you may have a cathodic deposition of another metal on
the surface. Drop in acid.