Precious metals turning color

I’d like to add a little tidbit about gold and precious metals
turning color. I’ve had my own 14K gold turn my finger black.
The same ring I had worn for 30 years. I believe it only
happened once or twice, but I was amazed that it happened at all.

At the time I was told it had to do with coffee consumption.
Personally, I don’t think it had anything to do with coffee or
even alcohol consumption, and at the same time I think it was
both. I personally believe it has to do with the total diet and
beverages consumed within the previous 24 hours, and the chemical
changes and balances (or imbalances) that came about.
Apparently I have not duplicated the exact mix in the last 10
years or so, because it hasn’t happened again. The gold on the
ring (both yellow and white) are still bright and shiny and

Being a former med. tech. I know how delicate the chemical
balance of the human body is, and how easily it can be thrown off
by even the smallest element. Sometimes we just react adversly
with the metal. I really don’t think there is any exact answer
for it, it just happens.


I believe there are many things and conditions which cause the
metals/skin to turn black. I always do when I use investment -
now I just don’t wear my rings in the studio, especially when
using investments.


Well, here’s my two cents worth. My 14kt yellow gold ring turns
my finger black often. My 14kt white gold ring does not. I am
a coffeehund in a major way. I do not drink alcohol very often.
I love doritos.

I figured it had something to do with the acid content in my
skin. I have always blamed the coffee. Maybe I should blame
the doritos–I don’t know.

I’d be real interested in hearing about other folks experiences!

Susan E.

 Well, here's my two cents worth.  My 14kt yellow gold ring
turns my finger black often.   

My 18K yellow gold ring turns my finger black, but only in the
winter. Never in the summer, whether I’m drinking coffee, or
wine or eating tomatoes. I’ve often atributed the finger
discoloration to hand lotions used to keep hands from getting
dried out.

My 14kt yellow gold ring turns my finger black often.

G’day: blackening of low carat golds and of sterling is almost
entirely due to sulphur compounds in the immediate environment.
Copper is usually associated with low carat golds, and some golds
contain silver. Both silver and copper sulphides are black.
Cheers, –

    / /
   / /
  / /__|\      @John_Burgess2

At sunny Nelson NZ

On a related note. I have a couple of finger rings fabricated
in 18K rose gold. I was/am a bit concerned about customers
complaining about the high copper content rose gold turning their
finger black. As a test, I made myself a band of the same
material and have been wearing it for a couple of months with no
problems. Does anyone have any experience with items in which
red or rose gold comes in direct contact with skin - horror
stories of customers fingers falling off and such.



   Does anyone have any experience with items in which red or
rose gold comes in direct contact with skin - horror stories of
customers fingers falling off and such. 

The only time that I have heard such stories, it is related to
the recycling of medical gold pellets. These were pellets that
contained Uranium? and were implanted temporarily into patients
to cure arthritis or cancer. Supposedly, jewelry that was made
with this gold was contaminated and the long term everyday use of
wearing the rings caused this dilemma . Susan Sarantos

i have always been told, that metal turning color, or skin
turning black, is the cause of to much acid in one system. if
that does happen, put clear nail polish on the inside of the
ring. that’s my 2cents. jill

Hi! You know, I’ve had my fingers turned black from 18 Kt gold
(I always assumed it was because of hand lotion that I used,
because it usually happened during the winter, don’t ever recall
it happening during the summer months!) But, I have to state,
that I have never had my fingers turn color from any red (rose?)
gold; but, then again, the ‘rose gold’ that I’ve had has been
antique (from Europe.) I don’t know what the “American” mixes
would do to me at all . . . but I’m willing to try it out!

Warmest regards . . .

Hello all:

I’ve had good luck curing this problem by giving the inside of
the ring a plating of rhodium. This protects the area of the
ring most in contact with skin from the alloys which react to the
cosmetics and skin acids which cause “black smudge.” You might
want to experiment with this on yourself or a friend who has this
trouble first.

Best wishes;


Some time in the fifties, if I recall the article correctly,
pure gold was used for vaccuum gasket material in some sort of
nuclear reactor process chamber. Seems some tech got the bright
idea to steal the used/scrap gold gaskets after they’d been
replaced, and he sold em to a refiner, who with no clue that
they were highly radioactive, alloyed it normally and sold the
resulting karat gold to a manufacturer of (I think) class rings.
Created quite a hubbub when someone finally figured out that a
whole batch of rings was radioactive, and this was what was
causing the local radiation burns on fingers… As I recall,
eventually, the source was found and the affected lots of metal
recovered. I may have some details of this story wrong. Been a
while since I read it…

As to the original question, It’s pretty unlikely that anyone
would have a problem with the copper in 18K rose gold. Copper
itself is not terribly reactive, and once alloyed with gold in
this fairly high karat, it becomes pretty inert, protected by the
gold. If someone has a true allergy to copper, then a reaction
is certainly possible. But fingers falling off? Not likely.

Peter Rowe

There are sulpher compounds in investment that is what may
cause your finger to turn color.

James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

Hey Brent, We sell LOTS of rose gold and haven’t had one piece
returned yet because of someones finger turning black or falling
off, knock on wood!

Later, Matt the Catt