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Turning clothes black


#1

Hi all. I have a problem that has just come up. Two customers have
come in, in the past week complaining that the pieces I have made are
turning their clothes black. These items were made at different
times, but with the same 14KY alloy. I have been casting for about
10 years and have not run into this before. They both say their
clothes don’t turn black with other 14K jewelry(not ones I’ve made).
Could it be body chemistry, perfume, dry cleaning? I told them this
and of course their answer is no. Could it be something in the alloy
itself, too much copper or zinc or silver? Does anyone know of an
alloy that might not cause this? Thanks for your help


#2

Greetings,

I’ve just received a total of 8 pieces of jewelry in sterling, 14K
gold, ‘white’ metal, and brass from one woman with the request that I
coat it with a protective shellac to prevent it from turning her
clothes black. I’ve had to make the assumption that some substance in
her clothing has to be causing all these metals to oxidize so rapidly.
If so, it should be a common problem with a simple solution. Is there a
way to prevent this without coating the jewelry?

Regards,
Josh


#3

Josh,

The fact that the jewellery is of so many different types of metal
would suggest to me that rather than the problem being with the items
themselves it is probably the wearer that is the problem, some cause
may be hairsprays, perfume or make-up. I’ve also heard that the
blackening can be caused by an iron deficiency.

Neil KilBane


#4

Josh,

This topic led to an extensive thread a couple of years back. Many
comments were made that did not ring true to those of us who had the
problem.

It generally is not because of improper cleaning after fabrication,
nor skin acidity. For myself, being generously endowed, it was the
fluid motion causing the necklace to “write” across the clothing. The
more bounce, the more tracks. Very frustrating to say the least.

I would suggest trying only one piece and lightly spraying an acrylic
colorless compound to “seal” the metal. I have not done this, don’t
want to risk anything I own to test it out. I just figure I will need
to “Spray and Wash” whatever I wear right after taking it off.

My only other option is to shorten all my necklaces.

Teresa


#5

I’ve had to make the assumption that some substance in
her clothing has to be causing all these metals to oxidize so rapidly.
Is there a way to prevent this without coating the jewelry?

Dear Josh,

Not to my knowledge, but you can coat the back of the jewelry without
touching the front. Clear lacquers (matte or glossy) work well but
I’ve also had good success with Future acrylic floor wax. It’s very
durable, clear, and adheres readily to the metal. I usually brush on
one thin coat, let it dry and repeat.

Future also works on the front surface of a piece to prevent
oxidation � for instance, if you want copper to stay pink. However it
does have a high gloss so if I need the surface to stay matte, I use a
matte lacquer, like the kind that is sold in tiny bottles (or used to
be � it’s been years) to be used on polymer clay.

Beth


#6

. (I have a problem that has just come up. Two customers have
come in, in the past week complaining that the pieces I have made are
turning their clothes black.)

I too have had a few customers with this problem with commercial
chains I sold them.Some of them thinking I sold them under karat
goods. So I started clipping articles for a ‘scrap-book’ on this
subject to show them. A condensed version of these articles state:
{abrasion can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals. Abrasion
can result from, dust, scouring compounds, talcum and facial powders,
anything containing chlorine,sulphur or a person’s body chemistry or
particular prescriptions and medications. Fats, perspiration and
fatty acids released can cause corrosion of 14 karat gold, especially
when exposed to warmth and air, worse in seacoast and semi- tropical
areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive
element that discolors skin. Chemicals in cosmetics, medicated creams,
lotions and toothpaste. These might include, zinc oxide, titanium
dioxide, ferric oxide, calamine and pumice, abrading the metal and
deposit particles on skin.}

My customer would get marks on turtle neck sweaters not skin! We
figured the same was happening there too. With all the chemicals used
in some phosphate detergents. All this would generally stop when the
items were cleaned regularly and scrubbed with baking soda. Some
peoples skin won’t tolerate 14 karat,(or rather the alloys used in
14k)and must wear 18k or platinum. Also, rings that are wide width
and/or have a concave underside promotes chemicals lodging there and
causing reactions. Hope this helps!

Thomas Blair


#7

Hello Josh Powell,

Re: I’ve just received a total of 8 pieces of jewelry in sterling,
14K

gold, 'white' metal, and brass from one woman with the request
that I coat it with a protective shellac to prevent it from
turning her clothes black. I've had to make the assumption that
some substance in her clothing has to be causing all these 

metals to oxidize so rapidly. If so, it should be a common problem
with a simple solution. Is there a way to prevent this without
coating the jewelry?

I wonder if your customer wears the jewelry against bare skin as

well. If she wears cosmetics - specifically powder or rouge - the
jewelry may well pick up the cosmetic material and transfer it (along
with fine metallic particles) onto clothing. Another possibility is
that powder may fall onto her clothing, rendering it a polishing
cloth. Powders and rouges make fine polishing agents for jewelry.
Just rub a red lipstick on a cloth and then use it to buff gold or
silver, then rub the jewelry on a clean cloth; it will leave a black
mark. Try cleaning the jewelry thoroughly to remove cosmetics and
body oils, then have her wear it only over clothing with no skin
contact to see if cosmetics are the cause. You can certainly put a
very good laquer coating on the jewelry, but she should be aware that
movable parts (chains, links) will wear through the coating quickly.
Then it may be necessary to remove the damaged coating and re-coat.
Body oils will also attack most coatings over time. If she presists
in wanting the coating, at least she is aware of its limitations. Let
us know how this plays out, OK? Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681


#8

The alloys in some gold jewelry are even effected by everything from
hair care products, perfume, medicine, cleaning products and even
certain individuals body chemistry. I have had to insert thin
platinum bands under 14k and even 18k rings to keep them away from
the skin some people "can’t wear 14k so I have to have 20k or
platinum, really honey " and some really do have a problem. Have you
had a ring turn from yellow to white gold yet? It wasn’t the result
of an alien abduction, as one lady figured it was or a sign from
beyond that a divorce was in the future because it was her wedding
band. Find out if they cleaned up a broken thermometer recently.
Mercury is a real bugger to remove. It must be heated, usually with a
torch. I’m not sure but I think the mercury evaporates. you
definitely should wear a breathing mask and have as good a
ventilation as possible. Back to the turning black situation. I often
put gold plates on the reverse of patinaed bronze antiquities, silver
and mokume earrings and pendants. Rings are more of a challenge, in
that they contact skin on at least 60% of the metal surface I have
not found a PERMANENT solution almost all clear coverings wear off to
quickly

Marty


#9

This is a puzzling problem. I have worn all sorts of silver
ornaments without any damage to clothing, but there are a couple of
pendants (not the chain, mind you—just the pendants)…that will
blacken certain garments. I have no idea why. Other things made from
the same sheet of sterling don’t do it, so it’s not that batch of
silver. I didn’t use any exotic patinas, so that wouldn’t account
for it. Using silver polish before wearing them helps , and so does
rubbing on a thin coating of Renaissance wax, which seems to retard
the tarnishing process and doesn’t leave a stain. But as to why this
happens, and only to these pieces…???

Dee


#10

I am one of those people that can wear silver without it going black,
but over christmas my new neckpiece ( gold and silver alternating
links) has had two of the silver links turn black. I think it was
caused by hairspray. I haven’t tried cleaning it off yet. From
Christine in 43 degree Celsius ( over 100 F ) heat in South Oz.

  • come to think of it, maybe it was the sunblock.