Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Wearing copper tarnishes my silver jewelry


#1

I normally wear several sterling bracelets that I made. I rarely
take them off. They normally tarnish very slowly while being worn.
Recently someone gave me a gift of a lovely copper necklace. I put
it on, and within a few hours the copper had turned black, and had
turned my neck black as well (not green, very dark black). No big
deal so far–copper does this to some people.

BUT… all of my sterling bracelets, which never touched the copper
necklace, turned dark black as well.

I repeated the experiment later with freshly cleaned sterling
bracelets on one arm and a brand-new solid copper bracelet taken from
my show stock on the other. The exact same thing happened within about
3 hours–black copper, black skin, and black sterling.

Does anyone know why this would happen? My science geek husband
mumbled something about galvanic skin response, but when I google
that term all I find is info about biofeedback, nothing about
tarnishing silver. My curious mind wants to know (especially in case
it happens to a customer!).

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.featheredgems.com
http://www.fgemz.com


#2

All I know is that I’ve never seen that happen before, so I’m
curious too!

I mix copper and sterling jewelry all the time with no bad results.
But I don’t have acidic or really oily skin. I can wear a copper
ring all day and only get a faint green oxide band unless I’ve been
doing dishes. I never have problems with copper earrings either,
though I was told by a slightly hysterical lady who visited my
website that copper earrings will do horrible things to anyone who
wears them…


#3

I wear copper and silver 24/7 and don’t have any problems problem
preblems…D

Bobbie Horn
Brownfield, TX 79316


#4

Very interesting, including one comment that all rings should be
made of precious metals. I do a significant business in copper -
rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants… Customers love
the look, and many buy it for its supposed therapeutic properties -
it is supposed to help joint pain.

I don’t use copper ear wires, but otherwise have not had anyone come
back with issues. Some people can’t wear copper, but they generally
already know that.

Never heard of it making something somewhere else on the body turn
though - very odd! Have you tried it with copper from a different
source, in case it is something in that particular batch of copper?

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#5

I can’t answer the question about copper making the silver tarnish,
but I will say that I spray Nikolas #2105 Clear Lacquer on all the
copper jewelry I make, both front and back. Just too messy to deal
with otherwise.

Pam East
www.pameast.net


#6
Never heard of it making something somewhere else on the body turn
though - very odd! Have you tried it with copper from a different
source, in case it is something in that particular batch of
copper? 

Yes I did. The necklace I was given was partly made from
manufactured copper chain, source unknown. The bracelet I tried in my
later experiment was forged from 8 gauge copper wire from Lowe’s.
Both
the necklace and the bracelet produced the same black results on the
sterling pieces I was wearing.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.featheredgems.com
http://www.fgemz.com


#7
I repeated the experiment later with freshly cleaned sterling
bracelets on one arm and a brand-new solid copper bracelet taken
from my show stock on the other. The exact same thing happened
within about 3 hours--black copper, black skin, and black sterling. 
Does anyone know why this would happen? My science geek husband
mumbled something about galvanic skin response, 

Listen to your husband. [G] You’ve made yourself a battery, I’d
guess. The contact potential between silver and copper is on the
order of a quarter of a volt. If you have exceptionally low body
resistance, a current could be generated, and strange things could
happen in conjunction with perspiration, which is pretty complex
chemically. In other words, it’s not the copper, it’s the fact that
you have dissimilar metals with a conducting medium between them.
After all, sterling silver has copper in it anyway.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#8

I do a lot of copper work and have more then a few customers that
buy copper for therapeutic reasons. There is evidence and some belief
that copper helps with arthritis, also there is a belief that it also
helps pull toxins from your body (that’s the discolouration on your
skin under the copper). These toxins form on the body as salts, these
salts will discolour the metal your wearing. I have customers who
wear their bracelets 24/7 and report to me that the copper stays
relative “clean” because of their daily shower.

The long and the short of it is that you may have a build up of a
toxin(s) that in its salt form tarnishes both copper and silver. Yes
I know, pretty New Agey take from it what you will.

Chris