Why Does Gold Discolor Fingers?
Your first thought may be that faulty manufacturing or underkarating might be the problem when a ring "turns", blackening or discoloring the skin and clothing, or the jewelry itself. However, that is not the case. The causes are often something quite different and are usually preventable.


The most common reason is metallic abrasion, caused by makeup on skin or clothing. Cosmetics often contain compounds harder than the jewelry itself, which wear or rub off very tiny particles. Very finely divided metal always appears black rather than metallic, so it looks like a jet-black dust. When this dust comes in contact with absorbent surfaces such as skin or clothing, it sticks, forming a black smudge.

To prevent this, you should try switching cosmetics. If this is not possible, we recommend that you remove rings and other jewelry while applying any cosmetics, and clean skin areas in contact with jewelry with soap and water.

Another cause is actual corrosion of the metals. Gold itself does not corrode, but its primary alloys of silver or copper will do so, forming very dark chemical compounds under wet or moist conditions.

When you perspire, fats and fatty acids that are released can cause corrosion of 14-karat gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast and semitropical areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors skin. Smog fumes gradually attack jewelry and are evident as a tarnish that rubs off on the skin.

We suggest that you remove jewelry often and use an absorbent powder, free of abrasives, on skin that comes in contact with jewelry.

Even the design of the jewelry can be an influence. Wide shanks have more surface area to contact abrasives or corrosives. Concave surfaces inside a shank form collection points that trap moisture and contaminant, also causing a type of dermatitis.

Always remove all rings before using soaps, cleaning compounds or detergents, and clean your rings frequently. As well as solving the problem, you'll be amazed at how much better your rings look!

In addition to these corrective actions, if you are having problems with your gold jewelry discoloring your skin, we recommend that you switch to 18-karat gold or platinum. The lower alloy content of 18-karat gold (25% versus almost 42%) significantly reduces the problem, and the use of platinum should eliminate it completely.