Why Does My Ring Turn My Finger Black?

Oh man, I wonder how many times I’ve heard this in all the years of retail.

First let me tell you. Gold does not turn your finger colors. The alloys that makes up the finished gold, the environment, your makeup, medicine, what you eat, how it fits your finger and your hygiene (Yup, I’ll say it).

Basically, anything your finger is exposed to can cause your finger to turn colors or irritated. Seldom anyone is “allergic” to the base gold, silver, platinum or palladium. So, let’s look at some of the basics of finger crud.

Number one on my list is just plain crud. It is surprising what I have cleaned from rings in over 20 years. I was going to include some pictures but some of them really are gross. Clean your ring once in a while. I can’t count the times I’ve heard “We’ve been married 20 years and I’ve never taken my ring off” Really? That’s just rough. Have a jewelry dish in your kitchen to place your rings in when you are working on something messy.

Number two is the opposite of number one…kind of. Cleaning products. Think about that cleaner you use to clean grease, crud, mold, mildew and a host of other nasty crap in your bathroom. Those chemicals are between your finger and your ring with no air and no light, hmmm. Yuck

Number three is cosmetics, lotions perfumes and all things body. Yeah that stuff you use to make you look good and smell good all get on your fingers and in between your finger and your ring with what did I say above? No light, no air. Think about it. On top of that. A lot of makeup is slightly abrasive, just like some of the abrasives we use to polish. If you want to see what that does to your hands just take a look at a working bench jeweler’s hands at the end of their day.

Number four. Drugs. No, not the illegal kind (Well maybe) but a lot of prescription and non-prescription drugs react with your body in different ways and you have this ring on with uhmm, no air and no light between it and your finger. Are you kind of getting the no light and no air thing?

Number five. What did you eat last night? Yeah, your body reacts with the foods you eat so have you made a diet change? Most of the time when you are truly reacting with the metal because of the metal, it is the alloys in the ring to make it the karat and make it more durable.
Here are some of the ways the gold you wear is created from pure gold. Each manufacturer has their only little brew, but the following gives you a idea of some of the things that can be in gold that messes with you

Normal 14K White Gold

58.3% fine gold
23% copper
11% nickel
7.7% zinc

Normal 18K White gold

75% fine gold
10 % copper
8% nickel
4.5% zinc
2.5% silver.

14kt White Gold – Palladium Alloy
58.33% pure yellow gold (AU)
32.17% silver (Ag)
9.50% palladium (Pd)

18kt White Gold – Palladium Alloy
75% pure yellow gold (AU)
25% palladium or platinum

14K Yellow Gold
58.5% fine gold
29% copper
12.5% fine silver

18K Yellow Gold
75% fine gold
15% copper
10% fine silver

14kt Rose gold
58% gold
32% copper
10% silver

18kt Rose gold
75% gold
22.25% copper
2.75% silver

 

 

 

 

So this gives you a little “Insider Info” on we as jewelers think when we hear “I am allergic to gold”

I’ll write more about nickel allergies and other goodies about metal but this gives you a few things to think about if your finger is turning red, breaking out in a rash or whatever before you think it’s your ring.

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