Have you ever experienced ‘Green Finger??’

A common misconception when a silver ring turns your finger green, is to assume that the ring isn’t real silver.  This is unlikely to be the case, as a silver ring may turn your finger green because of a chemical reaction between the moisture on your skin and the alloys contained in the metal.  This moisture can be simply water, body sweat or humidity, or contact with a chemical product such as a skin cream or lotion.

You may also have a similar reaction, known as oxidation, when you wear a copper ring too as the green finger or tarnish, occurs frequently with copper and copper is an alloy often used in silver, hence the connection with sterling silver and a green finger. 

Again, most people assume that if your finger turns green or your ring tarnishes, that the ring is not genuine 925 sterling silver.  The opposite is true because acids that cause the silver to oxidize, which are regularly found in the air, water, creams and soaps, produce a reaction and cause tarnish.  This can leave a dark ring or green stain on your finger.   

We can easily avoid a green finger by following the following simple care steps -    

CARE - Firstly, take good care of your silver jewellery! A lot of people don’t take the time to regularly clean their jewellery and ensure they are stored separately from other items. All jewellery requires cleaning and sterling silver is no different to maintain a long and happy life!

REMOVAL - Remove jewellery especially rings, when washing your hands, and remove all jewellery when swimming, cleaning, showering etc. Then you should find tarnishing or discolouration isn’t a problem. Avoiding chemicals and moisture will help to prevent your jewellery tarnishing.

BARRIER – If your still find you suffer from green finger after following all of the above advice, then a tip to avoid a green finger is to coat the inside of your ring with clear nail polish.  A few layers of clear nail polish will provide a barrier between the ring and your skin so the ring will not tarnish or turn your finger green, or simply remove the jewellery and clean again. Some people may just react with certain metals, of even the highest quality, but hopefully if you care and clean your jewellery properly you can avoid tarnishing and the dreaded ‘Green Finger!!’. 

For more information on cleaning your jewellery, please read our article on Jewellery Care.

May 30, 2015 — Niki Virgo