Gold turns skin black (cont'd)
January 12, 2009
For the last ten years I had (until recently) also experienced a blackening of my skin when I wore yellow gold. In spite of the fact I am 50 years old & have been wearing all sorts of jewelry metals without any issues all of my life, many people didn't believe that I
'suddenly' developed a problem, & thought I was simply reacting to "cheap" jewelry!
To prove the point, I would borrow pieces from relatives or friends & rub them against my skin. Sure enough, they would leave a very dark gray mark. And of course, MY 'offending' jewelry had no such effect on THEIR skin. Obviously, I was reacting to certain alloys in the gold ... most probably copper (?).
It wasn't until after a series of quite recent medical tests for certain health complaints that I discovered I was lactose intolerant (in amongst various other food intolerances). However, due to the manner in which I chose to monitor the effect of these food groups on my well being, I took to managing my diet very rigidly, tackling one food group at a time.
Lo & behold, miracle of miracles, when I eliminated (or significantly reduced) the amount of dairy products (& therefore, lactose) in my diet, the blackening of my skin stopped! It was quite a discovery.
Clearly, the dairy products had been creating too much acidity in my system (Why so 'suddenly' is another story but relates to the onset of certain unprecedented personal stresses). By restricting the intake of certain foods, I now not only have no more problems with wearing yellow gold but I FEEL better too.
- Sydney, NSW, Australia
January 13, 2009
I was made aware of the phenomenon by a young women who told me in her 9th grade health class they demonstrated it by rubbing 24K gold on everyone's skin and a few people including herself had a black mark. She said that her teacher told them it was an old wives tale about iron deficiency but he didn't know for sure what causes it. As a Chemical Engineer it caught my interest and I did a little research.
It has a medical term, BLACK DERMOGRAPHISM, and while several papers are published about it many are in obscure journals I don't have immediate access to. There is a nice short review that follows much of what Tom Baker had to say, written in 2000 by Barbara Kebbekus in Journal of Chemical Education 2000, 77 (10), 1298-1299.
Much of what was posted by him and others is supported by her paper. For example the marks being linked to the premenstrual period.
Kebbekus writes --
"One physiological correlation, which was found by some to have a basis in fact, was that it was more common in women during their premenstrual period (2, 3).This is in agreement with a totally nonstatistical collection of anecdotes from my family, friends, and acquaintances." Additionally, "It has also been shown that pure gold will dissolve very slowly in solutions of amino acids, especially the sulfur-containing ones such as L-cysteine. (...) Gold of lower carat, containing more copper and other alloying metals, dissolves to a greater extent, and both the gold and the copper are found in higher concentration in the solution (...) While there does not seem to be much published information on the excretion of amino acids through the skin and whether the amount or type changes significantly in women during the menstrual cycle, it is certainly reasonable that it may."
She also supports the theory of lotions and creams causing the marks stating,
"Fine powders of such compounds as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate, and iron(III) oxide are frequently used in cosmetic powders, makeup formulations, and skin medications such as calamine lotion and powders. Even at very low rates of application, these will cause the abrasion of gold."
The article is short and by no means definitive but does point out that several factors can cause the marking. It is a good read and if you have access it is worth the time.Nicholas Newport
- Columbia, Missouri
I have similar problems but it's not blackening. I wear my engagement ring and wedding ring together,the engagement ring is 14kt. & wedding ring is 18kt. I have them soldered together but believe it's my engagement ring causing the problem for me for close to a yr. It usually starts to itch in the middle of the night & in the morning I see that it's got a red spot right in the front under where the diamond is, or redness on side of my finger. The inside of the ring is flat under the diamond where I have noticed a small silver looking circle (don't know how long that's been there)and the sides are hollow(where dirt can get into it). It started sometime after I went off of the bc pills last Jan. but in the beginning it never had been to bad. Then these past few months or so it started bothering me more,I've tried cleaning them but nothing. Then I started reading on here it started to make more since about the hormone changes at that time of the month but that spot I get right on the front of my finger,could it really be because if the silver looking spot inside of the engagement ring instead?! I'm thinking about getting the rings unsoldered & try wearing the wedding ring for a while. Should I get the jeweler to check out the engagement ring?Jessica S
- Eaton, Ohio
January 18, 2009
I have been reading and bits and pieces are true for me also, my 14k and 18k rings turn my fingers black mostly when its cold, however I can wear a cheap necklace from Walmart and nothing happens, and my cell phone turns my cheek black as well, (without any make up) the cell phone thing is daily but the rings are occasionally I've even cleaned my cell phone with alcohol etc and it still happens I'm beginning to think it is something like lack of iron or some chemical not sure what though.Bernice T
- Galesburg, Michigan
January 22, 2009
My fiance bought me an 18KT White Gold engagement ring. After wearing it for about a year, I noticed it was starting to create a black mark round my finger. I went back to the shop with it, and was told by the manager it was my hormones due to pregnancy as I was pregnant at the time. I told the manager I had not worn the ring since becoming pregnant and so then I was told it was a skin reaction and they were not prepared to do anything about it. I have recently referred the case to my local trading standards office but I was wondering what you think ?Kirsty R
buyer - Edinburgh, Scotland
March 9, 2009
I think gold turning your finger black is a chemical reaction when you are stressed. I have been under a lot of stress this past week and my ring finger has been turning blackish green under my rings. I have worn these rings for 26 years and it is not always like this. It has happened on occasion in the past but always when I was under stress or had an upset stomach. A co-worker noticed it once and without my saying anything, asked if my stomach was upset because of the discolouration. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to support this, but I know what happens to me.Cathy E
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
March 20, 2009
Today, March 20th I just noticed for first time my gold ring turned my finger black. I've had this ring on my index finger for 30 years. I did, last week, change my vitamins. There are new Vitafusion gummy chewable vitamins out (delicious) and I've tried them. I've added them to my main vitamins and I suspect, this is the reason. Body chemistry has to have changed. Yes, I've been under stress lately also but I've been under stress before so I don't follow that reasoning. I'm past the hormonal phase so that's not the answer and if it was hormonal, this would have happened prior to today. Trying to think if I've done anything different today and the answer is no.Irene H
- Demarest, New Jersey
April 2, 2009
I've been married almost 25 years, and have never taken off my wedding band. Never - EVER. Recently, my fingers started turning green/black. At dinner last night, I joked that time was up, a new ring was needed. My daughter said that in Science class they learned that this happens when your body is low in iron. As a test, if you take your ring off, wash it and rub it anywhere on your body, it will leave a black mark. In their high school class, 1/3 of the kids where lacking in iron.Wendy B
- Toronto Ontario Canada
April 15, 2009
Desperate, straw hair and blackened rings!
I lived in GA for 12 years moved to Connecticut a year ago; had beautiful blonde thick hair, the well water up here I think has ruined my hair, every time I wash it, after 2 days its hard like straw, can barely put a brush through it - also it turns like a very gold yellow/orange and no matter how I have had lovely color highlights it turns within 2 weeks to the yellow color again; I have tried every treatment spent literally a grand on treatments shampoo's etc for hard well water hair, acid hair, etc- we had a whole 3 grand water system put in, no change , I also started to have the charcoal black around my rings and it has not stopped, no matter if I do not put my rings anywhere near makeup, water, etc., it makes no difference, I have had all blood tests, hair analysis tests, everything is in the clear and I am extremely healthy - it is now one year exactly later and I have never had this in my life before and am desperate to solve my problem immediately!Trish G
- Tolland, Connecticut
May 22, 2009
This posting was so funny to read, I have noticed sometimes that at least one of my rings (10k and 14k) turns my finger black on occasion, but I never tried to track when it happens. I am premenstrual right now and generally do have associated low iron levels, and when I read what people had written I had to try it--I took off my rings and tried to draw on my arm with them. Surprisingly it worked! And my 14k ring made a darker line than my 10k one. Not too alarmed by it but I may have them dipped in platinum one day! :)
- Athens, Georgia
June 14, 2009
A friend showed me she could write on her face with her gold ring. It kinda freaked me out. I've wore a gold ring for about 9 years now and it has never turned my finger dark. But I tried writing on my face with it after my friend did and it left dark lines on mine as well. But it only does it on my face and my lines were darker than hers... It's crazy no one knows what's doing this. I've read through everyone's comments and I believe it may be iron or something about our diet or something chemical...?
- Johnson City, Tennessee
Neutrogena Clean Shampoo
My 14k wedding ring does the same thing. All I know to do is coat it with clear polish until my body works out its iron issues,lol....so glad there are others out there like me.Monica R
- flower mound, Texas
July 17, 2009
My gold ring that I have worn for several years is now leaving a black ring around my finger a couple of days after I donate blood. It only happens then, so I'm sorry the makeup or abrasive theory doesn't work.Victoria R
- Bristol, Tennessee
October 26, 2009
I have had this happen since I was around 13 or so. I had always heard it was an iron deficiency but heard that could be an old wives tale.
The black marks come and go. I have noticed that I feel a little "off" when the marks are around. I don't know how to describe it other than I don't feel well (but certainly don't feel awful).
It found a few comments interesting in this thread. One, I have never thought about it in relation to stress but I am certainly stressed today and they marks are very dark.
Two, I had never heard about any correlation with hormones or acidity which is a curious thought.
I do think it has to do with some kind of imbalance in the body. Incidentally, many women who don't think they get the black marks will get them when they rub it on their face (with or with out makeup). My face is where the marks show up the darkest.
- Independence, Kentucky
January 4, 2010
I have the same problem and I know for a fact that this happens when my iron is low. I have been taking iron supplements for about 6 months and recently have stopped and my iron dropped again. I now have the black on my finger around my ring and on the other finger beside it. This is worst on the finger that I have a 14kt gold ring. the higher the gold the worse it is. If you take off your ring and rub it on your face you can probably draw a picture. Have your ferritin and iron levels checked. Mine were low for a long time and the doctors missed it as they only were doing a cbc count.Rosa Cole
- Salisbury, NB, Canada
January 4, 2010
I have two wedding rings I wear -- one is a gold comfort ring the other is my heavy gold wedding set w/diamonds. The wedding set turns my fingers black. The gold comfort ring doesn't. I can take my wedding set off with blackened fingers and clean them and put my comfort ring on with no blackened fingers. So I guess that blows the "chemical reaction or hormonal changes" theory out of the water. I believe the gold we are buying has more alloy than it once did. I got my wedding rings at Helzberg's and I am not impressed.Carrie Camden
- Wichita, Kansas
January 11, 2010
For many years I used to notice that my 18K gold wedding band turned any surrounding skin blackish. I was recently told that it was a sign that a person's body PH is acidic. In my case, this proved to be accurate. Before I learned this, I had stopped drinking alcohol, coffee, and eating sugar and processed foods (after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 51). The black hasn't been back since. I would caution anyone with blackening of their skin from gold to consider that it may be your body telling you that your body pH is acidic. Dietary changes may be needed in order for you to avoid serious health problems. For me, it was the bird in the mine, but I didn't know it.Tess Hart
- Brick, New Jersey
January 13, 2010
You may want to have your Dr check your Iron levels. As I used to be amemic when I was you younger, my physician had me visit a nutritionist. There are many materials and minerals that can tell you what you may be lacking. Gold happens to be one that I was informed would help indicate that I need to boost up my iron. If you increase you intake of greens leafy vegetables regularly or take iron supplements, you will notice this will go away.
Once I increased my intake of greens my physician noticed that my iron levels were outstanding and NO stains on my ring fingers. I got lazy recently because my kids claims to be 'allergic - mentally' to greens so I haven't had much. My silver/black stains came back - so back to leafy vegetables. Hope this helps.
- Plymouth, Massachusetts
January 26, 2010
I too have had black smudges from my 14k gold rings. I have found it to happen when I take my over-the-counter potassium for leg cramps. I will not take the potassium for a few days and see if it goes away. Wish me luck!judithann rivers
- muncie, Indiana
February 17, 2010
I am a 40 year old male and wear a copper ring on my left and silver ring on my right hand. skin below both rings goes black predictably when I am in the vicinity of an energy source. Energy source = spiritual energy. If you don't believe me observe yourself and the skin especially on full moon and new moon days or on days when you feel you are in the zone (feeling good, not referring to periods) or have done any activity intensely 100%. Many people unknowingly are spiritual, by spiritual I do not mean religious or going to church to socialize and have meals. I am talking about hard core spirituality from the east. Take a meditation course and see what you discover about yourself... you'll be amazed and so will people around you be =>neet josh
- boston, Massachusetts
Meditation: Oceanic Mind
March 24, 2010
I am also having this problem with my rings and my earrings. Have not figured out what is causing it but coating the inside of your rings with clear nail polish will stop it.Chris Mercy
- Tucson, Arizona
April 6, 2010
I've had the same problem off and on...and my mother always told me that it has to do with your pH like some of you said. She used to drink a weakened vinegar water and it cleared up!......I'm alot older now and that's what I do when it sporadically shows up. No problem!T. Crum
- Virden, New Mexico
April 29, 2010
I have read all of the previous posts & have come to the conclusion that this problem of mine, is not only very common, but also can be the result of a million different things! I am not going to worry about it, or let it bother me, I will just deal with it & wash the area more frequently throughout the day! I LOVE MY RINGS!Angela White
May 12, 2010
I read through a lot of the others' problems and I can say it makes me uncomfortable. The only thing that I can say that is always going on is having problems with my teeth. I don't have a period anymore and my husband is telling me that I should go to the doctors,I don't know what to do because I am turning 25 years old this month and just starting a new career I have six kids and I can't find time for anything...
So to go to the doctor when I just know that they will say the same thing " I have never seen this before" will just make me more upset. the rings that I put on last about two days before it turns my fingers black, I need help with this...Margaret B
- Elmira, New York
May 13, 2010
Hi, Margaret. Sorry about your harried life, and hope you find a way to fix it. I wouldn't worry about black fingers, but your husband is right that a 24 year old woman who is no longer getting periods should see a doctor!
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 15, 2010
I have a wedding ring I wear its 14k and a 10k on the other hand. Only the wedding ring 14k turns my finger and surrounding skin black only after applying lotion to both hands. It seems to be a certain lotion, other lotions don't react and the other hand with the 10k never turned anything ever.Mendy Deveney
- Palacios, Texas
September 3, 2010
For all of you out there suffering from your fingers & hands turning black, yes it's true, body acids can do that. I am sure you've met someone in your life who could not wear gold plated anything, my daughter is one of those people, her body can totally strip a lifetime guaranteed chain in a matter of hours...it's rather remarkable. She has a very acidic body. Nutrition is tremendously important and cannot be overstated for your health & well being, but equally important & never mentioned is the fact that most bodies today in our over chemical'd world are toxic...think about it. There are thousands of chemicals in our environment, your bodily processes are constantly trying to remove them, this happens regularly via your skin which is your body's largest detoxifying organ. Even if you only eat organically grown food, or grow your own, drink purified water and have the most expensive air filtration system in the world, you are still surrounded by toxic chemicals in the air. How do they get there? By use of most of the household cleaners, body products, if you use a dishwasher, if your house is heated with natural gas or you cook with gas, fumes are inundating your living space, gas= sulfuric acid fumes. The bromides & chlorine in hot tubs is also something that you not only don't want to get your jewelry into, you shouldn't be getting your body in there either. If your water source is fluoridated, you now have the 3 constituent chemicals combined for sarin gas, albeit a weak solution...(you might want to take a few minutes to research that one) The fastest way for a layman to "antique" a ring is to set it down beside your gas hot water heater. I am a jeweler & have been for almost 30 years, I have a very alkaline body chemistry & can wear solid copper rings without any discoloration at all, even on a hot day. As for trying to steam clean the tarnish off of rings, that won't work, steam cleaning is very good at removing oils, grease & sludge, but it won't affect the oxidation on metal. A good Sunshine cloth with microabrasives is excellent if you can find them, but for most tarnish, a simple rouge cloth will do the trick although it can be difficult to get into deeper crevices or grooved areas. I happen to really like antiquing on gold, and most of the time produce my jewelry with oxidation solutions. I hope this allays some fears and gives a little bit of incentive to those of you who might want to research the toxins in your lives, if for no other reason than to become aware of your environment.Penni Palthe
- Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
December 13, 2010
I have been wearing a wide band 14K gold wedding wedding ring for 18 years with no blackening around my fingers. I have a new diamond in 14K gold engagement style ring, also 14K gold stamped inside. It turns my finger black and the wedding ring I have had for years doesn't on the same finger on the same day. What is going on with this. Is the new ring an inferior gold?Colleen Kind
ring owner - Kansas City, Missouri
February 10, 2011
- London, Ontario, Canada
March 3, 2011
It's funny that someone mentioned them not believing in this weird reaction having anything to do with your period, because it might not be your period at all; it may be HORMONES! My mother is pregnant and has never had an issue with it before now, she couldn't have experienced this while she was pregnant with me or my sister because she wasn't married then. She works in a hospital and said she believes it has something to do with hormones!Lily Flyleaf
- flagstaff Arizona US
Perimenopause Hormone Survival
November 1, 2011
My rings only turn my fingers black in cold weather! This is so strange!!Gina Johnson
- Pine State, Arkansas
January 13, 2012
Interesting thread. I was trying to determine why my skin turns black around my gold rings. I have a 10k wedding band on my left hand, and a 10k college ring plus a stainless steel iron ring on the right hand. In an attempt to rid myself of problems with cracking, splitting, and bleeding skin I tried zinc oxide (baby diaper rash ointment) and noticed that it turned my skin black around the gold rings but not the steel ring. As soon as I stopped using the zinc oxide compound it simply went away. Thanks to this thread it is apparent that being 10 karat rings they are not pure gold and that the blackening is most likely caused by the interaction between the zinc oxide and the ring alloys.
Thanks for the help.
- KARS, ON, CANADA
February 15, 2012
I have the black smudge issue as well. It is not consistent it comes and goes. I had a boss tell me one that it was a lack of a certain vitamin in the body. It was not iron. He explained the entire thing as a pH issue and how the alkalinity of the skin reacts to the gold. I tried it and the problem stopped. It was nearly 11 years ago and I can not remember what it was, I have been searching the web in hopes to find someone else who knows this same information. Oddly I believe it was potassium, calcium, or something that is more neutral than a metal (iron), it would be the balance to the acidity.Kelcie Percy
- Charlotte, North Carolina
July 30, 2012
I'VE BEEN TOLD A PERSON IS LACKING VITAMIN ZINIC. IT HAS WORKED FOR ME. I HAVENT TAKEN ZINIC LATELY BECAUSE I'VE BEEN OUT. I WAS HOPING TO HEAR MAYBE LACKING ZINIC WAS RIGHT. I DON'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM ALL THE TIME. BUT WHEN I DO, IT REALLY LOOKS BAD. EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE READ FROM EACH AND EVERYONE SOUNDS RIGHT. THANK YOU.barbara wick
home - greatfalls Montana
December 18, 2012
Hi, just reading the responses there. I don't wear gold jewellery but I wear sterling silver and white gold and I too suffer with the black marks around my fingers, and on my wrist and neck from my bracelets and chains. My iron levels have always been on the low side although I'm not anaemic. For me, my skin only seems to turn black where my jewellery is when I'm cold, so my iron must be low at those times although it is especially more noticeable in the winter anyway. When I'm cold my hands and nose are coldest. I'm 34.Joanne Keane
- Dublin, Ireland
January 11, 2013
I also am one of the very frustrated women who are seeking an answer to why their finger/fingers turn black from gold rings. After reading other posts, I am starting to believe it may be from the acidity in the body. I have noticed that this happens during the year when I am working in a school, but it does not happen in the summer. So I started to think perhaps it's stress or even the lighting in the classroom. Just don't know what to think. But I'm starting to think about the acidity in my body and will begin a routine that should address this issue and at least eliminate this theory. I will post results to help others if this solution works. It's so frustrating. It has come and gone before, but it has gotten really bad lately. I love my rings, but I'm thinking I might have to switch to silver! It's embarrassing! So hungry for an answer. Will keep experimenting and post results. We all need to help one another out in the search for a possible answer. Sure, we can deal with it, but it's the REASON why this happens that is driving us all crazy. Had blood work several times in past few years and had no problem with iron. Eat fairly healthy (vegetarian) and take vitamins. I am prone to digestive issues and acid reflux. Will be drinking baking soda every night for a while to have a alkaline state. Again, will post results!D. Kolman
- Blackwood, New Jersey, USA
March 12, 2013
Just wearing gold or silver does not turn my skin black, but if I rub real silver or gold on the back of my hand or arm the purer the gold or silver the blacker the mark. My friends and family bring me pieces of jewelry just to see if it's real. Only sometimes will it turn my skin black when I just wear it. Weird I know! :)Jeanne Cornelius
- Alabaster, Alabama
October 8, 2013
THIS ONLY HAPPENS IF I RUB GOLD OR SILVER ON LIQUID FACE BASE FOUNDATION MAKE UP ON MY SKIN. Take some liquid face base foundation makeup, any skin color, and rub it on your arm then rub the necklace OR RING a few times over it. If it leaves black streaks it's real gold or heavy plated and this is a safe way to find out -- works on silver too! I know because my sister used to come home from school with tic tac toe drawn on her face, lol, her friends did it with their rings.Starla Curtis
- Sherman, Texas, USA
January 6, 2014
A. I have the same problem with gold turning my skin black. My husband had a 14k ring made for me and I told the Jeweler that gold turns my fingers black, she told me to take a B vitamin but I couldn't remember if it was B6 or B12 so I take both B6 & B12 and it worked -- my fingers no longer turn black.Paulette Getner
- Duquesne,Pa. Alleg
January 9, 2014
opinion! I used to think if any part of my body turned black from wearing gold was due to a chemical reaction from my body. However, at the age of 54 and the abundance of jewelry I own, I am convinced without a doubt it has to do with whatever they are adding to the gold and nothing to do with my body. I have my original wedding rings from 33years ago that do not and have never turned my fingers black.
Recently after a cleaning at a jewelers a diamond was lost which the company promptly replaced and did a horrible job! I was appalled as this ring (not my original wedding rings) was a gift about ten years ago from my husband and it is a carat. Long story short after two jewelers botched the job, I returned to the original maker of the ring who had it remade as it is a one of a kind piece. I've been wearing it, along with my original pieces from 33 years ago and only my new one turns my finger black!
Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on! We're not getting our karats girls! It's sort of like the old adage from a multi-million dollar hamburger place which has always taken great pride in stating and I quote: "our burgers are made with 100% pure beef" -- end quote. Well our jewelry may be made with 14, 18, etc., karat gold but it obviously has additives that some of us are reacting to and I take great offense to this! Apparently gold prices have risen much too high to warrant jewelers actually giving the customer what they "think" they are getting. In my day we called that being ripped off! I'm sickened at the thought of this as it took my husband a long time to save enough to buy this for me only to have it completely ruined 33 years later because of the almighty dollar!Debbie Lucas
- Springville, Alabama, United States
March 11, 2014
This problem of skin discoloring is from the body's pH being out of whack. It happens to me with fine jewelry when I have a low immune system, bad diet, etc. Hope this helps!Marey ryan
- Portland, Oregon,usa
March 13, 2014
I also notice this only when I eat citrus. Oranges, grapefruit and even orange juice. Never happens when I stay away from those items.B Holland
- Buford, Georgia USA
November 16, 2014
I have recently been diagnosed with Ovarian Cysts and have all the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. I was freaked out tonight when I saw the ring I had just put on yesterday had blackened my finger. I don't know if this helps, but i'm going to look into this further. I seem to just keep adding things to the list of cards adding up to the same diagnosis. =( I hope everyone else finds better news for themselves. I don't mean to frighten people. This is just what happened to me and I haven't checked into it yet.Debra F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- San Bernardino, California USA
January 9, 2015
The change of color of the skin is due to the chemistry of your body. Different metals will turn your skin different colors as they oxidize. Some people will wear off the rhodium on their "white gold" in a couple months, some people it may take years. I have occasional dark rings on my fingers when my chemistry is out of wack. Doesn't matter if the rings are 10k, 14k or 24k. Some of the things that I have noticed over the years that have an effect on my chemistry... an italian meal heavy on the red sauce, taking supplements that contain high potassium, magnesium or zinc, and days that I have heartburn or acid reflux. I have also noticed that my fingers will darken when I go to the dentist...I HATE the dentist!... stomach acid high from the stress? The reaction goes away within a few days of either stopping the supplements or my chemistry going back to normal. I just wash my hands more frequently and carry on.Paula Keleher
- California, Maryland USA