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Copper Jewelry Turning Green


May 20, 2022

! @ Toni Anne The same thing happens to me when I put on my favorite copper necklace.

Chris Anderson
- Independence, Missouri

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:


Q. Please Help! I recently purchased a copper ring that has turned my finger green. I know that it is a chemical reaction due to the acid content in my skin, but my husband swears that the green ring is poisonous, and that it will cause nerve damage. To humor him I removed the ring but the green stain has remained for several days. He is especially concerned because I am 6 months pregnant. I have searched the web and I have not found copper to be poisonous unless ingested. Can you help?

Thank You in Advance

Lil Prego

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A. I think you need to ask such questions of a doctor, not of a metal finishing website :-)
But lots of people not only wear copper bracelets. but intentionally do so, swearing by it; and the number of people who constantly rattle the copper pennies and other change in their pockets is countless. A quick scan of SDS info on the web did not indicate any reason for me to feel concern at all -- but I'm sure you can find NIOSH info.

Actually, copper deficiency can leads to disease, as described at http://pages.prodigy.com/JTQJ41A/copper.html [Ed. update 10/27/06: sorry, that link is apparently no longer functional but the author claimed that wearing a dozen or so wide corroded copper bracelets might be marginally effective in getting the requisite copper into the body if the diet is inadequate!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Hello

Well I have worn a lot of copper for quite a few years and yes it does turn your skin green but with no adverse effects. There is a form of so called copper overdose, but that is only related to ingestion not absorption. But you must have copper in some form in you diet for good heath. There are circulatory benefits. Because I do were a lot of it I have looked into it just to make sure but I can not find anything to worry about.

Chris Ingram
- lakewood, colorado


A. Dear Lil Prego:

I am an alchemist residing in Md. I ran across your question and just wanted to let you know that you are not being poisoned. In fact, it's quite the opposite. When copper is worn close to the skin it acts as an antioxidant. The copper actually draws out pollutants and toxins that you are constantly ingesting. The greenish residue is merely the result of the copper's working action. Take Care.

Robin Dean
- Baltimore, Maryland


Q. I love copper jewelry. I have both arthritis and fibromyalgia and wearing copper does seem to help.

However I have experienced a problem. Within two or three hours of wearing copper, I have a strong metallic taste in my mouth that lasts for hours, even days after I remove the jewelry. The most discomforting effect is when I am wearing a cherished copper choker.

This has happened too many times to be coincidental. I appreciate any advice. I would hate to give up wearing my beautiful copper.

Thank you

Toni Anne Leach
hobbyist - Canton, Ohio


A. Yes, you can rule out coincidental, Toni, but that does not mean you can rule out psychosomatic. I certainly don't pose as an expert on the subject, but I pay close attention to chemical exposure scares because of my line of work, and every time there is a chemical exposure scare, a portion of the "exposed" personnel have to be hospitalized for their symptoms even when it turns out to have been a false alarm. I'm certainly not claiming that you are imagining it (I have no idea), and I certainly get a metallic taste from Cold-Eze myself as well as from silver plated flatware where the plating has worn too thin; I'm only saying it's possible.

A prank I read about to drive friends batty is to ask them to make sure their tongue is lying comfortable in their mouth; the moment you really & truly concentrate on how your tongue feels, a comfortable tongue position simply cannot be found :-)
It just might be that when you are "looking" to see if there is a metallic taste in your mouth, there will be.

If your doctor advises against the copper based on your complaint you should not wear it; but if s/he doesn't, you may find that the taste eventually goes away. I think trying to coat the copper or take some kind of vitamins to stop the effect may not prove worthwhile to combat this effect, but it is certainly possible to clearcoat copper to reduce corrosion and stop the green skin effect.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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