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topic 33758p3

Gold turns skin black

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A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2020

January 11, 2013

Q. 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

thumbs up signJust 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

thumbs up sign 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, Pennsylvania

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

A. 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

A. 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

A. 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

A. 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

April 10, 2015

thumbs up signI consider you guys lucky. All of my gold just melts right off of my fingers. I would like to know what causes it. I lost my wedding rings this way. The bottom of the ring just melted away. I couldn't even wear the old 17-jewel watch; it will stop running when I put it on. When I take it off it starts to run again. I also purchased another watch, paid over $100.00 back in '95 and it not only broke my wrist out and turned it black but it was shocking me like electricity. It stopped me from buying gold and jewelry as a whole. The jewelry store gave me my money back.

Hattie Reid
- Augusta, Georgia USA

April 16, 2015

thumbs up sign I just noticed darkening of my right ring finger and inside of right pinkie where it rubs on the 14K ring I've worn for 20 years. This has never happened before. After reading the responses, I decided to take an iron tablet and also to drink some water with baking soda in case body acidity is the issue. I accidentally spilled some of the alkaline water on the blackened areas, and the dark color on my skin wiped right off. Don't know if this means it is a chemical issue, or if it would have wiped off with plain water, but thought I'd report the phenomenon.

KD Dunbar
- Montrose, Colorado, USA

September 12, 2015

Shea butter

Q. Interesting, I used pure shea butter this morning to see if it would relieve the arthritis in my fingers; 2 hours later my gold wedding rings of 30 years turned my finger black. I haven't used the shea butter in a year or so; so now I am wondering if it the shea butter has gone bad??

Denine Boyle
- Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, USA

September 20, 2015

I am a 58 year old woman and my skin has turned black when in contact with yellow or white gold ever since I started wearing it in my teens. It doesn't happen every day but it happens more often than not. It can't be menstrual related since I had surgery in that respect when I was 32. It does seem worse the better quality of gold, 18K reacts quicker and darker than 10K. It isn't makeup or lotions, the reaction happens anywhere on my body, I even get the black smudge on my clothing when I wear a gold necklace over a turtleneck. It doesn't seem to be a metal alloy, I have tested nickel and copper on my skin while I have reacted to gold and they do not leave marks. I have always suspected it was a chemical reaction, something to do with pH levels yet I have been taking a proton inhibitor daily for over 10 years and I still react. I would love to know what it could be other than a fluctuation of my body pH. A previous post mentioned checking pH levels and I think that's what I will do if I can find a method of checking with a litmus stick kit.

In the meantime, I will continue to entertain people with my parlor tricks of drawing on my skin with their gold jewelry!

Debra Guy
- Fort Payne, Alabama, USA

October 28, 2015

thumbs up signYou can coat your rings in clear fingernail polish to keep the blackening away. It really worked for me; even though my husband was furious it really worked.

lashae p [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- dutchtown, louisiana

October 15, 2015

Q. I have been married for over 30 years, and my ring started to change color just over a year ago. I cleaned it with some toothpaste on a clean rag, the rag was quite dirty afterwards. My ring started to change again within days. It is yellow gold, but looks like rose gold and will look a bronze color if I don't clean it. I do not wea makeup. This does not change my skin color, just the gold. When I asked my doctor about this he didn't know, saying he's not a metallurgist. Should I ask him to do a pH test?

Becky Decker
- Marlette, Michigan, USA

November 2015

A. Hi Becky. If something as common as the color of a wedding ring was a simple & useful guide to your health, doctors would know about it by now. Please let your doctor take care of your health using the tools he has trained with and believes in, and let your jeweler deal with your ring. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

January 17, 2016

Q. I have always had trouble with my 14 Kt. jewelry tarnishing my skin at times. My husband purchased my engagement ring and eternity wedding rings in 18 Kt. gold and they have never tarnished my fingers. It seems that when I am stressed over something, my 14 Kt. gold ring on my right hand causes my fingers to look tarnished as well as my little finger on the same hand. It is so embarrassing.

Could this be due to the stress causing my body to produce more acids and it's a reaction to them? I don't understand why the 18 Kt. rings don't tarnish my fingers too. I've been wearing them for 8 years and have never had a problem with them.

I pray that someone could give me reason why this happens.

Pamela Hall
- Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, USA

January 2016

A. Hi Pamela. When gold is 24 karats, it is pure gold, nothing else, and it cannot tarnish and it cannot be attacked by anything short of aqua regia, a super strong mixed acid. When gold is 18 karats, it's 6/24ths other metals like copper, silver, or nickel. When it's 14 karats, it's 10/24ths other metals. We may be simplifying a bit here, but 18 kt gold is significantly purer than 14 kt -- and that alone may explain the difference.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

January 18, 2016

Q. Ted Mooney, P.E. RET, Thanks so much for the quick reply to my question. The ring that is giving me trouble is one that my husband purchased for me about 3 years ago in Barbados and it is a 8 Kt. Tanzanite with diamonds on the 14 Kt. band. I hate not wearing the ring. Will cleaning the ring and using clear polish on the band keep it from turning my fingers black or will it deplete the value of the ring?

Pamela Hall [returning]
- Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, USA

January 2016

A. Hi again. Cleaning the ring and putting a clear coating on it should help significantly, although I wouldn't promise 100%. Such coatings should not have any impact on the value of the ring; but the expertise on this site is regarding metal finishing advice, not about valuations or antiquing :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

January 29, 2016

A. My gold rings started turning my fingers black when I added Tumeric to my diet. When I no longer was taking the supplement it went away. I then started taking it again and the black returned. Take it for what it is worth.

Gwen Sick
card services - Chino Valley, California

February 22, 2016

Q. When I wear a pair of 14 karat yellow gold studs that I purchased when I got my ears pierced for the 2nd time, the holes of my earlobes went black. Why is this? Can it happen if I am allergic to gold? I have put them in a second time to see if the same thing would happen, usually within two hours the holes go black and they haven't. Is there a reason for this? I am in grade 11, going to be 17 in May.

Tamara Wilson
Co-Op student - Janetville ON CANADA

February 25, 2016

A. I doubt the acidic pH theory is correct. I have a very high blood pH level of 8.0, at the high end of the normal range of 7.2-8.0, and I get dark black ring discoloration around my 18Kt. wedding band in a few days. It washes off easily. I don't know what the pH of my perspiration is though.

Vig Catalano
- New York, New York

February 27, 2016

A. This has been happening to me since I was in high school - I was told once that with an iron deficiency, the gold would turn skin black - I am anemic and have been my whole life, I can literally take gold and rub it on any part of my body and it will leave black lines - so I know it's not makeup, hand soap, etc. I truly believe that the blackening of the skin when it comes in contact with gold is a sign that your iron levels are low -- try taking iron pills to see if this keeps the blackening from happening; if it does, then you know what the issue is ;)

Annie Beaver
- Bellwood, Pennsylvania USA

March 11, 2016

Q. I am male, 28 years of age, and have a question and thoughts. I purchased an antique [art deco] 14k yellow gold ring, from a dealer I know well and trust [which included the original recipe and a notarized statement, verifying the quality of the face stone, diamond, and gold]. I do though have a family history of reaction to heavy loads of base metal; such that, my sisters, maternal relatives, and I can only wear 95+ silver and 'Indian silver' jewelry. I also take divalproex sodium (1500 mg in the am, 1000 pm), and amphetamine (30 mg). Now, if I remember my bio chem correctly, the blackening is a result of the alloy metals (non-gold) reacting to those excess chemicals released from my skin, which may be fat and water soluble (via either the sweat or oils).

I don't usually wear 14k gold, as most of the pieces I have are heirloom 18k+, but I had brokered a transaction for the dealer who included it as part of her payment.

I did notice a mild blackening on my skin, and a pasty build up on the inside of the ring; however,this was after putting on a moisturizing salve while my hand were still slippery. I suspect this to be the cause, but was concerned if it could also be my medications. has anyone heard of medications which can cause 14k to react like this?

Dillon DeBruzzi
- Dayton, Minnesota

September 3, 2016

I have 2 gold rings on my left hand that have left a black ring for the first time after wearing them for 32 years. The silver rings on my right hand are fine. I suspected the use of zinc based creams I have started using recently. A previous post confirms this idea. I used a sunscreen containing zinc and titanium and no problem. Used zincofax for a couple of days and black ring appears. I don't know why the sunscreen didn't have the same effect. The zinc cream is helping heal my skin, so worth the small inconvenience of washing my finger or removing my rings.

Monica Neilson
- Banff, Alberta, Canada

November 29, 2016

Q. I have had this problem for many years. But, I wear both silver and gold and get the same reaction to both medals. I don't think it ha to do with the menstrual cycle as I haven't had those in thirty years. I don't think it is cosmetics because of the infrequent of the reaction. I think it is a chemical reaction but I have no idea what the deficiency is.

Juli Oberg
- Dundee, Minnesota, u.s.

December 10, 2016

Q. I'm 17 and have been wearing a gold ring my mom was given on her 21st, she says the discolouration has something to do with a lack of minerals. I'm looking for the actual solution. I'm very careful with the ring, I always take it off before washing my hands or doing any work.

I'm getting the same black discolouration in my ears and when I clean it out there's actually a black fluff-like substance in the holes for my earrings. I do not have gold earrings, they're just a pack from Tally Weil.

Is there any chance these are caused by the same thing and what can I do to fix them?

B Mitchell
- Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland

January 8, 2017

A. I have about 10 solid gold ring on my fingers, I had a blood transfusion about 2 and a half years ago. The gold ring blackening your fingers in caused from low iron. (The blood count in your body) someone else had responded with the "time of the month" having something to do with it and it definitely does. Because you lose blood, and makes you low on iron. Hemoglobin which is the blood count in your body. Also carries the oxygen in your body, so you all are right in a way, because it has a lot to do with your own body and chemistry. So low iron it is!!

Crystal Armstrong
- Kingston Ontario, Canada

May 15, 2017

A. Lack of iron is the cause for skin blackening. This means your items are gold. Most women don't get enough & it will cause this. I use this test on jewelry to make sure it is indeed gold. Put a touch of foundation on your face & cover with some face powder. Run the gold across that spot a few times and see if it turns black. You have your answer if it does!

Rose Bronson
- Holiday, Florida US

June 1, 2018

Q. I have read all the comments here. I suffer from this mystery as well but only in my ear piercings which I've had since high school. I am way past menopausal, have been on hormone replacement therapy for over 15 yrs., do get acid reflux, but on meds for it, and I started getting black ear at around 60 yrs old.

No problem with any rings or bracelets, can wear real gold, silver, fakes. Used to be able to wear any kind of pierced earrings, fakes to 18 kt and silver.

Can't wear any pierced earrings now that don't turn me black, but my ears hurt too. They feel like they are getting 'infected' after wearing anything, my gold -- and it's not just "new" gold, I am talking about gold I got decades ago that never did that to me, real gold hoops I got in high school -- now leave an embarrassing green/black smudge on my ear, and cause pain too. Silver and fake stuff does the same thing, I feel like I just had piercings and was trying to hurry them along and now have 'infection' problems. I have to use Neosporin after I take earrings off. This has been about four-five years now. I spent my life collecting lovely earrings and now I can't wear anything.

Elizabeth Schwartz
- Metairie, Louisiana

July 18, 2018

Q. In regards to this issue of skin blackening with chemical changes vs. cosmetic: I was 6 years old and nearly died of a kidney infection while living in Europe. The first sign my mother saw of something wrong, was the blackening of my 24K gold hoop earrings. She claimed they went from yellow gold to greenish black, also leaving residues on the actual piercing hole/ear lobe. a doctor prescribed a detox with no sugar (unless natural, like fruit) and no salt for two weeks. Within days of this detox, my skin color and blackened gold earrings changed back.

I haven't had this problem until today (July 2018) when my engagement ring left a black ring around my residue/cosmetic-free hand. So I searched the internet to see if anyone had similar problems to mine. Sure enough, I found this blog. Lol. I just started recently drinking coffee and eating tons of carbs (was carb and coffee free for years). I think I need another no sugar no salt detox. It's worth trying. Thanks for listening and writing your answers to help me.

Nuni Patuni
- San Francisco, California, USA

February 8, 2019

A. You can't convince me that this is the jewelry. This has been happening to me regularly for over 54 years, monthly when I had my period, and less often since menopause, going along with hormonal changes and Migraine headaches. Now, at age 69 it still happens, less predictable, because of fewer hormones in my body. But it still occurs with my cycle of Migraines, their triggers, and these are still cyclical in my body.

Gloria. Newvine
- Kirkland, Washington USA

April 1, 2019

A. I had black on my skin when I wore gold at age 18. I believe it was my endometriosis. It went away after my first surgery. Forty years later, it is happening again as I am switching my thyroid medication which seems to be affecting my estrogen. Ask you doctor to test your thyroid. Thyroid controls a lot of your health. It works with estrogen, and can be damaged by stress.

Traci McKnight
retired - Sand Springs Oklahoma

November 22, 2019

Q. I've got three nine carat gold rings one is all of a sudden turning my finger black green this ring was expensive is there anything I can cost my ring in to stop it turning finger this colour just don't understand it, it started after using make up I've cleaned the ring and finger but it keeps happening I don't wear make up it was a special occasion what else could cause this does it mean my rings not 9 carat gold if anyone can help me if be grateful

Karen Carroll
- Wales Flintshire

December 10, 2019

A. Hello Karen,
As you probably know 9 karat gold is 9/24ths gold, and the ring will have a 9(kt) marking on the underside. It is unusual for women's rings to be made in 9 karat. Men's rings are generally 10 karat gold because the gold has to be alloyed to a certain extent for wear resistance. You didn't mention if all three rings were from the same manufacturer, or the same jewelry store. It sounds like one or more of the alloys is causing the discoloration. A heavier nickel alloy can turn a finger under the ring green. A certain body chemistry can also cause this. You should avoid chlorine, or any chemicals for that matter. You could polish the ring with a jewelry cleaning cloth, wear it again and see if the problem re occurs. Some people apply a clear lacquer spray. Hope this helps.

Mark Baker
Retired - Winston Salem, North Carolina USA

December 21, 2019

A. I have Lupus condition and now my wedding ring the 14 K gold turns my skin black. I think if your skin turns black your body is talking to you. Check your blood .

Magnolia Morales
- Fayetteville North Carolina

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