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Why does gold discolor or irritate your fingers?

Many will think that faulty manufacturing or uderkarating might be the problem when a ring "turns," blackening, discoloring or irritating the skin and clothing, or the jewelry itself. However, that is not the case. This guide will help you understand the causes and how to prevent it.

The most common reason is metallic abrasion, caused by makeup on skin or clothing. Cosmetics often contain compounds harder than the jewelry itself, which ware or rub off very tiny particles. Very finely divided metal always appears black rather then metallic, so it looks like a jet-black dust. When this dust comes into contact with absorbent surface such as skin or clothing, it sticks, forming a black smudge.

To prevent this you may try switching cosmetics. If this is not possible, then you should remove rings and other jewelry while applying them on, and clean skin areas that were in contact with jewelry with soap and water.

Another cause is corrosion of the metals. Gold itself does not corrode, but its primary alloys of silver or copper will do so-forming very dark chemical compounds-under moist or wet conditions.

When one perspires, fats and fatty acids released can cause corrosion of 14-karat gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast and semitropical areas, where chloride combined with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors skin. Smog fumes gradually attack jewelry and are evident as a tarnish that rubs off in the skin.

A good suggestion is that you remove your jewelry often and use an absorbent powder, free of abrasives, on the skin that comes into contact with your jewelry.

Even the design of jewelry can be an influence. Wide shanks have more surface area to contact abrasives or corrosives. Concave surfaces inside a shank form collection points that trap moisture and contaminants, also causing a type of irritation or dermatitis.

A good practice is to remove all rings before using soaps, cleaning compounds or detergents, and clean your rings frequently. As well as helping solve the problem, you'll be amazed at how much better your rings look!

In addition to this corrective actions, the next recommendation is to switch to 18-karat gold or platinum. The lower alloy content of 18-karat gold-25%, versus almost 42%-significantly reduces the problem, and the use of platinum should eliminate it completely because of the purity of the metal.


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