Sterling Solutions: How Do You Keep Sterling Silver From Turning Your Finger Green?

Sterling Solutions: How Do You Keep Sterling Silver From Turning Your Finger Green?

How Do You Keep Sterling Silver From Turning Your Finger Green?

If you're not sure how to keep sterling silver from turning your finger green, then we've got your back. Find out why and how to stop it here!

Keyword(s): Turning Your Finger Green



You've had a long day at work. You come home and feverishly ditch your work clothes for your favorite pair of comfy pants and take off your jewelry, only to look down at your hands and see a green stain where your favorite ring used to be. The ring is turning your finger green!

First of all, there's no need to panic - you're not breaking out into a rash or having an allergic reaction, and you definitely don't need to toss your favorite ring into the garbage.

Does Sterling Silver Turn Your Finger Green?

Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% of silver. However, it's not strong by itself (it takes on a liquid form), so the other 7.5% is a combination of other metals; most commonly, copper and zinc. These other metals give sterling silver its durability to be used in items like jewelry, plates, and silverware. 

When a ring turns your finger green, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a cheap piece of jewelry. This is a common misconception - all metals oxidize at some point, regardless of the worth of the piece.

Your finger turns green from sterling silver because of a chemical reaction between the metal and your skin. Copper is usually the culprit; it reacts with the pH levels on your skin to create the green color where your skin and the metal meet.

Take a look at the hand cream next to your bed, too - some of the chemicals in these creams will also cause the metal to oxidize, even if your skin isn't normally sensitive.

Keep scrolling for tips on how to stop a ring from turning your finger green.

Give It The Clear Nail Polish Treatment

Clear nail polish has become the duct tape of the fashion world - it's a fixer, and the same is true for sterling silver jewelry. Use the polish on the inside of your ring to create a barrier between the silver and the skin. However, it's not a permanent fix and you'll have to reapply as needed.

Keep Your Hands Dry

A simple solution is to take off your rings before you shower, wash your hands, go swimming, etc. This is much easier said-than-done, of course, but it's something to keep in mind.

Swimming is a big one, as the chlorine in pool water can cause damage to your jewelry.

Apply A Polymer Barrier To Stop Your Ring From Turning Your Finger Green

This is a method that tends to be more effective than clear nail polish, and it's not too expensive, either. Just like the nail polish, you'll need to re-apply every few weeks.

This is also a safer bet than clear nail polish, as it's specifically made for jewelry and won't cause any damage to your rings.

Pickle That Ring!

Yes, you read that right but don't run to your fridge and wolf down a whole jar of dills just yet.

You're going to want to use a combination of water and ammonia, which you can purchase at the grocery store. Use a 50/50 mix of both ingredients and soak your sterling silver ring in it for two full days.

How To Get Rid Of Your Green Finger 

You’re probably looking down at your hand as you scroll through these suggestions and thinking, "That's great, but my finger is already green. How do get the discoloration off my skin?"

First of all, it's not a permanent discoloration, so you don't need to worry about any long-term effects. In rare cases, a person can develop a copper allergy if the problem is not dealt with in a timely manner.

Ideally, your skin should go back to normal in a few hours. If it doesn't, lor you just can't stand to look at the stain anymore, you can remove it yourself.

First, use warm water on a washcloth, along with a couple of drops of liquid soap. Then, rub the cloth on your skin to remove the stain. Rinse your hands afterward.

If this doesn't do the trick, rubbing alcohol is also an option. Grab a cotton ball, wet it, and then apply the rubbing alcohol to it. This should remove the excess staining from your fingers.

Of course, another problem could be that there is some of that green gunk stuck to the inside of your ring. It's called verdigris (pronounced 'verda-greez') and it can eat away at your jewelry over time if you don't remove it.

A toothbrush is the safest way to do it, as the soft bristles won't damage or scratch your jewelry. For super small spots, a toothpick will work as well. For newer spots, a pencil eraser will also do the trick.

White vinegar mixed with water is a good solvent to use for tougher stains; you can soak your jewelry in the mix for a half-hour and then scrub. Do NOT use the white vinegar mix on pieces that have foil backings or pearls.

After removing the green stuff, you're going to want to use a metal polish to shine up your piece.

This Applies To ALL Sterling Silver Jewelry

These tips don't just apply to rings; you can use the same methods to clean up and prevent verdigris buildup on necklaces, bracelets, etc.

Finally, if all else fails, you might want to consider another piece of jewelry. If you're looking for rings that won't turn your finger green, look for rhodium-plated rings or rings that are made of stainless steel and platinum.

While these items can be a bit more pricey than sterling silver, you can be confident in knowing that they won't turn your skin green, no matter how many times you wash your hands.

The best long-term method is to clean your rings and other sterling silver jewelry regularly and make sure that you remove them to avoid getting your hands wet.

Still Feeling Green? 

For more tips on how to take care of your favorite sterling silver items, check out on our Roma Jewelry blog. 

If you have questions about sterling silver turning your finger green, feel free to contact us or call us at 1-888-886-7708. Happy shopping, jewelry lovers!

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