Have you noticed after long hours of having your jewelleries on, especially your rings, you see some green coloured patches around the area? I hope this comes as a sigh of relief but the green colour isn’t actually harmful (however, some people may experience somewhat of an allergic reaction like itches and rashes).
People usually think it’s because their fine gold is tarnishing or they just happen to put on some cheap rings. It’s important you know the cause, the effect and what needs to be changed to avoid this completely. We have put together a fine guide that explains what tarnish is, why tarnished jewellery happens, how you can prevent discolouration, and how you can clean your own tarnished jewellery safely.
DOES GREEN COLOURATION MEAN IT IS TARNISHING?
Tarnished, discolored, stained, smeared- are all words jewelry lovers cringe at the mere mention of them. It’s something we always hear about and automatically think it’s a bad thing, or it’s the cause. But is it?
Tarnish, in chemistry lingo, is the product of a chemical reaction between a metal and a non-metal compound such as oxygen or sulfur dioxide. A thin layer of corrosion forms over the metal, which mars its shine. But in simple English, it's the loss or cause to lose lustre, especially as a result of air or moisture. Don’t get it twisted, Rust and Tarnish are two worlds apart. While the former is an iron oxide usually red in color and happens on iron only, the latter is a thin layer and is often black or gray and it's on many different metals.
Jewelry tarnish is caused when the surface of the metal comes into contact with body oils, makeup, sulfur, sweat, perfumes, deodorants, lotions, and other external substances. Tarnish varies from looking slightly dull to totally black, depending on the metal and how you wear and care for your jewelry. Do you know what gold tarnishes the most? In our newsletter, we explained the types of gold and which golds are good for jewelries.
So, when those green patches appear, it is as a result of a chemical reaction called oxidation between the copper metal and things like water or chemicals. Some jewelries are made of copper, with silver or gold on top. It is a two-way street, it could also mean that you have the green discolouration because your purchased some cheap rings at a random jewelry store.
HOW DO I STORE MY JEWELRY SO IT DOESN’T TARNISH?
- Keep your jewelry dry. Try not to store it in humid places, like the bathroom. Also, don’t wear the same jewelry so often as sweat may get it moist.
- Group your jewelry into metal and type. Try a stackable jewelry organizer or something like drawer compartments to keep your pieces organized. Make sure to keep costume jewelry separate from semi-fine and fine jewelry to prevent tarnish.
- If you keep your jewelry out in the open, store it in a place with a consistent temperature. Designate a special place for your go-to pieces so that they are easy to see and grab in a hurry.
- Store delicate jewelry in a dark and dry location.
What do you do to prevent the green residue? If you've worn off the protective outer layer, you can get the jewelry recoated with the precious metal. You also can cover the jewelry with a clear coat of nail polish, which will prevent the metal from reacting. You do have to reapply the nail polish every so often.
It is worth noting that some jewelries are made of copper, with silver or gold on top. What happens is, the copper in the jewelry reacts with our sweat or lotion or other products. But it can also happen with a lot of other metals too, it's just advisable to invest in quality and affordable jewelries that would give you the best look, while maintaining its shine!