Many of us have bought a new jewelry piece and after a week or two found that it starts leaving black or green rings around your fingers after a day of wearing them. Why does this happen? The answer is quite simple, oxidization. Like the green coating on the Statue of Liberty or on old pennies, when copper comes into contact with oxygen and other chemicals naturally present in the air, water and in our skin oils, It oxidizes into a greenish black color over time, and in the case of jewelry, this can rub. off on our skin.
Don't worry, the residue is not harmful and it is not an allergic reaction. Many people have allergies to certain metals such as nickel, however that is not the case of this phenomenon. Also, contrary to popular belief, oxidization isn't always a sign of cheap jewelry. Many very expensive gold and silver pieces use copper in their alloy to make the metal sturdier, even in low concentrations this copper can oxidize and leave behind residue.
Preventing this is quite easy, however you can't always be certain any ring won't oxidize no matter the quality. Firstly its important to take good care of your jewelry, clean it often and be careful not to wear it in the shower or while swimming. Saltwater can be especially damaging and can wear away entire. layers of metal in a short time. Some lotions and skin product also make metals oxidize faster making this problem worse. You can fix the problem after it starts by applying a light coat of clear nail polish to your jewelry every once in a while to preserve the metal finish.