Why Does Gold Jewelry Turn Black and How to Prevent It - Nobbier

Why Does Gold Jewelry Turn Black and How to Prevent It

by Werneri Grundström

Discovering that your cherished gold jewelry has turned black can be disheartening. You may find yourself pondering questions like "why does my gold ring turn my finger black?" or "why is my gold jewelry turning my skin black?" This article aims to demystify the reasons behind gold discoloration and offer solutions to keep your gold jewelry looking as pristine as the day you bought it.

Why Does Gold Turn Black?

dainty gold bracelet placed next to a refined gold ring on an old wooden surface, bathed in the soft luminescence of northern dusk.

Causes Explanation Prevention Tips / Recommended Care
Chemical Reactions Elements like sulfur and chlorine can tarnish gold. Everyday products like lotions, perfumes, or even the natural oils from your skin can initiate this reaction. Always remove your jewelry when using lotions or swimming in chlorinated pools.
Metallic Abrasion Cosmetics often contain compounds that are harder than gold. These can cause tiny particles to dislodge from the gold and smear onto the skin, causing a blackish discoloration. Opt for cosmetics that are mineral-based and less likely to cause abrasion.
Corrosion of Alloyed Metals Gold, especially 18k gold, is often alloyed with other metals to improve durability. These metals may corrode and cause the gold to darken. Use a soft, lint-free cloth for cleaning to minimize abrasion on the alloyed metals.
Oxidation Exposure to oxygen can cause gold to lose its luster over time, although this is less common with higher quality gold like 18k. Store your jewelry in airtight containers or zip-lock bags to minimize exposure to air.
Body Chemistry Sometimes, an individual’s body chemistry can react with the metals in the alloy, causing the gold to turn black. Factors include diet, medication, or even natural body oils. If you know that your body chemistry tends to react with metals, consider applying a thin layer of clear nail polish on the inner part of the jewelry that touches the skin.

Is it Fake if Gold Turns Black?

One of the most frequent concerns that people have when they notice their gold jewelry turning black is questioning its authenticity. The thought often crosses the mind: "If gold turns black, is it fake?" It's a legitimate question, but it's important to dispel this common misconception right away.

Authentic Gold Can Discolor

Gold, especially when alloyed with other metals to create 18k gold, can react with the elements in its environment. The discoloration does not necessarily indicate that your gold jewelry is fake; rather, it's often a sign that the metal has been affected by external factors. Here at Nobbier, each piece from our best sellers to our specialized collections, undergo rigorous quality checks to ensure you're getting authentic, high-quality items.

Different Types of Gold and Their Reactions

a gold pendant, elegantly shaped with Scandinavian-inspired motifs, hanging against a backdrop of weathered wood.

When it comes to gold jewelry, the type of gold can significantly influence how it reacts to various elements and conditions, leading to discoloration. The karat weight—10k, 14k, 18k—and the type of gold—yellow, white, rose, or even green—can affect how likely your jewelry is to tarnish or turn your skin black.

10k Gold

10k gold is often used in jewelry pieces that require more strength, such as clasps and pins. It's 41.7% pure gold alloyed with metals like zinc, copper, or silver.

The higher percentage of alloy metals makes it more durable but also more susceptible to discoloration, especially when exposed to acidic substances or certain cosmetics.

14k Gold

14k gold strikes a balance between gold purity and strength, making it a popular choice for everyday wear. It contains 58.3% gold alloyed with metals like copper, nickel, or zinc. While it's more resistant to tarnishing compared to 10k gold, it's not immune to it.

Specifically, the types of alloy metals used can make a difference. For instance, 14k rose gold contains copper, which can oxidize and cause the ring to turn your finger black. Hence, it's important to be aware of the alloy metals in your 14k gold jewelry to understand its care requirements.

18k Gold

18k gold is often used in high-end jewelry due to its 75% gold content. This higher gold content makes it less likely to tarnish than 10k or 14k gold.

However, the remaining 25% usually consists of metals like copper or silver. These can react with substances like sweat, chlorine, or sulfur, leading to discoloration. Proper storage and regular cleaning can help maintain its luster.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is the purest form of gold used in jewelry making. It is least prone to tarnish and discoloration due to its high purity level.

However, the purer the gold, the softer it is, making it less suitable for daily wear. The metal alloys mixed with yellow gold often contribute to discoloration, especially when reacting with substances on your skin or in the air.

Rose Gold

Rose gold has gained popularity for its romantic, pinkish hue. It's made by alloying gold with a significant amount of copper.

While this gives rose gold its unique color, it also makes it more susceptible to tarnishing. The copper can oxidize when it comes into contact with certain substances, leading to the discoloration commonly associated with rose gold.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal like nickel or palladium. It is often plated with rhodium to give it a bright, white finish.

Over time, the rhodium plating can wear off, exposing the metal underneath. This can lead to tarnishing or even skin discoloration. A simple re-plating can restore its original appearance.

Green Gold

Green gold is less common and is usually an alloy of gold and silver or gold and cadmium. Its unique pale green color is eye-catching but it's also relatively softer compared to other types of gold.

Like yellow gold, it's the alloy metals that often contribute to any tarnishing or discoloration. However, the silver in green gold makes it less prone to tarnish, although it can still react with certain substances.

How to Prevent Gold from Turning Black and Care

a minimalist gold toe ring placed on a textured wooden surface, capturing the essence of Nordic design.

Maintaining the luster of your gold jewelry isn't just about cleaning; it's an ongoing process that starts the moment you add a new piece to your collection. Whether it's a set of gold earrings or a delicate bracelet, your Nobbier jewelry deserves the finest care. Here's how you can ensure its eternal shine:

1. Proper Storage

The way you store your jewelry significantly impacts its longevity. Always store your gold pieces separately to avoid scratches and tarnishing. Use a soft-lined jewelry box or the exclusive gift box that comes complimentary with all our Nobbier collections.

2. Regular Cleaning

Cleaning gold isn't as straightforward as it seems. While you can use mild soap and water for a quick clean, avoid using harsh chemicals that can accelerate tarnishing. For the best results, use a specialized gold polishing cloth to gently wipe your jewelry. If you notice your gold polishing cloth turns black, it's a sign that your jewelry has accumulated excessive dirt and could benefit from a deeper clean.

3. Avoid Chemical Exposure

Chemicals are often stealthy foes that can compromise the beauty of your gold jewelry. They're more prevalent in our day-to-day lives than we often realize, and long-term exposure can degrade the quality of your gold.

Be Cautious of:

  • Lotions and Moisturizers: These skincare essentials may contain chemicals that react with gold. It's especially pertinent for rings and bracelets that have direct contact with your skin.

  • Perfumes: The alcohol and solvents in perfumes can tarnish your gold. Make it a habit to apply perfume and let it dry before you put on your jewelry.

  • Hairsprays: These can coat your jewelry with a filmy layer that accelerates the tarnishing process. This is particularly true for necklaces and earrings, which are often in the line of spray.

  • Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs: The chlorine in these water bodies can react harshly with gold. Always remove any gold jewelry, like anklets or bracelets, before taking a dip.

  • Household Cleaners: The potent chemicals in household cleaning agents can tarnish your gold. Even if you're wearing gloves, the fumes can settle onto your jewelry and accelerate tarnish.

4. Professional Maintenance

While home care is essential, some pieces require the tender touch of a professional. Intricate designs like our rings or necklaces can benefit from a professional cleaning once in a while. This ensures that every nook and cranny shines as brightly as the day you first wore it.

5. Regular Inspections

Take a few moments every month to inspect your jewelry for any signs of wear and tear. Check for loose stones, bent prongs, or any other issues that may need professional attention. Regular inspections can save you from the heartache of a lost stone or a tarnished piece.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while it can be concerning to find your gold jewelry discolored or turning your skin black, it's usually not a sign of inauthenticity but an indication for care and maintenance. By following simple storage and cleaning practices, you can maintain the allure and longevity of your gold pieces.

DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT - SEE WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY!

Excellent

4.6

/ 5

Based on over 17,500+ happy customers

Elevator compliments

No joke, I once had a stranger stop me in an elevator to compliment my Nobbier necklace. That's how eye-catching their pieces are! I felt like a million bucks all day after that. Thanks, Nobbier! No joke, I once had a stranger stop me in an elevator to compliment my Nobbier necklace. That's how eye-catching... No joke, I once had a stranger stop me in an elevator to compliment my Nobbier necklace. That's how eye-catching their pieces are! I felt like a million bucks all day after that. Thanks, Nobbier!

Stunning craftsmanship!

I was blown away when I received my Nobbier necklace. The attention to detail is remarkable - you can tell each piece is made with love. It's become my go-to accessory for special occasions, and I always get compliments. Nobbier has a customer for life I was blown away when I received my Nobbier necklace. The attention to detail is remarkable - you can tell... I was blown away when I received my Nobbier necklace. The attention to detail is remarkable - you can tell each piece is made with love. It's become my go-to accessory for special occasions, and I always get compliments. Nobbier has a customer for life

Perfect gift

Bought a bracelet for my best friend's birthday, and she absolutely adored it! The packaging was so elegant, and the bracelet itself was even more beautiful in person. Nobbier made me look like the ultimate gift-giver. Can't wait to shop here again! Bought a bracelet for my best friend's birthday, and she absolutely adored it! The packaging was so elegant, and the... Bought a bracelet for my best friend's birthday, and she absolutely adored it! The packaging was so elegant, and the bracelet itself was even more beautiful in person. Nobbier made me look like the ultimate gift-giver. Can't wait to shop here again!

Incredible quality

As someone who's passionate about jewelry, I can confidently say that Nobbier is the real deal. The materials are top-notch, and the designs are timeless. I've had my earrings for months now, and they still look brand new. Worth every penny! As someone who's passionate about jewelry, I can confidently say that Nobbier is the real deal. The materials are top-notch,... As someone who's passionate about jewelry, I can confidently say that Nobbier is the real deal. The materials are top-notch, and the designs are timeless. I've had my earrings for months now, and they still look brand new. Worth every penny!

Obsessed

I stumbled upon Nobbier from Google and immediately fell in love. I treated myself to a ring, and now I can't stop wearing it! It's become my signature piece, and I feel naked without it. Nobbier has totally upgraded my jewelry game. I stumbled upon Nobbier from Google and immediately fell in love. I treated myself to a ring, and now I... I stumbled upon Nobbier from Google and immediately fell in love. I treated myself to a ring, and now I can't stop wearing it! It's become my signature piece, and I feel naked without it. Nobbier has totally upgraded my jewelry game.

Customer service goals

Not only is Nobbier's jewelry stunning, but their customer service is unmatched. I had a minor issue with my order, and they went above and beyond to make it right. They truly care about their customers, and it shows. I'm a Nobbier fan for life! Not only is Nobbier's jewelry stunning, but their customer service is unmatched. I had a minor issue with my order,... Not only is Nobbier's jewelry stunning, but their customer service is unmatched. I had a minor issue with my order, and they went above and beyond to make it right. They truly care about their customers, and it shows. I'm a Nobbier fan for life!

Instant confidence boost

Whenever I wear my Nobbier earrings, I feel like I can conquer the world. There's something about their jewelry that makes me feel instantly put-together and confident. It's like my secret weapon! Whenever I wear my Nobbier earrings, I feel like I can conquer the world. There's something about their jewelry that... Whenever I wear my Nobbier earrings, I feel like I can conquer the world. There's something about their jewelry that makes me feel instantly put-together and confident. It's like my secret weapon!

Gorgeous and unique

I love that Nobbier's designs are so unique - I never see anyone else wearing the same pieces as me. They're definitely statement-makers, but in the best way possible. I always feel like the best-dressed person in the room when I'm wearing Nobbier. I love that Nobbier's designs are so unique - I never see anyone else wearing the same pieces as me.... I love that Nobbier's designs are so unique - I never see anyone else wearing the same pieces as me. They're definitely statement-makers, but in the best way possible. I always feel like the best-dressed person in the room when I'm wearing Nobbier.

In love!

I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm in love with Nobbier. Their jewelry is like a work of art. Every time I wear one of their pieces, I feel like a million bucks. I can't imagine not having Nobbier in my life! I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm in love with Nobbier. Their jewelry is like a work of art. Every... I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm in love with Nobbier. Their jewelry is like a work of art. Every time I wear one of their pieces, I feel like a million bucks. I can't imagine not having Nobbier in my life!

Nobbier nailed it!

I was looking for the perfect gift for my sister, and Nobbier totally nailed it. She's obsessed with the earrings I got her, and I scored major sister points. I might have to borrow them from her... I was looking for the perfect gift for my sister, and Nobbier totally nailed it. She's obsessed with the earrings... I was looking for the perfect gift for my sister, and Nobbier totally nailed it. She's obsessed with the earrings I got her, and I scored major sister points. I might have to borrow them from her...

Compliment magnets!

I swear, every time I wear my Nobbier earrings, I get stopped on the street with compliments. It's like they have a magnetic force field or something! Not that I'm complaining - bring on the compliments! I swear, every time I wear my Nobbier earrings, I get stopped on the street with compliments. It's like they... I swear, every time I wear my Nobbier earrings, I get stopped on the street with compliments. It's like they have a magnetic force field or something! Not that I'm complaining - bring on the compliments!

Werneri Grundström

About the Author

Werneri Grundström

Werneri Grundström is a renowned expert in the Nordic jewelry industry, with over a decade of experience in the field. As a writer for Nobbier, a leading Nordic jewelry brand, Werneri shares his extensive knowledge and passion for jewelry and fashion with readers around the world.

With a keen eye for style and a commitment to quality, Werneri provides valuable insights and advice for jewelry enthusiasts and fashion-conscious readers alike. His engaging and informative writing style has earned him a loyal following among Nobbier's audience.

Limited Time Offer - 20% Off

LIMITED TIME OFFER

Get 20% off your purchase automatically applied at checkout
Discount automatically applied at checkout