Sterling Silver and green fingers: the causes and what you can do about it

Sterling silverand green fingers: the causes and what you can do about it

Finding the right jewelry isn’t always easy. When you finally find the perfect ring that speaks to your personality and fits your day-to-day style, it makes sense to get excited. The only thing that can rain on your parade is noticing a green tint on your finger. Anyone who is a fan of wearing rings has experienced this harmless but unsightly inconvenience. There’s more behind the green tint than just the passage of time or the quality of your jewelry. Understanding why some jewelry turns your fingers green will help you learn what you can do to both prevent and resolve the issue.

Why Are My Sterling Silver Rings Turning My Fingers Green?

There’s one major myth about jewelry that turns your fingers green-- and we want to put it to rest. Just because your fingers turn green while wearing a silver ring, does not mean that the ring is fake silver or low quality.

The real reason behind the development of a green tint on your skin lies in a ring’s metal composition. There are a few important things to know about your sterling silver rings:

  • Pure silver generally takes a liquid form.
  • For this reason, jewelry made from silver needs to be alloyed, or blended, with another type of metal.
  • The most common type of metal combined with sterling silver for the purpose of jewelry-making is copper.

When your jewelry is made of 925 Sterling Silver and 925 Sterling Silver coated with 14kt Yellow or Rose Gold, it means that the composition is 92.5% pure silver which has been alloyed with 7.5% copper. The mix with copper provides the durability and workability necessary to create jewelry.

While the copper is a vital part of the creation process, it has a tendency to result in the green coloring on your fingers. Keep in mind: everyone’s skin reacts differently to copper. There are many reasons that people react differently to copper, including:

  • the varying content of chemicals in the skin,
  • the composition and severity of sweating,
  • the products and creams one uses.

How Can I Prevent My Fingers From Turning Green?

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about some of the reasons your sterling silver jewelry may be causing your fingers to turn green, it’s time to find out what can be done about it! There are ways to prevent your fingers from turning green, which include:


Although it is not the only reason that your fingers may turn green, rings made from subpar materials are very likely to leave you with the green imprint on your fingers. Be sure to inquire about the materials used to make the rings you’re wearing. Rings made from a combination of pure silver and copper are reliable, and if they do happen to turn your fingers green, it won’t be due to low-quality.


If you wear rings over skin that is damp or wet, you increase the likelihood of ending up with a noticeable green tint. Be mindful and remove your rings before washing your hands or taking a shower. Try to allow lotions and other body products to absorb into your skin before putting your rings on, as well. There are chemicals in beauty and cleaning products that prompt oxidation and will accelerate the deterioration of your rings. Don’t forget: If you are going to swim in a pool, make sure you take your rings off. The chlorine will cause your fingers to turn green and damage your rings permanently.


One simple and practical method to avoid green fingers is to coat the inside of your sterling silver rings with clear nail polish. Here’s how:

  • Paint the inside of your rings with clear nail polish. You can apply nail polish to any part of the ring that touches your finger.
  • Leave your painted ring on a flat surface to dry for at least 20 minutes, or until the nail polish is completely dry.
  • Wear your ring!
  • Apply the clear nail polish as needed.

It’s important to note that matte rings will be given an added shine using this method.


Another option other than clear nail polish to protect against green fingers is the use of a barrier product, such as Jeweler’s Skin Guard. These barriers are designed specifically to seal the metal and prevent staining.

  • Just one application of a polymer barrier will prevent staining for about 2 months.
  • You can apply the barrier as much as needed, in relation to how often you wear your rings.

Quality Rings Made From 925 Sterling Silver

What To Do When My Fingers Turn Green

If your fingers have already been colored green by your sterling silver rings, there are a few simple ways you can remove the stains. Try one of the following methods:


If you have sterling silver rings, it’s a good idea to keep some waterproof eye makeup remover, or rubbing alcohol, on hand just in case you need to remove green stains.

  • Use this method for small stains.
  • Put your liquid of choice on a cotton ball and rub the area gently.
  • Remember to rub in the webbing of your fingers, as the green coloring often concentrates on the nooks and crannies.
  • Wash your hands promptly after to avoid drying, especially when using rubbing alcohol.


For more drastic, dark green stains, nail polish remover may be necessary.

  • Wipe the area with the cotton ball gently but firmly to remove the stain.
  • If your skin is irritated or you have open wounds, try one of the above methods instead.
  • This method can be quite harsh and should not be used more than once per week.

Benefits Of Wearing 925 Sterling Silver

Although dealing with green fingers can be inconvenient, the benefits of wearing 925 sterling silver far outweigh the slight drawback.

The main benefits of wearing 925 sterling silver include:

  • Safety for Sensitive Skin: sterling silver is a 100% non-reactive metal which can be put in direct contact with your skin without producing adverse reactions. Remember, green fingers are aesthetically displeasing, but are not a health hazard!
  • Energy Stimulation and Focus: when you wear sterling silver jewelry that comes into direct contact with your skin, the proper flow of energy is stimulated in your body. This can help fight lethargy and reinvigorate your senses. Sterling silver is also known to enhance mental focus and concentration.
  • Help With Inflammation and Arthritis: sterling silver can be absorbed directly into your skin and transmits strong pain-relieving effects once in the body. Silver promotes sufficient blood circulation and targets pain in the muscles and tissues, common symptoms of inflammation and arthritis problems.

Tips To Keep Your Sterling Silver In Prime Condition

Your sterling silver rings will boost your mood and add character to each and every outfit you wear. To keep your favorite rings in good shape so that you can wear them for many years to come, follow these simple tips:

  • Store rings individually in pouches or cases in a cool, dry place.
  • Consider sealing your sterling silver rings in airtight bags to fight humidity and oxidation.
  • 925 Sterling Silver is sturdy and does not need very frequent polishing.
  • When you polish your rings, use up-and-down strokes, not circles, as it can worsen the tarnishing or dirt.
  • Do not use chemical liquid jewelry cleaners to maintain your rings. Use a simple microfiber cloth or specially designed silver polishing cloth, pre-treated with appropriate and gentle chemicals.
  • Be sure to take your rings off when doing things that involve strong heat and sunlight, harsh chemicals, water, and sweat.
  • In general, keeping your sterling silver rings dry is the best policy.

At the end of the day, green fingers are a common occurrence when you’re a frequent ring-wearer. Don’t forget that green fingers are not necessarily a sign of cheap or low-quality rings. The composition of 925 Sterling Silver lends itself to the occasional green discoloration because of the presence of copper. Green fingers are harmless and there are simple measures you can take to prevent discoloration. It’s all a matter of preparation and maintenance!

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