"Turning"/Tarnishing Gold Earrings?

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  1. I seem to have a problem with earrings. I seem to "turn" the metal, or tarnish it; regardless, it changes color.

    With the exception of James Avery earrings and jewelry, I cannot wear silver at all. Even Tiffany & Co. causes an allergic reaction (in piercings) or turns my skin green or black.

    I don't have allergic reactions to gold jewelry that is 14k or better, but I seem to turn the metal colors ranging from dark orange to deep red to dark brown, depending on the metal content.

    The gold hoop earrings in the photo are 14k yellow gold, and they have turned reddish-orange where they were worn in my ears. The stud pictured is 18k yellow gold and it turned dark brown. The hoops were relatively inexpensive ($89) and were purchased from Blue Nile. The studs were $150+ and were not cheap, considering they are mini/child's earrings and higher quality. I even turn Tiffany & Co. gold!! These earrings are not dirty and were just cleaned (but not polished) via boiling and a tooth brush.


    I don't know what to do about this. It has been suggested that I try platinum, but since I don't wear white metals and prefer the warm look of yellow or rose gold, I am frustrated!
  2. Is it possible to get the posts plated or replaced with platinum? Seems it wouldn't be doing your skin much good to be in contact with something that it reacts to so strongly.
  3. I know, right?

    As far as these pairs of earrings... They aren't so expensive that they would be worth the cost of replacing the posts with platinum. I may consider plating them, however.

    Are there any brands that sell yellow or rose gold designs with platinum posts?
  4. Are the posts causing you discomfort? If it's just a color change from your body chemistry and doesn't bother you or show then I wouldn't worry about it.
  5. #5 Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
    As long as it's 14k yellow/rose gold or better, it doesn't cause me any discomfort at all.

    If it's white gold (of any karat) or silver... I itch and break out.

    I haven't tried platinum earrings because, to be honest, I rarely wear white metals (very pink skin tone) and I didn't want to invest so much money into a white metal that I didn't find flattering on me.

    I'm only a little concerned by the reaction my skin is having to metals. That can't be good for my piercings, can it?
  6. Do your rings & necklaces do this, too?

    If you find a pair of studs you want wear daily, it might be worth it to have a jeweler put a platinum back & post on them. I don't think the chemical reaction can hurt your piercings, though. You might also try palladium, which would be less expensive.

  7. Necklaces... not so much. Probably because they're moving around quite a bit and not pressed against my skin all the time. The same with bracelets. Both can turn my skin colors if I sleep in them overnight, and I've only turned one 14k chain orange, but I've never had a reaction to them, and I've never turned the metal with the exception of that one 16" rope chain.

    Rings also have to be 14k yellow/rose gold or better. I cannot wear silver or white gold rings AT ALL. My fingers break out in itchy, bumpy hives or a red rash that causes skin to peel... not pretty.
    I only wear 14k+ yellow or rose gold rings anymore. The rings I wear daily are 18k rose gold and I don't have an issue turning their color. I don't turn the yellow gold rings, either. I only have trouble if water gets trapped under my gold rings.

    Earrings seem to get the biggest reaction because they pass THROUGH my body and don't just sit on top.

    The reason I can wear James Avery silver is because their silver is 92.5% sterling and the remainder is palladium. No nickel or other metals.

    I'm tempted to purchase a cheap pair of platinum earrings from Blue Nile and see whether or not I react.
  8. I'm not sure if there are brands that sell platinum posts on non-platinum jewelry. It might be something you would have to have done yourself afterward, unless it was a custom piece.
  9. You could look for fine silver on etsy--99.5, I think. Also 22k or 24k gold.

    This may sound daft, but I also wonder if you could do what we used to do with costume rings in jr high to keep them from marking our fingers--we'd coat the insides w/ clear nail polish. Maybe you could get a really inexpensive pair of studs, coat the posts, & see?
  10. How often do you rinse or clean your gold jewelry? With your skin reaction you just might have to resort to cleaning your pieces every time you wear them. The acid and oils from our skin stay on them otherwise.

    I bought a pair of earrings off ebay once and the flower petals were going orangey at the folds and center and along the crevices and posts. I used jewelry cleaner and a polishing cloth to remove the tarnish. Now I make sure to rinse and pat dry every time I use them.

  11. I do remember doing this with rings years ago... I don't think that I would be comfortable doing it with ear posts, though...

    I clean my jewelry once a week. I remove all of my daily pieces (earrings, rings, necklace) and boil them in a stainless steel bowl filled with filtered water and dish washing liquid. I then allow the water to cool, rinse them and scrub them with a soft tooth brush, then allow them to air-dry on a clean paper towel. After, I polish them with a polishing cloth, wash them with antibacterial soap, rinse with peroxide, and allow to air-dry before cleaning my piercings (with peroxide) and putting it all on again. Basically, every Sunday, I go 3-4 hours without jewelry.
  12. I wonder if the reaction could be from one of these chemicals, or between them? Or a reaction between the chemicals and your ears?
  13. Nope... I started all of this AFTER the initial reaction/turning many years ago, because my ears used to itch when I wore 10k yellow gold earrings. I've always had sensitive ears, even as a child. I kept increasing the gold purity until the itching stopped. Now I disinfect everything. I've tried cleaning several different ways. First was just the peroxide, to disinfect. The earrings would bubble, but they still turned colors after wearing them 2-3 days. Then the antibacterial soap was added, mostly so that I could scrub the jewelry with a baby toothbrush. My former Mother-in-Law was the one who suggested coiling my jewelry in water and dish soap about two years ago when she first noticed that my earrings were turning different colors.
  14. Not to make everyone paranoid but sometimes it's the things you don't think of being in contact with that cause the problem. My mother had one ear piercing suddenly swell up. After a few days the other one followed suit. It took a while but she eventually traced it back to the new cleaning lady at work washing the phones down once a week with 409 cleaner. I had similar (but not as extreme) problems once after changing shampoo.
  15. You're body is reacting with the alloys in the gold - a lot of people are allergic to the nickel that is in white gold and can often cause swelling or a rash. Especially as earrings, because your skin surrounds the metal - I know plenty of people who can wear a white gold ring but can't wear earrings.

    With the yellow gold - it's all body chemistry. Your body is likely reacting to the copper that's in the alloy. I know that if I wear anything less than 18k, especially a chain or earrings posts, they will darken over time. I think it has something to do with having a high PH, which can spike even higher during certain times of the month..

    If it's not cause any discomfort, I wouldn't worry about it because essentially what's happening is you are causing the alloys to oxidize - you're changing the metal it's not changing you. I'd get a simple jewellery cleaner (most silver cleaners will do the trick) and after a quick dip they will be good as new. Just make sure you rinse them well.
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