Why Is Your Engagement Ring Turning Your Finger Green?

It finally happened. You’ve gotten engaged to the love of your life. You’ve got a loving partner, a bright future, and a beautiful new engagement ring… that’s turning your finger green!?

Your engagement ring is turning your finger green because it may contain a metal like copper or brass, which reacts to the salts and oils in your skin, leaving a green residue. This process is called oxidation, which happens when jewelry is made of certain materials. 

This article will explore why your engagement ring might turn your finger green. It will also detail several ways to stop your new engagement ring from turning your finger green. 

5 Reasons Why Rings Turn Fingers Green

There are a few reasons your ring could turn your finger green or blue-green. It involves the reaction between various metals and salts, human skin oils, or other products like lotions and creams that may be on your hands. Some metals can even react to the air itself. 

Luckily, this green or blue-green stain isn’t toxic and won’t damage your skin or health. It can’t be washed off, but it will typically go away within a day or two once you have removed the ring.

Your Ring Contains Copper

As I mentioned, copper reacts to the salts and other elements in human skin, resulting in oxidation. This causes that green or blue-green mark on your finger wherever the metal touches you. The stain is called a patina, which you commonly see on other copper objects like statues, old pots, and even deposits in cliffs and mountainsides.  

Copper is relatively cheap and easy to mold. For that reason, the material is frequently used to make cheap jewelry and is the number one cause of finger discoloration from rings. However, just because it turns your finger green doesn’t mean your ring is cheap! 

Silver and gold rings often contain a small percentage of copper because silver and gold are relatively soft and expensive materials. Adding other metals like zinc, tin, and copper can make them more durable and affordable. 

Silver usually contains around 7.5% copper, but gold jewelry frequently contains an even higher percentage. For that reason, gold rings are more likely to turn your finger green. This is especially common with 10k and 14k gold. 

Your Ring Contains Brass

Another metal that can cause your ring to turn your finger green is brass. However, brass has this effect because it is a copper and zinc alloy. Brass makes a fair imitation of gold and is used for very cheap jewelry. 

In addition, gold-plated rings are frequently brass underneath, which is why they may only start turning your finger green once you’ve been wearing them for a few weeks or months. Eventually, the plating wears through, and the brass contacts your skin, resulting in oxidation. 

Your Ring Contains Bronze

Bronze is another metal alloy that contains copper. Specifically, a mix of around 88% copper and 12% tin. Thus, if your ring is made of bronze, it will inevitably cause oxidation and leave a greenish ring around your finger. 

Bronze has been used for jewelry making for thousands of years. Today you see it commonly used to make vintage-style jewelry. It is another metal alloy often used to mimic gold. However, it can be identified by its darker, reddish color. It also doesn’t have as much luster or shine as gold. 

Your Ring Contains Pewter

Pewter is another copper-rich alloy used to make very cheap jewelry. Like bronze, it is a mix of copper and tin. However, pewter has a much higher tin content. On its own, pewter is a dark metal that can be polished to a lovely shine. However, when oxidized, it becomes dark and dull. It is one of the cheapest and easiest materials to make jewelry.

It’s unusual to find an engagement ring made of pewter, but not impossible. If your engagement ring is made of pewter, chances are it is also gold-plated. 

You will be able to tell if your engagement ring is pewter once it starts turning your finger green. Look at the inside of the ring, and you’ll see where the gold plating has worn off and the dark metal shows underneath. Pewter will have no gold or reddish coloration, unlike brass, bronze, or copper. 

Your Ring Contains Nickel

Nickel is another ubiquitous addition to metal alloys. It’s also one of the most common metals that cause allergic reactions. Those with nickel allergies may experience redness, itching, and inflammation of the skin that comes in contact with jewelry containing this metal. Nickel can also turn your skin green.

Unfortunately, nickel can be found in jewelry of almost any kind, including gold and silver. It can also be found in less common materials like chrome and palladium, which are sometimes used to make wedding and engagement rings. 

If you have a nickel allergy, ensure that any jewelry is nickel-free before putting it on. A severe reaction could cause your finger to swell and your engagement ring to be stuck. 

Other Ring Materials That Can Cause Finger Discoloration

Copper, brass, bronze, and nickel are not the only metals that can cause finger discoloration. One of the most common ring materials that do this is silver

Even sterling silver can sometimes oxidize when it comes into contact with acids and oils in your skin. However, silver oxidation leaves a black ring rather than a green one. 

How To Stop a Ring From Turning Your Finger Green

It’s challenging to prevent a ring from turning your finger green, so the best advice is to get a new ring – preferably one made of a pure metal like platinum. However, if you don’t want to do that, there are other options. 

For example, you can have the ring plated (or re-plated) with another metal or coated with a special sealant. In a pinch, you can paint the inside of your ring with nail polish to create a barrier between metal and skin. 

Suppose the discoloration from your ring is only mild. In that case, it may result from oils, lotions, or perfumes you get onto your hands or exposure to excessive moisture. In this case, you should wash and thoroughly dry your hands before putting the ring on. It’s also recommended to take the ring off any time your hands are going to get wet. 


Almost any engagement ring can contain metals that turn your finger green. This is because most jewelry is made of metal alloys containing copper or nickel. These two metals are the primary culprits that cause oxidation and a green patina. Even expensive gold and silver jewelry can contain these metals and cause skin discoloration.

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