Why Gold Rings Can Mark Your Finger

Gold rings can discolor your finger for a variety of reasons.

The most common reason your finger gets discolored when wearing a gold ring is ‘metallic abrasion’. This is caused by makeup, or other cosmetics, on the skin. Cosmetics contain compounds that are harder than the gold (remember gold is soft). So the makeup will rub off very tiny particles of the metal. Very small particles of metal appear black in color rather than metallic, so it looks like black dust. When this dust comes in contact with surfaces that are absorbent, such as your skin or clothing, this dust sticks and forms a black smudge.

Corrosion of the alloys mixed with gold in the ring is another reason that can result in dark chemical compounds forming under moist conditions. Chlorine in pools and spas can also cause corrosion, so it's advisable to remove rings when using these facilities.

Additionally, skin acidity and allergies to metals in the gold alloy, such as nickel or copper, can also cause discoloration. Skin acidity is often a result of eating very acidic foods, or eating them with high frequency (i.e. drinking a lot of coffee).

To prevent yellow gold rings from leaving black marks on your finger, you can clean them regularly with a mild soap and warm water. It's also recommended to remove jewelry while applying cosmetics, using soap, cleaning compounds, and detergents. Absorbent powder can be used on fingers or any part of the skin that has jewelry to reduce sweating.