Why does some jewelry tarnish or oxidize? | PLUM Jewelry

Why does some jewelry tarnish or oxidize?

Have you ever worn a ring for a few days and found yourself with a green discoloration on your finger? It is far from a great experience! 

Like most things, gold bracelets, silver necklaces, and diamond rings are subject to wear and tear through usage. It hurts, but it’s true–no matter how much you take care of your prized embellishments, their luster is bound to diminish over time. And their natural enemy: tarnishing. 

So, why oh why does jewelry tarnish?

Environmental factors such as pollution and humidity can play a part in tarnishing jewelry. Depending on which metals you have in your jewelry, some pieces can be more sensitive to natural elements than others. For example, some jewelry undergo oxidation when exposed to oxygen. Yes, even the air we breathe can cause them to tarnish, and needless to say, that’s quite a challenge to avoid. If your jewelry has copper, it would certainly react to things such as saltwater, citrus fruits, and even sulfur.


If you often wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, prepare meals, or take a swim while wearing jewelry, then you’re exposing it to substances that may cause its surface to react and darken. 

Cosmetic products

Beauty products such as lotion, hair spray, perfume, and nail polish remover can also cause jewelry to discolor. Even hand sanitizer can tarnish metals because of its high alcohol content.

Body chemistry

Some people might ask: why does my skin tarnish jewelry? Body chemistry is one of the trickier factors to identify and control, as every person’s pH balance is different. Your jewelry is at a higher risk of tarnishing if you enjoy drinking and eating acidic foods, such as wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomatoes, oranges, vinegar, pickles, etc. Prescription drugs like anti-depressants, some antibiotics, and even multivitamins can alter an individual’s body chemistry. Menopausal women also undergo hormonal changes and body adjustments that can cause jewelry to oxidize quicker.

Cleaning products and chemicals

Metals in jewelry will likely react if it has direct contact with strong chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, acid, alcohol, chlorine, etc.

Skin moisture

An individual’s metabolic or physiological state can cause the body to produce excess moisture and sweat, even without physical activity. Moist skin can significantly influence how quick jewelry tarnishes.

THE GOOD NEWS: All Plum jewelries do not tarnish or oxidize. They will keep their natural beauty as long as you do!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.