Top 10 reasons why silver darkens and blackens on the human body: scientific and esoteric explanation of blackening, ways to clean and protect the metal from oxidation

Color change The fact that there is a scientific basis for such a process, however, is not the same as the scientific basis for it. But there is also a scientific justification of this process. And there are several reasons to explain why The silver is blackening. To maintain the appeal of a precious metal piece, you need to learn more about each one.

Silver applications in the jewelry industry

The advantage of silver is its ease of processing. It is characterized by plasticity and softness. Thanks to it, it is possible to make a variety of products and create coatings. Peculiarities of application of the precious metal:

  • wide assortment silver jewelry: They make rings, bracelets, earrings, chains, church and decorative crosses, the variety of models of jewelry due to the fact that this metal is easy to work with, you can give a variety of shapes to improve the properties of pure Ag, the composition is introduced ligatures - additives that increase the hardness, thus increasing the life of jewelry;
  • impurities and alloys: silver is part of many alloys, it is used for various purposes, such as changing the properties of platinum group metals, gold, modifying the composition to obtain a lighter shade of material;
  • a popular assay: most often several groups of jewelry are produced (875, 925 и 960 samples), this means that 1000 g of the alloy contains a substantial fraction of Ag (87.5%, 92.5% or 96%), the rest being in the ligature, the less additives, the higher appreciated jewelry, among the existing products are especially in demand 925 proof.
925 sterling silver
Popular 925 sterling silver

Engagement rings are often made of a popular metal (925), it is characterized by moderate hardness, but with frequent wear it is necessary to periodically restore the product, because the surface is damaged (alloy with low content of ligatures), it is necessary to ensure regular care of jewelry.

Top 3 reasons why silver darkens

There are many factors that contribute to the discoloration of Ag, but they all have the same reasoning. To understand why silver turns black on the human body or in use, you need to know more about the properties of the metal itself. For example, pure Ag is a soft metal, which makes it impossible to make even simple jewelry from it. For this reason, an alloy based on it is used to improve the characteristics of finished products.

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Such changes contribute to the development of Chemicals reactions during the exploitation of the jewelry. However, pure Ag practically does not interact with the environment, at least the small changes that may occur remain unnoticed for a long time. The main causes contributing to the darkening of the metal are:

  • composition: among the ligatures copper is more popular, because it allows you to get the material with suitable properties, but the metal is actively interacting with other substances, as a result, in the air (because of exhaust gases), in water, other environments silver oxidizes, which promotes the formation of patina - a film of darker color;
  • Human: silver blackening is a consequence of the impact of substances contained in the environment on the alloy ligature, a common cause is the content in the biological fluids of the human body of special components that can react with copper, so blackening is most often found on those products that are in constant contact with the skin;
  • exploitation: the physical impact on silverware can contribute to color changes in the future, because in the areas where scratches appeared, there is no natural protective coating, the metal begins to actively oxidize, which is accompanied by a change in color, a partial loss of metal properties in this place.
Silver Jewelry
Silver Jewelry

Sterling Silver - alloy containing 92.5% or more of silver, it has a higher resistance to external factors than the metal 875 proofThis means that products made of this material last longer, and without a change in color.

8 scientific physical and chemical explanations - why silver blackens on the human body, whether it is a cross or a chain around the neck

If the skin turns black from silver, there are internal reasons for this, which may indicate disorders in various systems of the body. So, this correlation allows you to prevent the development of the disease.

Human sweat

There are many components in the sweat that the human body excretes:

  • acids;
  • phosphates;
  • sodium chloride;
  • urea;
  • amino acids;
  • products of mineral metabolism;
  • sulfuric acid compounds;
  • ammonia, etc.

Such compounds interact with the silver ligature in different ways. But the main danger is the sulfuric acid substance. When sweat gets on the jewelry, a reaction from the field of chemistry occurs: a compound is formed that destroys the structure of the metal, the jewelry first acquires a yellow hue, later begins to darken.

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Under normal conditions, this process develops moderately. The amount of sweat increases due to natural causes (sports, physical activity). However, it happens that such a sign as increased sweating is sometimes also a consequence of disorders in the body.

Blackening of silver
Blackened chain with a cross

Hormonal changes

When the production of certain hormones is increased/decreased, the organs and systems that depend on them are disturbed. As a consequence, there is a more intense secretion of sweat, its composition changes, the proportion of sulfuric acid compounds and other components affecting the material on contact may increase. This phenomenon is most often corrected, but sometimes there are pathological changes that cannot be eliminated.

Stress, overexcitation

There are a number of changes that occur that cause silver to turn black. This is usually caused by a change in the sebaceous glands. As a result, the intensity of sweating increases. Such drastic changes in the functioning of systems, organs can only mean one thing - the jewelry immediately begins to darken. The blackened items come into contact with the skin for a long or short period. The duration does not matter, the result is the same - the formation of patina, because against the background of stress there is a sharp surge of hormones.

Diseases of internal organs

Diseases develop due to the development of pathological processes that can affect the composition of sweat, the intensity of sebum secretion. In addition, darkened silver is a common consequence of treatment (taking certain drugs). In this case, too, the composition of the sweat changes. But the silver cannot turn black all of a sudden. This phenomenon becomes apparent after some time, because there is a cumulative effect, when the components contained in the drugs accumulate in the body.

Nervous disorders

Disruption of the central nervous system often indicates more serious problems in the brain. This results in the production of substances that oxidize the silver alloy. If you do not get rid of the causes that provoke such consequences, you will have to deal with them regularly in the future.

Silver chain with blackening
Tarnished silver

External Environment

When the metal is affected by compounds contained outside - outside the human body, in the environment that surrounds it, the same factor (silver alloy ligature) is the cause. However, in doing so, the product comes into contact with other substances, which means, Response on the products may be different: the nature of the film and its color are different.

Chlorinated water

Sometimes just taking a shower or washing your face with water causes the silver to turn sharply black. This happens when the chlorine content is high. Often, regular water procedures are compatible with wearing earrings, a necklace or a ring. People only notice the oxidized metal after a while. The reason is the water containing chlorine (sometimes it is excess iron or another element). And silver interacts with this component.

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Air humidity

In contact with air, silver sulfide is formed. It is distinguished by its black color. This is just the plaque that can be seen when the alloy is oxidized. It is formed due to interaction with hydrogen sulfide, which is in the air.

Causes of blackening from the field of esotericism

If silver is blackened, many people tend to see something otherworldly in it. It is believed that such changes can appear only under certain circumstances:

  • The owner of the jewelry was subjected to spoilage, the evil eye;
  • blackened silver is a sign of impending trouble, failure, and illness;
  • The owner of the jewelry, which has darkened, has a black aura as a result of evil deeds created.

Note: Silver darkens because of changes that occur in the body. It has nothing to do with magic. Priests unanimously declare that such beliefs have one justification: superstition, which is a sin.

Causes of blackening from the field of esotericism
Blackened silver jewelry

Scary omens

If it's blackened silver chain or other jewelry, it is associated with various events. Omen from the field of esotericism:

  • The blackening of a child's cross is an attempt by evil forces to take possession of his soul;
  • The darkening of a man's jewelry is a consequence of a ritual that condemns him to an idle life;
  • The change in the color of jewelry of an unmarried woman or girl means that she bears a vow of celibacy;
  • silverware darkens - a sign of dark spirits in a person's home.

Ways to protect silver from blackening

 Today, uncoated silver items are rarely used. Rhodium-plated, gold-plated items are gaining in popularity, as well as jewelry with an oxide film (obtained by oxidizing) and rings, bracelets with niello. All of these varieties last much longer than uncoated silver without additional care.

Radium is a misnomer for silver jewelry. Radium is a radioactive metal that cannot be used to coat jewelry. This definition appeared in the erroneous formation of a search query on the Internet, the correct version is rhodium-plated silver.

There are other methods to protect jewelry:

  • Boiling silver in acid: to prevent the ligature from reacting with substances in the environment, it is necessary to reduce its amount, in the manufacture of jewelry this is impossible because of the deterioration of metal properties, so use a partial reduction of copper, immerse the product in acid (hydrochloric or sulfuric), after which the percentage of Cu in the surface layer of the silver alloy becomes less, the metal does not darken;
  • electroplating: a universal method that involves passing an electric current through a bath with a solution of salts containing silver, resulting in the deposition of molecules of one metal on another, this method is often used to cover jewelry, cutlery, and use pure silver to create a protective layer;
  • Rhodium plating: increases the hardness of silver, products better resist the effects of negative factors, in addition, rhodium prevents the darkening of silver, but this coating requires periodic restoration, as it wears thin with wear;
  • Gilding: performed by the method of electroplating, the thickness of the layer that covers, silver, is 1-2 microns, gilding tends to fade, so you need to ensure maintenance of the product, but there is no need to do regular cleaning, the disadvantages of this method include increasing the cost of jewelry, as well as the gradual thinning of coverage;
  • varnish treatment: the method allows to keep silver white for a long time, but after a layer of varnish is applied, the product is out of service, the jewelry cannot be worn and the silverware should not be used for its intended purpose; varnish coating is used to keep an object for a long time (for example, antiques);
  • wax protection: a thin layer of material prevents the penetration of air, this option is used only for one purpose - to provide conditions for long-term storage of products, as oxygen has a destructive effect on the metal (provokes oxidation).
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Cleaning silver in acid
Cleaning a silver chain

Rules of storage and care of silver

If you occasionally blacken silver on the body or in use (cutlery), you need to follow simple rules to keep things in pristine condition for a long time:

  • For storage, use caskets with velvet linings inside or cases of the same material;
  • To avoid the darkening of your finger, ear, or neck while wearing jewelry, you should remove all jewelry before going to the gym, going for a jog, or engaging in other active activities;
  • Do not apply body cream before putting on a chain, bracelets or rings;
  • You can't wash dishes with your hands without removing jewelry;
  • If yellowing occurs, silver jewelry should be cleaned immediately, and at least once a month it should be washed in a solution containing soap;
  • They take their jewelry off at night, too.

Subject: Q&A

Why is the silver chain around a man's neck blackened?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
The breast area has the most sebaceous glands. This explains why it is here that the silver on the body darkens most often. Under the influence of biological fluids (sebaceous gland secretion, sweat), the color of silver changes. If such effects have been observed since day one, then this is a natural reaction of the body. In this case, the body will always secrete as much secret and in the same composition. All the owner of the jewelry can do is once again clean the chain or replace the product with another one (made of gold, platinum, etc.).

Why is the silver ring on a girl's finger blackened? What to do?

[expert_bq id=11499]If such changes occur for the first time, after a long period of wear, then you need to look for the cause to eliminate it. Then the silver will stop darkening. But in the meantime you should clean the product from the blackness. If the negative factors affecting the color of the ring are not eliminated, it will become darker and darker every day.

Why does silver make my skin turn black?

Opinion of an expert
Andrey Seleznev
Chemical-technologist of the plant "Krasny Oktyabr" Volgograd
Ag in its pure form does not oxidize. But jewelry is not made of such metal. Modern jewelry is made of an alloy, most of which is Ag, the rest being a ligature (most often copper). Due to such additives, the color of silver items changes, and if exposed to negative factors, a blackish appearance appears.
Read also
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What kind of silver does not turn black?

[expert_bq id=43]There is only one kind of metal that does not change its original properties. This is sterling silver. In other cases, even after 1 day of wear, the ears, fingers and neck may darken, because the jewelry is made from another material - an alloy that includes additives that can oxidize in the air and under the influence of various chemicals. But it is noticed that the 925 and 950 proofs darken much slower than the 875 proof.
Golden Tree Wedding Rings
Silver Engagement Rings

Is the blackening of silver a physical or chemical phenomenon?

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
Considering that darkening of Ag does not change the shape or aggregate state of the object, we cannot say that this is a physical phenomenon. Rusting, patination, and blackening of metal are all chemical reactions.

Why does silver oxidize on the body and not in water or air?

Opinion of an expert
Andrey Seleznev
Chemical-technologist of the plant "Krasny Oktyabr" Volgograd
When products are constantly in use, silver comes into contact with the skin over a long period of time. In this case, the concentration of corrosive substances is higher than in water and air. In addition, jewelry usually does not stay long in water, and the composition of the air is constantly changing (depending on wind direction, terrain, car exhausts, etc.).

Why do silver earrings go dark in my ears, is it because of poor care?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
На протяжении дня на коже скапливается достаточно много секрета сальных и потовых желез. Если потемнело серебро на теле у взрослого, причина чаще всего заключается не в плохом уходе, а в особой химической реакции лигатуры, содержащейся в сплаве, с окружающей средой. Но если драгоценности долгое время не очищаются, не полируются, то со временем они потемнеют, даже если минимизировать вредное влияние со стороны.
Silver earrings darken in the ears
Silver Earrings

Why does the "Save & Protect" ring turn black on my finger? Can I wear the same gold ring?

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
Jewelry with the inscription "Save and Preserve" for the believer is a symbol of the protection of the Almighty, his patronage. Esotericists believe that its blackening is a sign of an attempt to put a spell on a person, and the change of color means that it has failed. If the silver ring "Save and Preserve" is blackened, you can buy a product made of gold. Perhaps this metal will not interact with a person's skin.

How to get rid of blackness

You should not wear darkened jewelry, it has partially lost its decorative properties. It is necessary to use special or folk methods to restore silver.

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Cleaning with toothpaste

It is better to use gel baby paste for this purpose. It does not contain substances that have an aggressive effect on the metal, does not scratch it, because the composition does not include abrasive particles. The gel is applied to the woven material, begin polishing. The duration of the procedure depends on the degree of contamination. You can leave the paste for some time, and then rinse the product. To remove the remains of the cleaning agent, use an old toothbrush.

Cleaning with toothpaste
Cleaning a silver ring with toothpaste

Recipe with ammonia

Silver becomes white again, returning to its original luster after soaking. Prepare a solution based on ammonia, for which you will need:

  • 1 tbsp. ammonia;
  • 500 ml of water;
  • glass/plastic container.


  1. Ammonia is mixed with water.
  2. Soak the jewelry for half an hour.
  3. Rinse under the tap.

GOI paste

There are 4 types of tools: for rough, medium, fine and finish sanding. You can remove the patina using any of the options, the choice depends on the degree of damage to the metal. Most often it is enough to buy means #1 and #2, they contain the smallest particles. To clean the silver, you need to apply a small amount of paste on a rag, polish until the appearance of the items will not improve. Sometimes it takes a long time (if the surface has deep scratches), so you must have patience.

Video: Why Silver Turns Black on the Body

Jeweler's comment

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
I have seen many pieces with patina in different shades, from pale gray to deep black. It is difficult to influence this process, especially if the owner of the jewelry has already followed all the recommendations concerning the storage and use of silver. It is possible to take care of it every day and remove the first symptoms, i.e. the yellowing.

However, too intensive care is also detrimental to the products of this type. The protective coating wears off, the metal itself is soft, and also changes its shape. In such cases, I recommend that you change your jewelry. As a rule, gold and platinum are suitable for those who cannot wear silver. It is important to study the composition of the new jewelry; if it contains a lot of copper, the situation with blackening can happen again.
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