Daily Wire Tip June 7: Skin Response to Gold Filled Wire?

By on June 6, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 7, 2011


Hi Dale, I had so much fun at your cabochon link class up at Bead Fest Wire in PA this year! I was so happy to finally meet you in person and I really enjoyed your teaching. My bracelet turned out great! Here’s my question – I made a lovely prong ring for one of my coworkers out of the 14kt gold-filled wire that I purchased from Wire-Sculpture. She loves her ring, but every once in a while she says she has a funny little skin reaction: it turns her skin slightly green. She showed it to me the last time it happened, and I wondered if there is anything I can tell her to do to prevent that from happening? She swears she is wearing no lotions that could interact with it. I personally have NEVER had this reaction from the gold-filled wire and I wear a lot of it, so I have to believe it has something to do with her body chemistry but I’d love to get your take on this. Thanks so much!

-Gail in Woodbridge, Virginia


Hi Gail! I adore my Philly crowd of jewelry making friends and I am happy to hear that you love your new bracelet design!

14kt gold-filled wire jewelry is usually a great choice for folks who may have allergies to other metals, such as nickel and copper. Because you say your friend’s finger turns slightly green only occasionally, it may be that she wore it while working with a household chemical that caused the reaction; because there is no rash, this would not be considered an allergy to the metal.

It is also possible that she eats something, or takes a medication that increases her skin’s acidity. These would be products that contain chlorides and sulfites. Her skin secretions would cause the alloys in the 14kt gold to react to those acids. To help, please follow this link to the Institute for Traditional Medicine and scroll down to the heading Sulfites, where you will find a list of the most common foods that may contain sulfites; unfortunately, most of us eat a lot of these every day. A few of the most common foods that contain chlorides are tomatoes, olives, seaweed, and celery, with salt being the main source (both table and sea varieties). Although the human body needs both of these compounds to function normally, sometimes we all indulge in our favorite food, which could be the reason why your friend only sees this unfavorable reaction occasionally. I believe you are correct in your analysis, Gail.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I react to any gold content greater the 14k (my skin turns black on contact)…my husband’s comment on that was “Darn the bad luck and I was going to buy you that big 18k chain”…good thing he kept his day job..
    Sometimes I react to any gold when I have too much acid in my system…
    Gail, your friend is not alone and it shouldn’t keep her from wearing her beautiful ring..

  2. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 8:21 am


    Since this looks like it’s caused by body chemistry, and considering all the wonderful information Dale has provided, I would suggest using something to coat the ring in order to prevent it from happening again. I use Jewelry Shield quite often and I really like it.


  3. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Perhaps coating the inside of the ring with clear nail polish would keep the discoloration from happening. I used to do that with my college ring.

  4. avatar

    Pat Whitlow

    June 7, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Margaret has the right of it. There are some people that simply have to much acid in their body and it reacts badly to yellow gold of any kind. My daughter and I both can not wear yellow gold for this reason. It turns our skind black or so dark green it looks black. We can both wear white gold, Platinum and silver without any reaction at all, but the yellow gold simply acts badly with our skin.

  5. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I have been having this same problem with the gold filled wires I purchased, yet I never have this reaction when I wear my 14k gold items. Another jeweler recommended that I dip the item into Midas finish seal lacquer. I haven’t tried this yet. Can anyone comment, do you dip the finished piece, or the metal before you fabricate it?

    • avatar


      June 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      Gracelyn, several of the Faculty members and I do use the product you mentioned, (we coat our jewelry when it is finished as you really cannot just coat the wire before it is used); however again this is only a temporary solution. Please remember that when wearing 14k gold-filled wire, the metal that is actually touching your skin IS the same 14k gold that other, stamped 14k gold jewelry is made of.

  6. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I have also have had reactions to gold. I had a jeweler tell me that he had observed that sometimes when people are having an unusual amount of stress that they will have a reaction to gold. That was true at the time and since then I have not had any problem. The black washes off and doesn’t do seem to cause any harm.

    • avatar


      June 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      Stress? Makes sense Elizabeth – thanks!

  7. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Also check to make sure that there are no knicks in the wire or end cuts that might expose brass that’s inside the wire.

  8. avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Mine is where ever the metal touches my skin..mainly on the fingers next to my ring…or around my neck…while the coating is great for inside sometimes the body reacts to the whole surface…

  9. avatar


    June 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thank You for this information, I’ve had some people come to me and give wonderful comments but state “I cant wear any metal The acidity in my skin is terrible”. At that point I really didn’t know what to say. Untill now since I’ve discovered I can get Fine Silver Wire, which I’ve recommended recently, simultaneously informing them that silver is anti-bacterial and no copper.
    Thanks Again