Necklace Turn Neck Green

Have you ever experienced the frustration of finding your favorite necklace has left a greenish stain on your neck? Or perhaps you have hesitated to buy that beautiful statement piece from the store, worried it would turn your skin an unsightly shade of green. 

This common problem affects many jewelry wearers and can be quite puzzling. Is it a cheap metal reacting with your skin's chemistry or something more serious? 

In this blog post, we will dive into the science behind why necklace turn neck green and explore possible solutions to prevent this irritating issue. So, if you've been wondering about this pesky problem or want to avoid it altogether, keep reading!

What Is Your Necklace Made Of?

To understand why your necklace might be turning your neck green, it's essential to know its composition. Common materials include:

  • Copper: Copper is a widely used metal in jewelry, especially in alloy form, due to its malleability and affordability. It is often combined with other metals to create various types of alloys used in different jewelry pieces.
  • Nickel: Nickel is a common element in many metal alloys used in jewelry manufacturing. It is appreciated for its shiny finish and corrosion-resistant properties.
  • Brass: Brass is an alloy comprised primarily of copper and zinc. It is frequently found in costume jewelry due to its versatile appearance and ease of production.
  • Gold-Plated: Gold-plated jewelry involves a base metal, such as copper or nickel, coated with a thin layer of gold. This gives the jewelry the appearance of solid gold at a more affordable price.
  • Sterling Silver: Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, often copper. This combination ensures both durability and a beautiful luster, making it a popular choice for fine jewelry.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is an alloy known for its strength and resistance to tarnishing and corrosion. Its durability and relatively low cost make it a preferred material for various types of jewelry.

Understanding the materials in your necklace is the first step in addressing and preventing those unwanted green marks on your skin.

Why Does Your Necklace Turn Neck Green?

When it comes to understanding why necklace turn neck green, the answer lies in the chemical reactions between the jewelry metals and your skin.

Oxidation is the primary culprit behind the greenish tint left on your skin by necklaces. When metals like copper come into contact with the moisture and acids in your skin, they begin to oxidize and form copper salts, which are green.

Sweat and skin oils can exacerbate this oxidation process. When these natural skin elements mix with the metal ions, it increases the likelihood of your skin developing a green tint.

Nickel, a common metal in jewelry, can also contribute to skin discoloration. When nickel oxidizes, it can leave a similarly unwanted green mark on your skin, though it's also known for causing allergic reactions in some people.

Even gold-plated jewelry is not immune to this issue. After the thin gold layer wears off, the base metals like copper or nickel underneath can start to oxidize, resulting in a green stain.

Sterling silver, although less likely, can still cause green stains under certain circumstances. The copper content in sterling silver can oxidize, especially in humid conditions, leading to discolored skin.

Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is another common culprit. Due to its high copper content, it easily oxidizes when exposed to air, moisture, and skin oils, leaving a noticeable green mark.

Stainless steel typically resists tarnishing and corrosion but can still occasionally cause discoloration. When mixed with excessive moisture or certain skin types, even this durable metal can lead to a greenish tint.

Understanding these chemical reactions helps in identifying the cause and finding suitable solutions to prevent your necklaces from turning your neck green.

Is My Necklace Fake If It Has Green Stains?

A green stain on your neck does not necessarily indicate that your necklace is fake.

Many authentic and high-quality jewelry pieces contain metals such as copper, nickel, and brass, which are prone to oxidization and can cause green discoloration. For example, even sterling silver, genuine gold-plated items, and brass jewelry can leave green marks due to the oxidation of their metal components when they come into contact with moisture and skin oils.

Therefore, the presence of green stains is more about the metal composition and chemical reactions than the authenticity of the piece.

However, it's also essential to consider the quality of the jewelry. Lower-quality costume jewelry tends to use cheaper metals and less durable coatings, which may increase the likelihood of discoloration and skin reactions. In contrast, higher-quality pieces usually have better metal compositions and thicker plating, reducing the chances of oxidation.

Although green stains can appear on both genuine and imitation jewelry, evaluating the overall build quality and materials used can provide better insights into the authenticity and value of your necklace.

Can I Still Wear My Necklace If It Has Caused Neck Discoloration Before?

Yes, you can still wear your necklace even if it has caused neck discoloration before.

Discoloration is primarily a cosmetic issue and does not indicate that the jewelry is harmful or unsafe to wear. If the green stains do not bother you, there's no need to stop wearing your necklace.

Just be aware that the discoloration might occur again due to the chemical reactions between the metals and your skin.

Does The Green Go Away? 

The answer is yes; the green discoloration caused by jewelry does go away.

As noted, the green tint on your skin results from an oxidation reaction between the metals in the jewelry and your skin's moisture and oils. This greenish residue is a physical substance that can be wiped off, although it might sometimes be stubborn.

Remember, the green coloration is temporary and harmless, and with proper skin care, you can easily manage or prevent it.

What To Do When Your Necklace Turns Neck Green?

When your necklace leaves a green mark on your neck, there are several strategies you can implement to prevent this issue and continue enjoying your jewelry.

  • Select High-Quality Materials

Choosing necklaces made of high-quality materials can significantly reduce the chances of green discoloration. Opt for jewelry made from stainless steel, solid gold, platinum, or titanium, as these metals are less reactive and more resistant to oxidation. Avoid cheaper alloys that contain higher amounts of copper or nickel, which are more prone to causing skin discoloration.

  • Keep Your Necklace Dry

Moisture is a key factor in the oxidation process, so keeping your necklace dry can help prevent green stains. Take off your jewelry before taking a shower, swimming, or participating in activities that may lead to heavy sweating. Keep your necklace in a dry location when not in use to reduce exposure to moisture.

  • Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

Regularly cleaning both your jewelry and your skin can also help in reducing the likelihood of discoloration. Clean your necklace with a jewelry cleaner designed for its specific material to remove any oils, sweat, or other residues. Additionally, make sure your skin is clean and dry before putting on your necklace to reduce the interaction between skin moisture and the metal.

  • Create A Protective Barrier

A good technique is to apply a light layer of clear nail polish or jewelry sealant to the areas of the necklace that touch your skin. This layer acts as a barrier, minimizing the chemical reaction between the metal and the moisture from your skin. Be sure to reapply the protective coating as necessary, especially after cleaning the jewelry.

  • Regularly Clean Your Jewelry

Regular cleaning of your jewelry is essential to maintain its appearance and reduce the risk of green stains. Use a jeweler's cloth or a mild soap solution to gently wipe away any residues of sweat, oil, and other contaminants that may have accumulated.

If your necklace features precious stones or intricate designs, consider using a soft brush to reach the difficult areas. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the jewelry.

  • Rotate Your Jewelry Collection

Rotating your jewelry collection can effectively reduce wear and tear on individual pieces and give your skin a break from constant exposure to the same metals. By alternating between different necklaces, you allow time for previously worn pieces to be cleaned and stored properly, mitigating the risk of frequent discoloration and skin irritation.

  • Check For Metal Allergies

While green stains on your neck are usually harmless, it’s crucial to check for any potential metal allergies that can cause more severe reactions, such as itching, redness, or rashes. Nickel allergies are particularly common, so if you notice persistent irritation, it may be wise to avoid nickel-containing jewelry.

Consulting a dermatologist can also provide valuable insights into your specific sensitivities and recommend suitable materials for your skin type.


In conclusion, experiencing a necklace turn neck green is a common and mostly harmless issue caused by the oxidation of metals like copper.

To mitigate this, you can choose high-quality materials, keep your necklace dry, maintain good hygiene, and apply protective barriers. Regular cleaning, rotating your jewelry, and checking for metal allergies can further prevent skin discoloration and irritation.

By taking these steps, you can continue to enjoy wearing your favorite necklaces without worrying about the green stains. Remember, while inconvenient, green skin is temporary and easily managed with proper care.