Why a 14k or 18k gold ring turns your finger green or black?

When a 14k or 18k gold ring turns your finger green or black, it's usually due to a reaction between the metal and your skin or other external factors. Here are some reasons why this may happen:

1. **Alloy Composition:** Both 14k and 18k gold contain alloy metals, such as copper, silver, or nickel, which can react with the chemicals present on your skin. Copper, in particular, is known to cause a greenish discoloration. The higher the gold content (e.g., 18k), the less likely this reaction is to occur because there is less of the reactive alloy metal in the mix.

2. **Acidity and Chemicals:** Acidity levels in your skin can vary, and some people naturally have more acidic skin. This acidity, combined with exposure to chemicals like lotions, perfumes, or even household cleaning products, can expedite the oxidation process, leading to the discoloration of the ring and your skin.

3. **Sweat and Moisture:** Moisture and sweat on your skin can also contribute to the reaction between the alloy metals and your skin, accelerating the discoloration process.

4. **Nickel Allergy:** Some individuals are allergic to nickel, which is commonly used as an alloy in jewelry. An allergic reaction can lead to a black or green discoloration on the skin, and it's more common with 14k gold, which typically contains a higher percentage of alloy metals.

5. **Rhodium Plating Wearing Off:** Many white gold rings, both 14k and 18k, are plated with rhodium to give them a bright white appearance. Over time, this plating can wear off, revealing the yellowish gold underneath, which may also lead to discoloration.

6. **Improper Maintenance:** If the ring is not cleaned and maintained regularly, it can accumulate oils, dirt, and residues that can react with the metal and your skin.

To prevent this from happening, consider the following:

- Choose a higher-karat gold (e.g., 18k) with a higher gold content and fewer alloy metals.
- Opt for hypoallergenic metals like platinum if you have known metal allergies.
- Keep your ring clean and dry, and remove it before applying lotions or engaging in activities that may cause moisture and chemicals to accumulate on your skin.
- If your ring is rhodium-plated, consider re-plating it when the plating wears off.
- In some cases, you can use a clear nail polish on the inside of the ring to create a barrier between the metal and your skin.