Ask Amory: Got the Green Thumb? (and we don't mean gardening)

Why our skin sometimes turns green after wearing jewelry. Does this ever happen to you? Yeah? Yuck. I'm sorry. I bet you wonder, "Is it me? Is it the jewelry? What is going on?!?" Worry not. We have the answer! Let's indulge, shall we?

Barrie: Amory, why does our skin sometimes turn green after wearing jewelry?

Amory: "Quick response: chemistry. The green layer is the result of an oxidation reaction with the copper in jewelry, resulting in the creation of copper sulfate, carbonate and chloride salts (picture a green statue or roof of a building...same reaction... ). The reaction will vary with each individual's body chemistry and environmental factors. So is copper bad? Not at's got a lot of anti going on: antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial. It's even been used as an ancient healing remedy, and there is some connection to copper bracelets reducing or helping with Arthritic and Rheumatic diseases."

Barrie: Rumors say that it's because of "cheap" material. Is this true?

Amory: "I'd say it depends on your definition of 'cheap'...even gold and silver jewelry can make your skin turn. More affordable jewelry tends to have a higher copper content, so the potential for the green reaction is a bit more present. Nickel is also used in some cheap jewelry, and can cause skin irritation of the red-itchy-uncomfortable-kind, but don't worry, betsy & iya is nickel-free, yay! If ya really wanna play it safe from any chance of skin change, there's always platinum..."

Barrie: Is there anything we can do to prevent it?

Amory: "Absolutely! The best thing you can do is keep your jewelry clean; a quick wipe with a clean soft cloth before wear or after wear is an easy way to keep the green away. I'd also recommend refraining from hydro-intensive no swimming, hot tubing, ultra marathon running...and if it's a SUPER hot, humid day, you may consider wearing your fave piece for a lil less time (hard, right!?)."

Fascinating, Amory! Thank you for your words of wisdom. Do you guys have any other questions about jewelry, materials, or how to make a mean kale salad? Amory will give you the 101! Go ahead and ask us your questions and Amory will get back to you as soon as she can! (But patience is encouraged because she's got a lot of wholesale orders to fill...) Now that you've had your mind blown, go ahead and enjoy your Friday and weekend. Bye, y'all!



About Amory, jewelry maker extraordinaire, the most organized production manager you'll ever meet, human dictionary, avid kale eater: Amory always seems to have the answer to any question I ask. Even when I quietly ask myself a question it's heard from a far by her hawk-like hearing. The question is then processed through the extensive database/matrix that is Amory's mind, and she's able to answer before I've even finished asking the question. She's that good. We're thrilled to share her knowledge with the blogging world of betsy & iya.

***Song of the moment: California Stars, by Billy Bragg & Wilco***

Group 7