My recently "antiqued" chainmail is coloring my skin.

by Wendy Thacker
(Santa Rosa, Ca)

I have been looking everywhere for the solution to this issue. I used stabilized liquid liver of sulfur from CoolTools to darken a bronze chainmail necklace. I neutralized the pieces in baking soda as instructed and rubbed a baking soda paste over the jewelry to take off some of the patina. I then washed it gently with mild soap and water and let it dry overnight. Today I wore the necklace for about 2 hours and now I have a slight blackish ring around my neck where the necklace sat. How can I prevent this from happening and still keep my piece the desired color?

Stacy's Answer: Hi Wendy. Adding a patina to the copper will not stop it from leaving a blackish or green mark on the wearer. This has to do with the body chemistry of the wearer and their reaction to the copper. The marks wash right off the skin. Baking soda neutralizes the patination process. A patina changes the surface color of the copper, but does not prevent the copper from coming into direct contact with the skin.

Acid levels in the skin, salt, perperation, chemical residue in clothes left from dry cleaners, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, etc. can affect the way metal oxidizes while you wear it. This sometimes causes a dark mark to form on clothing and skin. The only way to prevent it is to create a barrier between the wearer and the metal by applying a protective coating to the metal such as lacquer.

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