I am starting my new small business making women’s handmade jewelry, but I am facing a small problem and it’s affecting my satisfaction to the end result.

The METAL CHAINS, some are gold plates which are the worst – They change their color the easiest.

The nickel plated chain is much better but during summer with the sweat they turn black.

I have no idea how to deal with these products. I need chains that are not affected with hot weather or with sweat!!

Do you have any idea about better chains I can get?

Or different chain?

Actually I heard about nickel-free jewelry, want to know more about it!!!!

Thank you for your help


Chain Chain Chain…

Color Changing metal is a battle for anyone using a plated or metal that can tarnish.

If you have a customer who sweats a lot or uses a lot of perfume, you might want to suggest to them that they should rise off their jewelry and pat dry before storing the jewelry away. This will help the chain from changing color and gunk from building up in the links.

If you have a lot of gold and silver plate, you might consider changing the patina or blackening the chain to change the color. Then you won’t have to worry- you darkened it yourself! You can useĀ , or a blackening agent from a jeweler’s supply.

If you are looking for another kind of chain with a lower price point, you might consider getting anodized aluminum chain which comes in different colors. Anodized aluminum is a rather soft metal and can easily scratch, but does not lose it’s color.

Rhodium plated chains are hypo allergenic and look a lot like silver, but shinier. These might be more expensive though and harder to find.

Brass and Copper chain are also inexpensive and can give an antique look to your pieces.

Sterling silver can tarnish, but most people know that. Look

for thinner/flatter/longer links that are lighter in weight than thick/heavy links. This will save you a bit of money since silver chain is usually sold by weight.

Keep it simple since chain price is also affected by how intricate the shapes are.

Tell customers to use a little bit of (baking soda) toothpaste to brighten up the silver if it starts to tarnish. Baking soda acts as a neutralizer and can be used with water to make a paste to clean as well.

Another alternative for silver polishing is to give your customers a small piece of “sunshine polishing cloth” to brighten up their purchase, or sell them one as an extra.

I like the idea of buying some polishing cloths, then cutting them up and giving the small piece nicely wrapped with instructions, making sure they know it’s a bonus gift.

Gold is nice because it does not tarnish. Gold Filled chain is comprised of 14 kt gold on top of a base metal. Gold fill is thicker than gold plate so is not likely to wear off. It is a nice alternative to gold which is more expensive.

I noticed the vermeil comment above. The reason vermeil darkens is because vermeil is sterling silver covered in gold. Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% silver and the remaining is a harder base metal that strengthens the soft silver. The base metal mixed with the silver is usually copper, which oxidizes easily. That’s why sterling silver tarnishes. The vermeil therefore darkens because the underlying sterling is oxidizing.

Don’t want your gold to darken? Use gold fill or gold plate rather than vermeil.

If your customer is allergic to metals, they can try painting 4-5 coats of clear nail polish over the metal that touches their skin. This may not be a good idea for the chain though.

Can you add to this answer? Would you like to comment? Share your thoughts by clicking on the “comments” link below

Comments for Metal Chains That Change Their Color?

Average RatingĀ starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

StudioJewel to the rescue!
by: lisa lehmannGold vermeil chains are the WORST! you need to use a light grit sand paper or a tumbler to get them clean. sweat and perfume will ruin them!!!

best bet sterling…and wipe it with a Sunshine cloth when your done wearing it for the day. or get some pink color sandpaper from RioGrande and use it to get off the yucky color.

just a suggestion! good luck!

The Future Trick
by: Alastar DragonflyI have found that this works:

Dip sterling, fine silver, and even some silver plate(clean piece extremely well beforehand) in Future brand floor wax and swirl it around to coat everything well.

Hang it up to dry and it leaves an acrylic coating on the piece that lasts for a good long time. How long depends on frequency of wear and what you do while wearing it(swim, bathe, sweat a lot, etc).

It is perfectly clear when dry and is almost impossible to crack or chip. I do this to my personal jewelry like twice a year and i wear it all the time. I have been wearing the same sterling rope chain for going on 20 years and I have never had it tarnish or even look dark.

The acrylic seals out the air and if you have no air, you can have no oxidation. It sounds silly but it works. And works well on top of that. ;o)


About the Author

Christine Gierer

I'm Christine Gierer and I'm obsessed with making jewelry and teaching others how to do it too. I've been a creative person all my life, and I've done all kinds of things like art, sociology, and counseling. But nothing makes me happier than playing with beads, wires, and tools and sharing my tips and tricks with you. I have two awesome websites where you can find tons of tutorials, courses, and workshops on how to make jewelry and how to sell it online.

View All Articles