I have been making, wearing and selling copper bracelets since 1969. During this time people often asked: "Will this bracelet turn my wrist green?" My answer has been: "I don't know. We work with pure copper and its alloys, and we guarantee our craftsmanship for our lifetime, but the way a person reacts to copper doesn't depend on us. The only way we know to find out is by trying one on."
Most customers like to wear copper and do not care about having an occasional green stain under their bracelets. Other people are very health conscious and, as proof that the copper is working, they expect to see a green mark where copper touches the skin, the same marks that make others feel self-conscious. Ironically, the green copper stains seem to prefer the people who worry the most about getting them. The same bracelet which remains shiny for one person, will turn another person's wrist green, or may acquire multicolored patinas on another. Could these changes be related to a person's metabolism?
The answer is Yes! The green stains are caused by deposits of chelated copper and their presence relates directly to the body chemistry of the wearer. Chelated means they are copper compounds in a soluble form assimilable by our bodies. Copper in its pure metallic form cannot be taken in by our bodies, while chelated copper compounds are easily absorbed by our skin. They become visible when the wearer's body is dissolving the copper faster than it is absorbing it. This happens when there is profuse perspiration (as when exercising on a hot day), or when our sweat becomes more acidic. The acidity of our sweat increases with physical, emotional, or mental stress. It also increases with unhealthy diets.
Green marks are also believed to appear when the body is hungry for copper. The human body needs more minerals when growing, when pregnant, or when recovering from disease or surgery. A body starving for copper will even manage to dissolve the copper contained in gold alloys and leave marks under 14K gold rings. If you suspect having copper deficiency, please consult your holistic doctor, naturopath, or dietician, who by ordering a simple blood test will know the mineral supplements you need to regain balance. As prevention, choose to eat organically grown produce whenever possible.
The green stains are normally absorbed overnight and if needed they wash off with soapy water. If wearers strongly dislike the green marks, they have two choices. They can choose to address the causes and make healthier choices or simply ignore the warning and wear no more copper.
Whenever possible we teach our customers how to read the changes in their copper jewelry and how to maintain it by themselves.
It took me nearly 30 years of practical research and collecting data from around the world to better understand this complex copper/green wrist phenomenon. In September 1995, the International Association for New Science invited me to present my findings at their Annual Conference in Ft. Collins, CO.
But one of the most concise, and clever, remarks I've heard about this remains to be, "Copper, when in contact with the skin, forms chelates with human sweat (sometimes seen as a green deposit under the bracelet) and is thus absorbed through the skin. Think of a bracelet as a 'time-release' source of copper." by Dr. Ray Walker, Univ. of Newcastle, Australia.