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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/"patination" of gold ring


I recently bought this ring as gold/sapphire from a local dealer for 185GBP. On washing my hands with liquid soap the first time I wore it the gold immediately took on a blue patina, other gold rings I was wearing at the same time showed no ill affects. Can it really be gold. The dealer said that he thought it was hallmarked "Birmingham"
I would appreciate your comments.

Dear Eunice,

The page at this link will show the markings used in the UK for marking gold items. You will note the mark for the Birmingham office is an anchor. If the item was certified by another assay house in the UK it will bear the mark for that office as illustrated at the bottom of the web page. The other marks for gold qukality, etc., will remain the same.

I have doubts about it being gold.  The markings should match the requirements of UK as shown on the assay office page from the link.  Do the makings tell you it is gold? If so, try washing it with a gentle dish detergent and a rub with a soft cloth. Does the blue remain?  The blue coloration must somehow be related to the hand soap.  Even so, a gold item should not show a patina from contact with the soap.

Quite honestly, I cannot tell from what is told me if the item is truly gold or not. If possible, you should contact the seller and show them what happened to the ring and ask for an explanation.  Also, you may consider taking the ring to a jeweler for the metal to be tested for a fee. Because a gold ring should not go blue from hand washing, the primary consideration is having your purchase price refunded for return of the ring to the seller.  If gold, you should have no problems with patination simply from washing your hands in a normal hand soap and is not a situation you should have to deal with.

Eunice, without the ring in my hands for testing, there is precious little more I can say.  Please feel free to get back with me if need be.

God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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