Does Gold Plated Jewelry Rust?

Gold exists in the same precious category as diamond and platinum. Unfortunately, gold is about the most expensive metal or jewelry globally and sits higher than the budget of many who desire to have it. To certify this wish, many go for gold-plated or gold-coated jewelry, which looks exactly the color of gold. The question is, does gold plated jewelry rust?

Yes, Gold plated jewelry will eventually rust after some time, depending on the type of plating and the care given to the gold-plated jewelry. Gold is a precious and noble metal that everyone will love to have and keep for a longer period.

Also, Gold plating can corrode because sweat or other corrosive liquids can strip the gold layer off of the metal. However, the rusting process does not happen that fast compared to other metals like iron. Studies have shown that untreated gold-plated jewelry can last for more than three years without rusting.

In this article, you will find out different types of gold-plated jewelry, ways to protect your gold and prevent it from rust, and many more.

Why Gold Plated Jewelry May Rust?

If your jewelry is gold plated, it means that the jewelry or metal is not gold but is coated with the color or later of gold. The real jewelry or base metal or alloy might be silver, steel, copper or any other alloy. Such metals are usually of less value and cost than gold itself.

Why Gold Plated Jewelry May Rust

Now, you remember that gold is valued for the fact that it does not rust or tarnish. Even when the outer part happens to scratch in the process of usage, the color inner part maintains the same color and shine. Your gold plated jewelry can be rings, chains, anklets, waist beads or necklaces of different kinds and sizes.

With time, the outer layers of your gold plated jewelry will begin to wear off, exposing the base metal which was coated with gold. When not taken care of, the base metal will begin to tarnish, corrode and rust. This way the gold plated jewelry is distinguished from pure gold jewelry.

Types of Gold Plated Jewelry

Every gold plated Jewelry has a base metal. It could be silver, copper, iron, steel or any other alloy metal of strength. Even gold plated jewelry varies in value and price depending on the base metal and the type of plating. These differences in plating also go a long way to determining how soon the plating will wear off and then the base metal begins to experience rust.

Types of Gold Plated Jewelry

This is why it is necessary that you have knowledge of your type of gold plated jewelry before making purchases.

Gold Plated

Gold plated has the lightest of gold layers on your jewelry. The size of the gold layer on gold plated metal is usually about 0.05%. The base metal of gold plating is usually copper or brass. Since the gold layer of gold plated jewelry is light, it is the easiest to wear out and begin to experience rust.


The gold layer of gold plated vermeil jewelry is thicker than gold plated. Its base metal is usually Sterling silver and the thickness of its gold layer is between 1.0 (especially in Canada) to 2.5 (in the U.S) omicron. Vermeils have the capacity to last longer before wearing off due to their greater thickness.

Gold Filled

The gold filled jewelry is thicker than both gold plated and vermeils. It has about 5% of gold layer and usually has brass as its base metal. Due to its thickness, gold filled jewelry can last quite long before wearing off, and that is if at all it wears off. It is almost as durable as pure gold itself.

After the gold filled jewelry, the next is the solid gold.

What Will Make Your Gold Plated Jewelry Rust?

What Will Make Your Gold Plated Jewelry Rust

The following will make your gold plated jewelry to rust:

  • The Type of Base Metal Used: The material or base metal with which your gold plated jewelry is made goes a long way to determining how long it might take before it rusts, as well as the extent of the rust. Steel base metal for instance will tarnish and rust faster when corroded than silver or other stronger metals.
  • The Climatic Conditions: The prolonged weather conditions of where you live will equally contribute to the rust susceptibility of your gold plated jewelry. If the environment is full of moisture and vapor, then be sure that as soon as the golden layer wears off, tarnish and rust will easily attack the base metal of your jewelry.
  • Your Body Type: Your body PH type will equally impact how fast your gold plated Jewelry will wear off and begin to suffer rust. Some naturally have sweaty bodies, giving out salty sweats which accelerate the chemical process that leads to rust.

How To Prevent Gold Plated Jewelry From Rust?

Because your gold plated jewelry comes in different sizes and thickness, the process of preventing it from rusting will vary. For instance, while the care for gold plated will be higher due to its light gold layer, the vermeil and gold filled will withstand more shakes and still not wear off as easily as will gold plated.

How to Prevent Gold Plated Jewelry from Rust

So, while there might be some general rust preventive guides for gold plated Jewelry, you must know the kind of gold plated jewelry you have and how to go about its care. Below are general tips to guide your gold plated jewelry from rust.

  • Go for thicker gold plated layers such as vermeils and gold filled. They last longer and can withstand more pressure.
  • Do not engage in hard labor such as will lead to cracks while putting on your jewelry.
  • Store your gold plated jewelry in a cool dry place and avoid moisture around them.
  • Do not store your gold plated jewelry together in one container. They will crack when they continue robbing one another.
  • Clean your gold plated jewelry of dust after use and wash in warm non-bacterial and non-acidic detergent.


Gold plated jewelry can actually serve the same purpose as gold itself especially when well taken care of so that the golden shine remains. When won, no one will be able to tell whether it is pure gold or not. All you need to do is take good care of it.

However, with time, your gold plated jewelry will wear off and tarnish or rust. To save it from tarnish or rust, as soon as the gold plating wears off, you can simply go back to have it re-plated.

This way, your non-gold jewelry will forever remain golden.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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