Does GOLD Rust, Tarnish, or Corrode?

One of the biggest reasons why human beings have treasured gold is in large part due to the following fact.

Gold in it pure .999 fine form is one of only two other known metals (platinum and chromium) which are impervious to corrosion.

Fine gold bullion is inert and nonreactive to exposed air and other elements.

Unlike the fact that silver tarnishes over time, pure gold will not tarnish year after year even when exposed to open air in museums or houses of worship.

The precious element of gold is also molecularly impossible to destroy. Having been born from violent star explosions, virtually all the physical gold we humans have ever mined is still above ground and valued highly by humanity today.



Gold Tarnish? Gold Toning? - 22k Gold, 18k Gold, 14k Gold Alloys

Often both gold coins and gold jewelry items are alloyed with base metals or other precious metals. Partly done so to give less pure gold coins and or gold jewelry items more strength, resistance to warping, or potential breakage.

For example, the world’s most popular gold bullion coin is the US Mint’s 22k American Gold Eagle Coin. Each is guaranteed to contain the gold content stamped on the coin (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, or 1/10 troy ounce sizes). Yet each 22k Gold Eagle coins gets alloyed with an additional weight of copper and silver mixed into them.

The once most popular modern gold bullion coin, the 22k South African Krugerrand gold coin also has a guaranteed troy ounce weight in gold content, yet it has additional copper alloying to make the coin harder than other competing .999 gold coins produced by government mints.

Any non-pure gold coin over time will have toning or some slight luster tarnish given that popularly mixed alloy metals like copper and silver do this by their elemental nature. No gold gets destroyed in the toning or tarnish, and the reflection of impure gold coins will not fade as drastically as pure silver coins often do.

The same holds for any gold jewelry piece that does not get made with .999 fine gold purity. Often most gold jewelry pieces are not made with 24k gold since gold is very malleable and soft.

One can easily make dents in pure .999 gold bullion. Fine gold is so soft it can be hammered down to small thin layer humans can and do eat. Decadent often overpriced food dishes get sometimes served with inert gold flakes for silly people with more currency than perhaps common sense to consume.

Most fine gold jewelers suggest some lukewarm water, some Dawn dish soap, a few drops of ammonia, and a soft brush is all one needs to safely clean tarnish off of non-fine gold jewelry.

For tarnished 22k gold coins, it is best to not clean nor try to reverse any toning. Often gold coin toning or slight tarnishing increases the value of collectible, rare gold coins among the rare coin collecting community.

If you want to make sure you gold never tarnishes, rusts or corrodes, it is best to buy .999 fine gold bullion or 24k gold pieces for they will stay shiny by their very molecular nature. 

Thanks for visiting us here at SD Bullion.


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James Anderson
James Anderson
Senior Market Analyst & Content

A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.

Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades...