Why is Rose Gold Plating Funky? Could it be the Copper?

Melia’s Spotty Rose Gold Plating

rose gold plating

Rose gold Plated Chains. It May be a Fine Layer, but They Look Real.

Melia bought a discolored rose gold plated pendant at a sale. She figured she’d just polish it up. She tried various silver and copper polishes and only succeeded in pulling most of the rose plating off and leaving it splotchy looking. Melia was not happy.

I got the call, “can you re-plate my rose gold plated pendant?”

Me: “Most likely. It is problematic however.”

Melia: “How come?”

Me: “To create the rose gold plating solution, a lot of copper is used, just like in the creation of rose gold itself. And copper has problems.”

Melia: “Like darkening?”

Me: “Yup.”

Melia: “You should see it after I cleaned and polished it with copper cleaner.”

Pure Copper with No Tarnish – Wikimedia

Me: “Pretty bad?”

Melia: “Superbad. So if I have you plate it can you do it super deep so it’ll last longer and not turn dark?”

Me: “Not really. I mean I can rose gold plate your pendant, but rose gold plating wears off faster than yellow gold plating or rhodium white plating. And if rose gold plating is exposed to certain chemicals it can darken. Usually just in a spot here or there, making it look especially bad.”

Melia: “Wow you’re really sellin’ it.”

Me: “It’s my superpower.”

Melia: “I just want something to wear everyday that is rose gold. What would make it look nice?”

Various Tarnish Looks of Copper. Wikimedia

Me: “Some people who make costume jewelry and rose gold plate it also put on what they call an e-coat, which supposedly creates a barrier protecting the plating longer. I don’t offer that service.”

Melia: “So my friend Anita has a rose gold plated Michael Kors watch she’s had for a while and it’s gotten dark on the back. It does not look good. Do you think it is e-coated?”

Me: “Good chance of it.”

Melia: “How about you rose gold plate my pendant and we’ll just see how long the plating lasts?”

Me: “I can do that!”

milgrain engraving

One Year Later

We ended up plating her pendant with white rhodium and it’s looking great.

Melia had me design a rose gold ring in 14kt karat. She’s loving it and the rose gold is behaving quite well, now that it’s not plated rose gold.

Your Personal Jeweler,

About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.


  1. Alice on March 14, 2018 at 3:10 am

    I love the Rose platted chain with the information . Copper is so much useful in the creation of this gold chain.

    • Calla Gold on March 17, 2018 at 7:45 am

      Hi Alice,
      Those rose gold plated chains did come out nicely! Let’s see how long it holds.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  2. Sara M on April 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Hello! I recieved a beautiful engagement ring from my fiance that rose gold rhodium plating over sterling silver with artificial diamond stones. After 1 night of wear, the rose gold color was coming off leaving the sterling. I love the ring dearly and don’t want to part with it, so I am wondering if the rose gold color cam be restored or just removed to be left with the silver? I’d be happy to send pictures to see what you think our options are!

    • Calla Gold on April 20, 2018 at 6:02 am

      Hello Sara,
      Even if you re-plate it it’ll probably happen again. I’m guessing your best option is to remove the plating and wear it as just silver.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

      • Erica on October 8, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        I too have a rose gold plated ring with moissanite stones. I love the design and my stone. I want to get it remade in the same design but with real 14k rose gold metal. Would that be possible?

        • Calla Gold on October 11, 2018 at 8:48 am

          Hi Erica,
          Thanks for writing. I imagine I’d be able to make a ring similar to yours in real rose gold. Interestingly enough what can happen is that a ring someone really likes made of costume metal holds up nicely strength-wise, but not the plating. They decide to re-make the ring just like the original. If the original is super thin, where the brass or other costume metal is strong in that thin of a design, making it in gold, especially rose gold with its large percentage of malleable copper, can yield a ring that won’t hold up.
          Read about the four pillars of a daily ring to see if your costume design will need to be strengthened or if it is fine already:
          Your moissanite stones should move into the new ring just fine.
          Your Personal Jeweler,

  3. Heather on September 28, 2018 at 3:25 am

    I have a rose gold plated charm that I would prefer to have plain silver- what is the best way to remove the plating?

    • Calla Gold on September 28, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Hello Heather,
      A plating jeweler should be able to handle your request. I usually use a high RPM rouge wheel to where off the plating that it can reach. After that I’d probably white rhodium plate the whole thing to the rose plating down in the crevices was covered.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

      • Heather on September 30, 2018 at 7:00 am

        Thank you very much!

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