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


rose gold plating

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

Melia’s spotty rose gold plating started this conversation. 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 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 plating solution with rose gold, 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 plate your pendant, but rose plating wears off faster than yellow gold plating or rhodium white plating. And if rose 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 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 colored 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 plate my pendant in rose gold 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 because as we feared, her rose colored gold plating had gone from great looking to OK looking. She loves how much better the rhodium white is wearing.

Melia had me design a rose gold ring in 14kt karat. She finds it much better behaved and nicely rose-y looking.

Your Personal Jeweler,

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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.

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6 years ago

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

Sara M
Sara M
6 years ago

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!

Reply to  Calla Gold
5 years ago

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?

5 years ago

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

Reply to  Calla Gold
5 years ago

Thank you very much!

3 years ago

Can you either take off the rose gold plating or redo the plating if there are stones on the band?