Will gold melt in a house fire?

Quick Answer

Gold has a melting point of 1,948°F (1,064°C), which is considerably higher than the maximal temperature of an average house fire. Most house fires do not exceed 1,100°F, so solid gold items are unlikely to melt or sustain major damage in that environment. However, other factors like the item’s thickness can affect heat transfer and melting. Thin gold plating may melt, but solid gold will probably survive intact.

What is the melting point of gold?

The melting point of pure gold is 1,948°F (1,064°C). This is when solid gold transitions into a liquid state. The melting point is relatively high compared to many other metals. For example, lead melts at 621°F (327°C) and aluminum melts at 1,221°F (660°C).

Gold’s high melting point is partly why it is prized as a metal for jewelry, coins, and other objects – it retains its solid shape under typical environmental conditions and requires very high heat to liquefy. The excellent heat and electrical conductivity of gold are also related to its stable arrangement of electrons and bonds between atoms.

Key facts about gold’s melting point:

  • Pure (24 karat) gold: 1,948°F (1,064°C)
  • 18 karat gold: 1,600°F (871°C)
  • 14 karat gold: 1,360°F (738°C)
  • 10 karat gold: 1,140°F (616°C)

Lower karat golds contain other metals like silver, copper, and zinc blended with pure gold. These alloys have lower melting points than pure gold, but still relatively high compared to many metals.

How hot do house fires get?

House fires can reach tremendously high temperatures, but rarely exceed 1,100-1,200°F except in extreme circumstances. Factors like the amount and layout of fuel (furniture, building materials), ventilation, and duration affect the maximal fire temperature.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, average residential fires reach temperatures of 800-900°F. Under fast, intense burning conditions induced by liquid accelerants, temperatures can spike up to 1,100°F very briefly. Sustained temperatures above 1,200°F are only reached in specialized furnaces.

While house fires get extremely hot by human standards, they typically do not get hot enough to melt pure, solid gold items. Other metals like silver, copper, and aluminum have lower melting points in the 1,100-1,200°F range, so they are more vulnerable to melting.

Key facts about house fire temperatures:

  • Average peak temperature: 800-900°F
  • Max with accelerants: ~1,100°F
  • Duration at peak: minutes to hours
  • Localized hotspots: can briefly reach higher temperatures

However, the temperature exposure and heat transfer dynamics are also important factors. A thinner piece of gold jewelry or plating may absorb enough heat to melt, especially if directly exposed to hotspots.

Will solid gold melt or burn in a house fire?

Because the melting point of gold is nearly 1,000°F higher than the peak temperature of most house fires, solid gold items are unlikely to melt or sustain major damage. However, other factors can influence the outcome:

  • Thickness – Thin gold plating or foil may absorb enough heat to melt away, while thick, solid gold will withstand the temperatures.
  • Alloys – Lower karat gold with more alloyed metals melts at lower temperatures than pure gold. But most alloys still have high melting points.
  • Exposure – Direct contact with flames, coals, or metals heated above gold’s melting point could melt some of the surface.
  • Conductivity – Gold readily conducts heat. This helps it quickly dissipate heat before building up to the melting point.
  • Trapped air – Insulation from trapped air pockets could limit heat transfer away from the metal.

In most real house fire scenarios, air temperatures do not get hot enough to melt solid gold jewelry, coins, bars, or artifacts. The bulk gold may absorb some heat and become annealing, but retain its overall shape. Gold alloys with lower melting points have better odds of being heat damaged or melted in spots.


  • A solid gold ring is unlikely to melt or burn.
  • Thin gold plated jewelry may melt where directly exposed to flames.
  • Coins are at low risk of melting due to high thermal conductivity.
  • Dental crowns and implants made from thick cast gold can survive fires intact.

Gold’s resistance to heat makes it a reliable material for important objects and artifacts over long periods of time, including surviving disasters like house fires.

Can gold be damaged or change properties due to heat?

While solid gold is unlikely to melt in a house fire, the heat can potentially cause other forms of damage or alteration:

  • Annealing – Prolonged high heat can anneal and soften worked gold. This removes internal stresses and changes the microstructure.
  • Oxidation – Superheated gold may react with oxygen in the air to form a tarnished oxide layer on the surface.
  • Warping – Gold embedded in other materials could warp or pull away as those materials burn or melt.
  • Colored gold – The colors in gold alloys like rose or white gold may change hue after exposure to high temperatures.
  • Refining – Impurities in lower karat gold may preferentially melt out, leaving more pure gold behind.

While pure gold can technically burn in a fire if exposed to chloride or other chemical oxidizers, this would rarely happen in a typical house fire.

The bottom line is gold can undergo subtle changes in a house fire, but its solid form is not at serious risk of melting, vaporizing, or burning away entirely. At worst, surface oxidation may require a jeweler to re-polish and refinish heat-damaged gold items after a fire.

Can gold be recovered from house fires?

Yes, gold can almost always be recovered and restored after a house fire due to its resistance to heat damage. Gold maintains its value as an elemental metal and keeps its distinctive properties like color and weight even when marked by fire exposure.

Here are some recovery tips:

  • Search rubble thoroughly – melted alloy products may retain shape.
  • Send gold pieces to a jeweler for assessment and repair.
  • Use chemical methods to extract and purify gold from soot, ash, and debris.
  • Melt, refine, and recast damaged gold into new products.

Gold in electronics like phones and computers may be damaged beyond recovery. But jewelry, coins, bars, and nanoparticles of gold have excellent odds of being restored to like-new condition. This makes gold a smart asset for enduring through disasters.


Solid gold items are highly unlikely to melt or burn in a typical house fire due to gold’s extremely high melting point of 1,948°F. Average house fires do not exceed 1,100°F, so gold will easily survive the temperatures. However, thin gold plating may be damaged, and the surface can become oxidized and require re-polishing. With its heat resistance, most forms of gold can be readily recovered even from fire debris and restored to original condition. This makes gold a reliable asset that can endure through disasters.

Item Melting Point Flammability Fire Survival Outlook
Pure Gold 1948°F (1064°C) Non-flammable Excellent – very unlikely to melt
18 Karat Gold 1600°F (871°C) Non-flammable Excellent – very unlikely to melt
Gold Plated Metal 700-1000°F Non-flammable Fair – plating may melt
Gold Alloy Electronics 500-900°F Non-flammable Poor – alloys more likely to melt

Key Points

  • Pure gold melts at 1,948°F, far higher than house fire temperatures.
  • Average house fires reach 800-1,100°F at their peak.
  • Solid gold is very unlikely to melt, vaporize, or burn up.
  • Thin gold plating may be damaged by direct flames.
  • Annealing, warping, and oxidation can occur but gold remains intact.
  • Gold retains value and can almost always be recovered and restored.

In summary, house fires do not burn hot enough under normal conditions to melt solid gold, allowing it to be recycled and reused even after disasters. This makes precious metals like gold a reliable way to preserve wealth.