Gold is unaffected by most acids. It does not react with hydrofluoric , hydrochloric , hydrobromic , hydriodic , sulfuric , or nitric acid . It does react with selenic acid , and is dissolved by aqua regia , a 1:3 mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid . Nitric acid oxidizes the metal to +3 ions, but only in minute amounts, typically undetectable in the pure acid because of the chemical equilibrium of the reaction. However, the ions are removed from the equilibrium by hydrochloric acid, forming AuCl 4 − ions, or chloroauric acid , thereby enabling further oxidation.