An Alloy Stamp Or Marking Doesnt Guarantee Authenticity:
Just because a piece of jewelry is stamped with an alloy mark such as 14k, 18k, or 22k, does not necessarily mean that it is actually real gold. There is a lot of fake, counterfeit jewelry floating around out there, it drives a friend of mine who runs a cash for gold store crazy He spends the majority of his day using electronic testing devices, and different types of nitric acid to gold test jewelry, and a lot of what is marked, is not real.
On the flip side, there is always the chance that jewelry which is not stamped, is made of real silver, gold, or platinum. Not all jewelry manufacturers bother to stamp the alloy content of the jewelry that they produce.
For this reason, I recommend consulting with a qualified jeweler in your local area. Ask friends and family members for a referral to a trusted jeweler. The combination of experience handling and evaluating jewelry, combined with common methods of testing gold jewelry for alloy content, should provide you with the answers that you seek in short order.
How To Identify Raw Gold
Fool’s gold can be mistaken for placer gold gold found as rounded or flat nuggets in dry and wet stream beds, and rivers or creeks because they both look golden. But real gold stays bright even when out of direct sunlight, and though soft, does not fall apart when you touch it like fool’s gold can. Raw gold in rocks appears as threads of a yellow-gold color winding its way through quartz.
Ways To Tell If A Ring Is A Real Gold
The question of gold purity and validity has been bothering people over the centuries. Even ancient kings and queens had to be careful about frauds and criminal tricks connected to their jewellery and crowns. For example, the father of mathematics, Archimedes, revealed the deception about the golden crown of the king of Syracuse, Hiero II.
Thanks to this philosopher and mathematician and other scientists throughout history, you wont be an easy target for fraudsters and thieves nowadays. Luckily, there are many contemporary ways how to tell if the ring is real gold or not.
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Real Gold Vs Fake Gold
Today, gold is highly valued and is considered a precious metal. But with such popularity and value of a gold item, there is a lot of forgery. You may be relieved to know that accurately forging gold jewelry or any other item is very difficult, and you can easily tell the difference between real and fake gold if you knows where to look.
There are gold testing methods like the hallmark test, the acid and stone test, the earth magnet test, electronic gold testers, the XRF test, the ceramic test, and the float test. For a professional opinion, you can also go to a certified jeweler to test the purity of real gold.
One common difference between real and fake gold is the amount of gold used to make the item. Any piece of gold with less than 41.7 % or 10 karats gold is fake. Karat is a measure of the purity of gold. One karat gold is 1/24th part of pure gold in an alloy. The weight of one karat gold is about 3.1 st .
Sometimes real gold is not even used to produce fake gold items. Other metals like copper and brass are used to replace it. There are also gold-plated items available in the market. Gold plating means that the jewelry or item has a thin layer of gold on top of the base metal. Base metals can be copper, silver, brass, aluminum, or any other metal.
It is also a great reflector of heat and light. Did you know that an astronaut’s visor has a thin coating of gold to reduce the glare of the sun?
How To Tell If Gold Is Real Vinegar
You can test your gold ingot or jewelry by applying some vinegar to the surface and look for a color change. Get a dropper and fill it up with white vinegar. Hold your metal object firmly in your hand or set it on a table, then place a few drops of vinegar. If the drops change the color of the metal, then it is not pure gold.
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Test With Nitric Acid
Find a place on the jewelry where you can make a small scratch, perhaps under a clasp or on the inside of a ring. Make a mark deep enough to scratch through the top layer of gold. Carefully apply a drop of nitric acid to the mark, and determine if the mark turns green or milky. There will be no reaction if the jewelry is either gold or mostly gold.
Nitric acid is a dangerous chemical, so you should take every precaution when handling it. Wear gloves and goggles, and be sure the room is well-ventilated. Given the potential damage this test does to the jewelry, you may not want to apply it to something of great personal value. At least consider having a professional jeweler do the test for you.
Unleash Your Inner Chemist
A very reliable but more involved way to tell if gold is real is to perform a nitric acid test. As a note, this test involves using a highly reactive nitric acid, necessitating a number of safety precautions. Also, this method should not be used for jewelry that has aesthetic value you wish to fully preserve since it involves slightly damaging the piece. However, this method can be a great choice for scrap metal and non-jewelry items. To perform this test, make a tiny scratch on a less noticeable area of the piece with a tweezer or nail file. Then, apply a drop of nitric acid to the scratch. If there’s no reaction, then the piece is real gold. By contrast, gold over sterling yields a cloudy white substance, while other metals and gold plating tend to turn up green.
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Find A Reputable Source For Quality Gold
Oxford Gold Group knows how to test gold, silver, and all manner of precious metals better than anyone can at home. Browse their catalog of gold products today for professionally tested bars and coins that make very wise investments. Call for a trustworthy, reliable source of quality gold and other precious metals.
How To Tell If Gold Is Real: The Floating Test
Take a vial or jug and fill up at least half of it with water. The temperature of the water does not have any effect on this test, so you can use room temperature or lukewarm water.
Drop your gold item gently into the water and see what it does. A genuine piece of gold is dense and heavy, so it will quickly sink to the bottom of the container. Counterfeits are likely to float or sink slowly.
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Inspecting A Diamond With A Loupe
A diamond professional will have access to a loupea special magnifying glass used for diamonds, gemstones and jewelry. When using a loupe, a professional will look for blemishes and imperfections within the diamond. While a fake diamond can be perfectly constructed, a diamond will have small imperfections called inclusions.
Professional Diamond Loupe
Should I Buy 14k Gold Jewelry
Now that you know all about 14K gold jewelry, should you buy it? Buying 14K gold is a great option if your priorities include affordable fine jewelry that is also durable. Though the karatage is lower than say, 18K or 24K, youre actually saving money and getting a more durable gold jewelry piece.
For jewelry pieces that youll wear every day, 14K gold is a perfect choice that wont damage or tarnish easily. Youll also save money, for example a 14K gold ring price should be roughly half the price of 24K gold ring.
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How To Recognize White Topaz
While a white topaz may look like a diamond at first glance, several characteristics separate it from a real diamond.
The exterior is softer than a diamond and is easily scratched by other materials. You can also look closely at a white topaz using magnification to see if there are any scratches on the surface. Diamonds will not have scratches because of their durable composition.
What Counts As Gold
To begin with, lets define what were talking about here. Most, if not all, authentic gold jewelry isnt actually made of pure gold.
Thats because gold is a very soft metal. If it were used in its pure form, the jewelry would bend out of shape, or even break, all too easily.
To deal with that problem, gold is mixed with other metals. The type of metals and how much of them is used depends on the color and karat rating of the gold.
In its natural form, most gold is the wonderful warm yellow color we know and love. But youll also see rose gold and white gold used in jewelry and other objects.
Rose gold is a mixture of gold and copper. It usually also contains some silver. The result is a beautiful pink metal.
White gold is another gold alloy. Here, gold is mixed with white metals, usually palladium, silver and nickel. White gold jewelry is usually then plated in rhodium to give it a distinctive high shine.
Both rose and white gold are considered to be real gold. The amount of pure gold they contain varies, depending on their karat rating. More on that in a moment.
As weve seen, yellow gold is also mixed with other metals to make it strong enough to be used in jewelry. Whether your gold is yellow, white or rose, the amount of pure gold it contains is indicated by its karat rating.
Other common karat ratings are 10, 14 and 22-karat. And older jewelry, from the Victorian or Edwardian eras, often used 15-karat gold.
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Theres Gold In Them There Hills
On a recent trip to Sutters Mill in Coloma, CA, we got a chance first hand to discover actual gold and learn how to tell the difference between the real deal and tricky fools gold.
Without zooming in, it can be tough to tell the difference, especially when the sun is shining and the water makes everything glisten. Heres a close-up of iron pyrite and actual gold side by side. One of the major differences between the two is that pyrite has hard edges, gold has softer edges. When you first get started, you might want to bring along a magnifying glass when youre out panning or rockhounding. More tips below.
4 WAYS TO DISTINGUISH FOOLS GOLD FROM REAL GOLD
Look at the gold nugget below. This was found by a little girl in Coloma, CA.
The Size And Weight Test
This test works well on coins and bars. You can
- Compare a piece of gold you want to test with one that is already known to be real
- Use a set of calipers and a jewelers scale or use a Fisch Tester
Gold is denser than most other metals. If you have a piece that looks too large for its weight or feels too light for its size, then you probably have fake gold.
Bullion coins are actual coins made from precious metals, including gold, silver, palladium, or platinum. They serve as collectibles, investments, or as a hedge against inflation.
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Easiest Ways To Tell If Gold Is Real
Gold has a unique place in our hearts. For centuries, its beauty has been a symbol of wealth and power. Its used to make our most precious jewelry, to decorate places of worship, and to celebrate our highest achievements.
Its even found its way into everyday language, with expressions like heart of gold, gold standard and good as gold.
But when something is this valuable, its not surprising that some will attempt to fake it. So how do you distinguish fake gold from the real thing?
Were going to tell you everything you need to know about how to tell if gold is real. And when youve finished reading, youll have all the information you need to buy gold with confidence.
How To Test For Real Gold
Gold is a precious metal that has been collected and used as an investment vehicle throughout the centuries. Unfortunately, some people will create fake gold and try to fool you into thinking that its real. You can avoid getting duped by an unscrupulous deceiver by conducting these tests on your gold to determine if its genuine:
Nitrate Acid Test
One way of checking to see if your gold is real is by using an acid test. To conduct this test, place your gold in a container thats made from stainless steel. Obtain some nitric acid and place a drop on your gold. If you see a green color appear, this indicates that the piece you are examining is goldplated and has another base metal. If you receive a reaction that creates a gold color, this signifies that your test piece is made from brass that contains a gold plating. You will receive a milky color if the piece you are testing is goldplated sterling silver. Only a test that shows no reaction is genuine gold.
Gold is a metal that is not magnetic. To conduct a magnet test to determine if your gold is real, obtain a neodymium magnet that has strong magnetic power. If you have fake gold, it will be attracted to the magnet. Be sure to distinguish between metal clasps and any chains that may be attached to the piece you are examining. These items will be attracted to a magnet and should be ruled out when applying this test.
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The Magnifying Glass Method
This test only requires jewelry or bullion and a magnifying glass. Look through the lens carefully to inspect the visual quality of your gold. Here are some things to spot:
- Unless subjected to specific processes, your gold should never be discolored. Discoloration only occurs with a low concentration of gold in an alloy, because silver, copper, and other metals are reactive to oxidation.
- Unlike the gold we see in movies, gold bars are not that shiny, and in fact, have an almost soft matte yellow finish. If your bullion is too vibrant or has some visible discoloration, it may not be pure, especially when you detect a reddish hue.
- Most gold items have a purity mark that indicates actual gold content by karat or millesimal fineness. These markings can easily be faked, so you should never rely on them alone. They are, however, very useful for finding gold below 10 karats, which is not considered true gold by US standards.
The Skin Test: Rub The Gold
This is a simple test to see if your gold items have been adulterated. Gold will not react with the skin and can withstand soaps, detergents, and many other substances that would make any other metal change color or even corrode into oblivion.
Rub the gold gently with some skin to see if any reaction occurs! If there is no change at all, either on your skin or the gold piece, chances are high that your jewelry will stay beautiful for years to come. Fake ones will transform your skin’s contact point into green, black, or blue.
Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly because the chemical elements in makeup or liquid foundation can temper the results.
However, this test is foolproof only for pure 24k or 23k gold pieces. For example, if you have a 15k gold piece , it can still react with the skin because of other metal elements.
Plated gold’s exterior coating will wear away over time since gold is soft and that layer is pretty thin. If you have been using any gold items for a while, inspect the edges and the parts that touch your skin or clothes. Seeing another color underneath means it’s fake or plated.
It’s also possible to check if your gold has been plated with silver by vigorously rubbing your fingers over it and seeing if you can feel a rough texture. If so, then there’s no gold underneath just paint.
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What The Gold Stamp Means
If you do find a number marking on your gold item, heres how to read it. There are two different numeric scales used in hallmarking. The numbers 1 to 999 or 0K to 24K may be used to show the amount of gold in the item. The numbered system is European and the K scale the U.S. ranking. For the European system, the number can be transferred easily to a percentage, so 200 is 20% gold and 500 is 50% gold. For the U.S. system, 24K is 99.9% pure gold, 18K is 75% gold, 14K is 58.5% gold and 10K is 41.7% gold. Anything less than 10K is considered fake.
This piece shows the 14K stamp on the back of the bracelet.
Shows 14k gold stamp
This piece shows 585, which is the same as 14K but expressed as a % of gold used in the piece.