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How Do You Tell If Gold Is Real

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Seven Ways To Tell If Your Gold Is Real

How to Tell Real Gold from Fake

By Peter Krauth, Resource Specialist, Money MorningJune 27, 2014

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I had just finished a walking tour of the Royal Canadian Mint when I saw it. Right there, out in the open, was a 400-ounce bar of pure gold.

It was chained to a display table and kept safe by an armed guard. At the time, in 2005, the bar was worth $220,000.

Today, the same bar is worth $526,700. In just nine years, gold prices have jumped by 296.1% – and that’s even with the 28% plummet the yellow metal saw last year.

But it’s not the eternal fascination with gold that has boosted the price. With growing levels of worldwide uncertainties, mounting inflation risks, and government distrust, people are clamoring for gold primarily as insurance.

According to the World Gold Council, world gold demand was 4,080 tonnes in 2013, an 8.8% increase over 2005. In the first quarter of 2014, gold demand came in at 1,074.5 tonnes, maintaining the robust levels seen in 2013.

With the market for gold growing at a feverish pace, it’s now more important than ever to know that your gold is the real deal – especially now that gold has begun to show signs of a strong rebound.

Here’s why…

Gold counterfeiting is nothing new. In fact, just yesterday two suspects were caught in New York for multiple incidents of selling fake American Gold Eagle gold coins on Craigslist.

Here’s how to tell if your gold is real…

Look For Bluish Or Greenish Tint On Your Skin

This test is simple: It involves holding a piece of gold jewelry between your hands for a couple of minutes. The perspiration from your hands will either react with the metal and change the color of your skin or leave it unaffected. When real gold is in direct contact with your skin there is no discoloration. If the gold is fake it will cause your skin to turn black, blue, or green at the contact points.

One exception to this procedure occurs if you test gold on your skin while wearing a liquid foundation. When gold touches the makeup it will turn your skin black at the points of contact. Removing all makeup before testing makes this test more reliable.

Alternatively, makeup can also be used to test for gold authenticity. Put on a liquid foundation and add powder over it. Once the makeup has dried, press the piece of jewelry against your skin and then run it lightly over your skin where you have the makeup. If the jewelry leaves a black track on the makeup, you probably have real gold.

Gold is extremely nonreactive, so real gold jewelry will never discolor your skin. But using the makeup test is a unique way to also check if its real.

If there are discolorations in gold jewelry it means you have an alloy where there are other metals mixed in.

The Magnet Test: Use A Powerful Neodymium Magnet

For this test, you’ll need a rare earth magnet.

Rare earth magnets aren’t the common type of magnets you can find on your fridge, for example. They are made of special alloys, which give them incredible power. For this test, a neodymium magnet is recommended, as they are readily available online, very affordable, and among the most powerful rare earth magnets.


Neodymium magnets that are larger than just a few centimeters are quite powerful, and if a body part gets pinched between a magnet and a highly magnetic metal part or another magnet, serious injury can occur. Handle the magnet with care.

Now, to test your jewelry, simply touch it with the magnet. Pure gold will not be attracted to the magnet. If the jewelry gets attracted to the magnet , then at least part of it is not gold. Gold chains and collars commonly have a “clasp” mechanism of some sort, and you may find that only the clasp bit sticks to the magnet. This is because there is a spring inside the clasp mechanism, and gold doesn’t make good springs.

Remember, however, that even if your jewelry piece does not get attracted to the magnet, there’s still a chance it may not be gold. This is because other, non-magnetic elements can be used in making fake gold. Most commonly, though, fake gold is composed using metals that are at least somewhat magnetic, and a strong rare earth magnet should be able to exert some attraction over these.

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Shop Gold: Our Top Picks

Have we inspired you to go shopping? Great! Here are some awesome gold jewelry finds that we are absolutely loving right now. Happy shopping!

Rest assured, the jewelry here is definitely real gold, not fake. However, now that you know the differences between solid gold, gold-filled, and gold plated, be sure to pay attention so that you can make the right decision based on what you are looking for!

Are you unsure of how to decide? Ask yourself this set of questions to make the right decision:

What is your budget?

If you have a very limited budget and want jewelry that you can wear once or twice, go with gold plated. If you want something that is durable, but that wont break the bank, go with gold filled. Looking for a true investment piece? Go for solid gold.

Do you have sensitive skin?

If the answer is yes, gold plated jewelry should pretty much be out right away unless you know you will only wear the jewelry for one occasion.

Are you okay with maintenance?

If you know you dont typically clean your jewelry, we recommend investing in either solid gold or gold filled jewelry that has 14k gold or higher.

The lower karat you go, the higher the likelihood you will have to clean your gold as it may tarnish. If you are fine with always replacing your jewelry instead of maintaining it, you could go with gold plated.

How To Get A 100% Accurate Gold Test

6 Ways to Tell if Gold Is Real

These DIY gold authentication tests are a good place to start if youre curious about an items authenticity. However, theyre not reliable or accurate when it comes to buying, selling, or investing in gold.

When you want a professional-grade reading, its best to take your gold coins and bars into a highly qualified and experienced precious metals consultant such as Scottsdale Bullion & Coin. This is the only way to get an accurate gold test.

At Scottsdale Bullion & Coin, we utilize industry-leading gold testing equipment to accurately determine the authenticity of gold coins and bars, as well as other precious metals. Watch the video below to learn more about the gold testing machines our experts use.

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Test : The Float Test

For jewelry youve got at home you can always do a quick float test to see if it is real or fake! All you need is a cup of water.

Drop the jewelry in the water and see what happens. Real gold will sink, as it is a heavy metal. If the jewelry floats, more than likely, it is not real gold.

If it doesnt immediately sink or does not sink all the way, you may have jewelry that simply has less real gold than you thought it did.

Does Or Mean Gold

yes or means gold in french, ou in french means or in english, but there is an other meaning for this word, or is also a word which is used to make a transition between two ideas in your essays, you can translate this word by but in english for example : La cliente a commandé une jupe, or elle a reçu une

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The Water Test: Measure The Density

The density test involves how much a gold bar or coin weighs compared to how much water it displaces. If the item is genuine, it will be heavier than water, and the increase in weight is proportionate to the purity. If there are any other additives in your gold like copper, then it will be much lighter than it should be.

You will need a kitchen scale, a container with measurement markings, and water for this test. Follow these steps:

  • Take the weight of your gold item in grams on the scale. Note it down.
  • Take a cylinder or vial that has cubic centimeter or millimeter markings on it. Fill around half of it with water. Record the starting water level.
  • With a soft hand, drop the gold piece into the container and note down the new water level.
  • Subtract the first reading from the second one and divide the item’s weight by this number.
  • The result should be close to 19.3 g/mL, which is gold’s standard density. In comparison, copper has only 8.96 g/mL of density. The density of 18k and 14k gold items are 16.5 g/mL and 14.0 g/mL, respectively. The densities of alloys vary depending on how much gold is present.

    Gold Varies In Color From White To Red

    How To Tell If Gold Is Real – With A Magnet Test

    There are many variations in the color of gold, ranging from white through to deepest red. Pure gold is a deep golden yellow orange. In its purest state it is very soft and although this makes it very easy to work with, for everyday use a harder metal is needed. Pure gold is therefore combined with a cheaper base metal to form an alloy. Copper or silver are commonly used in combination with gold to strengthen it. Thus what is commonly referred to as white gold has a high proportion of silver in the alloy. Similarly red gold contains a lot of copper in the alloy.

    How much is your jewelry worth? A gold assay test can reveal its value.

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    The Magnet Test: Does It Pull Or Not

    Gold will not react with a magnet because it’s non-magnetic. If you suspect that your gold might be diluted, then try this out to see if the metal has any ferrous properties.

    Use a robust neodymium magnet because a kitchen magnet is too weak to attract the metal blends inside a gold item. Bring the magnet close to the piece. If it moves forward, you are dealing with a fake item.

    This is a simple test but in no way guarantees the authenticity of gold. Real gold items can be bonded with ferromagnetic metals, such as iron and nickel. On the contrary, counterfeits can contain non-magnetic metals like copper and stainless steel.

    How To Carry Out An Assay Test

  • Softly scratch the item of jewelry with the testing stone, so that it leaves a gold mark on the touchstone.
  • Place a drop from an acid bottle on the mark. Start with the lowest karat value test and then work upwards.
  • If the gold mark doesnt change in color, or dissolve, then it is of a higher karat than the assay.
  • Continue testing with the higher-karat acid bottles, and repeat until the gold mark starts to change or dissolve. This will indicate that its karat is less than that written on the label of the last acid bottle you used.
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    Expert Techniques To Ensure A Diamond Is Real

    While various tests can be used to tell if a diamond is real, its advised to have a professional diamond expert assist you in determining if a diamond is genuine. A professional gemologist who has a Graduate Gemologist degree will be able to tell you definitively if a diamond is real or not.

    Bringing your stone to a diamond professional will give you peace of mind, because several proven methods and tools are used to determine if a diamond is real.

    Test With Nitric Acid

    6 Ways to Tell if Gold Is Real

    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.

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    The Density Test: Use Water To Test Density

    This is a decent way to tell if your gold jewelry is real without any risk of damaging it, but it requires a few tools and some knowledge of math.


    This test only works for jewelry that is supposed to be made of gold only. Any attached jewels or parts that aren’t made of gold can make the results of the test inconsistent.

    Ready To Separate Out The Real Stuff From The Fake

    We hope youve enjoyed our explanation of how to tell if gold is real! As you can see, there are lots of different approaches out there. Not all of them will give you a definitive answer. But by using different tests together, you can get a good idea of whether your gold is real.

    Remember, if you want absolute certainty, you can always get your item tested by a jeweler. There will be a charge, but that may be worth it for your peace of mind.

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    What Is 14k Gold

    Many people are looking to invest in fine gold jewelry. However, with so many options out there, from 10K gold to 24K gold, gold plated, gold filled, white gold , how do you know which gold to buy? Today were exploring all things 14K gold jewelry.

    Why? For starters, 14K gold jewelry is a particularly popular gold jewelry metal. Not to mention its commonly used for engagement and wedding rings. In fact, roughly 90% of U.S. wedding bands are 14K gold.

    The true appeal of 14K gold is that its an affordable option for first-time gold jewelry buyers. Youve likely come across a variety of attractive 14K gold jewelry pieces, but arent quite sure what that means exactly. No problem!

    Buying smart means knowing what youre buying, and were here to help. Keep reading as we address what is 14K gold, the retail options you have as a consumer, and what to expect from your 14K gold investment.

    Understanding The Differences: Solid Gold Vs Gold Filled Vs Gold Plated

    How to Know if Your Jewelry is Real Gold or Plated

    Before we get to our tests that will help you decide what is real and what is fake, it helps to go over some basic definitions. If you have shopped for gold jewelry lately, you have probably seen a few different terms describing the jewelry itself.

    The three main terms you will hear are Solid gold, gold-filled, and gold plated. So, what do those all mean? Do all of those types include real gold? Lets discuss!

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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

    Using A Nitric Acid Test

  • 1Purchase a gold-testing kit to get the acid you need for the test. Testing kits include various bottles of nitric acid for different types of gold. Some tests also include a flat rock called a touchstone you can use to scratch off some of the gold on your item. You may also see needles with samples of yellow and white gold to use as a comparison to your item.XResearch source
  • Testing kits are available online. Also, check with local jewelry stores. Most jewelers use this test for its accuracy.
  • 2Create a small scratch on the gold using a sharp tool. Choose an inconspicuous location on the jewelry to make the scratch, such as underneath a clasp or an inner band. Then, use a sharp tool such as a jewelry engraver to dig into the gold. Scratch until you get underneath the top layer of gold. Expose a fresh layer of gold or any other metal underneath it.XResearch source
  • Nitric acid tests require you to scratch your piece of gold. If the gold has personal value to you or you plan on keeping it, take it to a professional jeweler instead of doing the test yourself.
  • Regular gold does not react to the acid, so your item might be gold plated or a low-purity blend of metals.
  • A milk-colored reaction usually indicates gold-plated sterling silver. If the acid turns gold, you have gold-plated brass.
  • The acids all increase in strength, so the acid used for 22K is stronger than the 12K one. If the 18K acid dissolves the gold but the 14K one doesnt, you know your item is probably around 14K.
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    How Do You Test Gold With Vinegar

    One way you could test if your gold is pure or not is by using vinegar. There are many ways that you could use this method, and the good thing about it is that it can no way harm your jewelry unless it is not pure gold. All you need to do is get the jewelry item you want to test and white vinegar. Place your jewelry on a table or hold it in your hand, pour some white vinegar on the metal directly if the metal of the jewelry changes its color, it is not pure gold and if it keeps shining then you have real gold in your hand.

    You can also fill a cup or glass with white vinegar, and drop your gold in it, let it soak for 5-8 minutes, take it out and rinse with water. If the metal has changed its color even slightly, then the gold is not pure but if it keeps shining, then the gold is pure.

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