How to Tell if Gold is Real: 6 Ways to Find Out if it’s Authentic

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Gold and gold jewelries are prized possessions, and it makes perfect sense if you want to check the authenticity of a gold ring or necklace that is lying around in your jewelry box.

Real gold jewelries are not exactly 100% pure gold as most authentic gold jewelries are mixed with other metals to make it even harder and durable.

Fake gold jewelry is made of other metals that are much affordable than gold, which includes silver, nickel and copper. And they are just often plated with gold to make them look like real ones.

This video gives tips on how to tell if gold is real:

There are a few tests involved in how to tell if gold is real.

These tests are easy and can be done right at the comforts of your own home. However, these tests are not 100% guaranteed since there might be jewelries that are designed to pass these gold tests to effectively fool people.


Nitric Acid Test

Nitric acid tests are used for different kinds of precious metals. Nitric acid is known to cause harm in fake jewelries while not affecting gold in any way.

To carry out this test, make a very tiny mark or an invisible small scratch on the jewelry and drop a small amount of nitric acid into it. If the spot turns green, it is definitely a fake gold. If it turns into a milky white color, you've got yourself sterling silver. If there is no discoloration or any reaction in the spot, the jewelry is a genuine gold.


Float or Density Test

This test is the one of the easiest ones to carry out if you want to check if you have an authentic piece of gold jewelry.

Gold has higher density than most metals, which means it should sink right in water. What you need for this test is a cup or jug of water. Real gold jewelry will definitely sink, while fake jewelry will float right at the surface of the water.


Magnet Test

The magnet test is suitable for testing a jewelry, which you think has high percentage of gold.

To do this test, you need a high-strength magnet and not just any ordinary magnet out there. Place it close to the jewelry and see if there is any reaction. If the jewelry gets attracted to the magnet, then it is a fake gold.

If there is very little attraction but the jewelry does not stick to the magnet, you have jewelry that has low percentage of gold. If there is no attraction at all, then it is most likely real gold.


Liquid Foundation Test

This test may not be as reliable as other tests but it is still one of the most popular ways to test gold. You simply need to apply a liquid foundation to your forehead and rub the jewelry across the area. Wait for a few seconds to see if there is a reaction.

A real gold will leave a black streak in the area.


Skin Test

The skin test is very similar to the liquid foundation test. However, to carry out this test, you need a person who has an iron deficiency, preferably one with anemia.

What you will do is to rub the jewelry to the person’s forehead and if the rubbing left a black streak, the jewelry is most likely than not a real gold.


Stamp Test

All gold jewelries are marked with hallmarks or stamps that indicate their karat weight such as 18K or 14K. The stamps are usually located at the clasp of necklaces and bracelets and the inner band of rings.

On the other hand, European jewelers mark the gold content in decimal such as .585 which means the piece is 58.5% gold. If jewelry does not have a stamp, it does not necessarily mean that it is fake, as vintage gold jewelries often do not have stamps on them.

As mentioned, none of these tests are the 100% perfect way how to tell if gold is real.

The best way to make sure that jewelry is indeed gold is to seek professional help. A professional jewelry dealer has testing kits and equipment that are designed to effectively test gold and its authenticity.

Dealers also have an eye for the real gold jewelry because of their expertise. Some may charge you a small fee while others may even test your gold for free.


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