Have you ever wondered how to tell if gold is real? After all, fakes come in all shapes and sizes, and that old heirloom of yours may just be a quality ersatz version of the real thing.
It’s always best to stay on top of things – even when buying jewelry. Gold is a sound investment, so it’s best to make sure it’s the real deal before you commit. The answer to how to tell if something is real gold can come in many forms, but, here are 5 easy ways you can find that out on your own.
How to Tell if Gold is Real?
What real gold looks like is not only a question of color and heft. Real gold comes stamped with hallmarks that indicate the carat weight of the jewelry.
Each piece must be stamped with a certain number somewhere on the jewelry – the clasp, the inner side of the ring, and suchlike. It will almost always be a number, followed by the letter K. However, if your jewelry comes from Europe, the hallmark stamp will be a decimal number – for example, “.585” which indicates that the gold is 58.5% pure.
If your gold is fairly old, it may not have a hallmark. So, don’t give up on that heirloom just yet!
Liquid foundation test
While this is not the most reliable test there is, it may give you a clue about the realness of your jewelry. Apply some foundation and powder on your forehead, then take the gold jewelry and rub it across the area. If there’s a black mark left behind on your skin, the gold may be fake.
The water and magnets test
Real gold should sink – it’s as simple as that. Drop your piece in a cup of water and if it floats, you have a reason for suspicion. However, if the piece is naturally hollow or very thin it may float even if it’s real gold.
Now, the magnet. If you feel a tug, and your gold piece is attracted to the magnet, it’s likely not real gold. The magnet should be fairly strong, but gold should never be attracted to it.
Use nitric acid
Using nitric acid on a piece of jewelry can harm it irreparably, so use it only if you are absolutely certain you can part with the jewelry. Use gloves and goggles, and do this experiment in a place with proper ventilation during this test. After all, you’ll be dealing with acid.
Make a tiny scratch on the surface of the piece, then apply a small drop of nitric acid to the etched surface. If you see green – it’s not gold. If you see a milky substance – your jewelry is most likely gold over sterling silver.
Still unsure? Find a professional
If these ways of how to tell if jewelry is real gold seems too unreliable to you, it’s always best to consult a specialist. You can find a professional who’ll determine the validity of your jewelry in almost every jewelry store. Each has a special kit (and years of experience) that can confirm or deny that you have real gold on your hands with absolute certainty.
We hope we’ve helped you find out whether your jewelry is real gold or not! If you want additions to your collection, drop by one of our stores – we can repair your old favorites, make a custom design for you, or you can simply find a piece you will fall in love with!