4 Easy Ways to Tell if Your Gold Jewelry is Real

by Patrick Adair on May 14, 2020

Gold is one of the most popular precious metals  used in jewelry due to its attractive looks and luster. Another reason why gold is so popular is that it has an inherent value that perpetuates its worth. It is a sustainable store of value that makes us physically drawn to it. In addition to this, it holds some unique properties. Gold will not tarnish and experience discoloration. Gold is also quite heavy and most people tend to attach more value to heftier jewelry pieces. These unique properties also make for great foolproof ways to test whether or not your gold is real gold. Below are 4 easy DIY tests you can do to your gold to see whether or not it is real gold or fake gold. 

Nitric Acid Test

Gold is a noble metal which is resistant to oxidation. Because of this, the nitric acid test is an easy test to perform on your gold piece. Essentially, you will want to make a very tiny scratch on your ring and drop it into nitric acid. If your piece of jewelry experiences a clear reaction, it is likely fake gold. If nothing happens, then your piece of gold is likely real as genuine gold will not tarnish.

Magnet Test

Real gold is not magnetic so a very simple test is to hold your gold item up to a magnet. Fake gold jewelry will be magnetic. If it doesn't stick to the magnet, then it is likely real gold. However, this isn't a foolproof test as some jewelers will try to sell fake gold made out of non-magnetic metals.

Weight Density Test

As stated above, gold has a heftiness that makes it particularly attractive. You can use this property to test whether your gold is real or fake by dropping your gold jewelry into a a cup of water. If your gold floats, then it's fake. If it sinks, then it's real.

Makeup Test

As weird as it sounds, you can test the authenticity of your gold with makeup. To do this test, apply a small amount of liquid foundation to your forehead. Rub your gold jewelry gently across your forehead and if a black streak appears, then your gold is likely to be real. It's definitely not as reliable as the other methods listed but if you want o to be diligent, you can perform this test.

Get a Gold Jewelry Appraisal

If these four easy tests still leave you in doubt, or if you want to be 100% certain your gold is real, get a gold appraisal. This is probably the most reliable and foolproof way to tell if your gold is real. Appraisers will charge you a fee, but it will save you the time and headaches of worrying about whether or not your gold is real or fake.

Different Gold Alloys and Karats

Now that you know how to verify the authenticity of gold, it is important to educate yourself on the different types of gold when shopping for gold jewelry. Gold comes in a variety of different alloys and karats. Yellow gold is the most iconic look but nowadays, it is very common for jewelry stores to offer variations. The most common variations to yellow gold are white gold and rose gold. Yellow gold is pure gold mixed with a tiny bit of copper and silver. White gold is pure gold mixed with palladium and silver. Rose gold is pure gold mixed with just copper.

A karat is the unit of purity when referring to gold. This is not to be confused with carat, which is a unit of weight when referring to gemstones like diamonds. If your gold is 24 karat gold, then it is composed of just pure gold. Pure gold is too soft alone, so it is normally mixed with other metals and the exact composition of pure gold to other metals determines the purity of the gold piece. Each karat indicates 1/24th of the whole, so for example, if your gold jewelry is made of 14 parts gold and 10 parts copper, then it is 14K (karat) Gold. 

The higher the purity of the gold, the more it's worth. There is a trade-off however, as the higher the purity also means the softer the gold, which means its more prone to scratches and scuffs. Fortunately, these scratches are never permanent and can be buffed out pretty easily. At the same time, gold is extremely malleable and the higher the purity, the more durable the gold piece.

The most common gold purity levels are 10K, 14K, 18K, and 24K. Each level of purity offers its own advantages and disadvantages with 14K and 18K being the most popular. 10K is the most durable but also has the least amount of gold content and worth. 14K is highly durable while being slightly purer than 10K. 18K is the most common purity used for engagement rings and wedding bands whereas 24K is a bit too soft and malleable to be used for engagement rings.

Shop for Gold Rings

If you have made it to the end of this blog post, you are basically an expert on gold jewelry. If you are ready to buy gold jewelry, you can start by browsing our collection of gold rings featuring yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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