Gold is a precious metal synonymous with luxury and elegance. Its malleability is what makes it so popular in jewelry. In fact, it is the most malleable of all precious metals, which is why it has been associated with monarchy, wealth, and wisdom for centuries.
Nonetheless, gold’s popularity doesn’t come without shortcomings. Because of its desirability, gold is often faked and sold to unsuspecting buyers. Hence, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between real and fake gold jewelry. If you want to know how to tell if the jewelry is real gold, this article is for you.
All About Real Gold
Before we go over how to check if gold is real, let’s understand the composition of real gold. Gold is the name used for the element itself and objects containing gold. Gold jewelry will have a combination of the following elements: gold, silver, copper, zinc, and nickel.
Whenever we talk about gold jewelry, we use the term karat (K) to define the gold content. Pure gold is 24K and is usually too soft for jewelry making, so it’s mixed with other alloys. Common gold jewelry is made of 14K, 18K, or 22K gold. Each one contains a different percentage of pure gold.
Gold alloys will also have a variety of hues depending on the metals in them. For example, yellow gold has a higher percentage of pure gold, while white and rose gold alloys contain copper or silver as well.
Now that we understand the composition of real gold jewelry, let’s move on to how you can test it.
How to Tell if Jewelry Is Real Gold
Now, we can’t pretend that these home tests are 100% foolproof. You’ll need specialized testing equipment and experience to tell if your jewelry is fake. However, there are a few methods you can use to test gold at home that will give you an indication of its authenticity.
1. Iodine Test
One common test used to check if gold is real is the iodine test. This works by dropping a small amount of iodine solution onto your jewelry. The jewelry will immediately turn dark gray or black if it is real.
Generally, the stain will go away on its own but if you’re in a rush, using soap, vinegar, or lemon juice can help remove it. Be cautious when using this test, as it may damage certain types of jewelry, such as plated gold.
2. Magnet Test
Another test you can use to check gold’s authenticity is the magnet test. This involves checking if your jewelry is attracted to a strong magnet, as authentic gold isn’t magnetic. However, this method is only partially reliable because some alloys used in gold jewelry contain iron and will be attracted to the magnet.
3. Scratch Test
The scratch test is the most primitive of all the gold testing methods. This involves scratching your jewelry on a piece of porcelain or glass and checking for color change. Scratching won’t affect real gold, but if it’s fake, it will leave behind a black mark.
4. Float Test
The density of gold is unique and it’s heavier than other metals. You can use the sinking or float test to check if your jewelry is real by dropping it into a cup of water. Real gold will immediately sink to the bottom, while fake gold will stay afloat or take longer to sink.
5. Look for Hallmarks or Letter Markings
Hallmarks and letter markings are an indication of the gold content in your jewelry. Almost all real gold jewelry will have hallmarks, so if your jewelry doesn’t, it could be fake. You can check for hallmarks at the back or inside of a ring, on the catch of a bracelet or necklace, and at the clasp of ankle bracelets.
Do You Want a Real Gold Piece?
It’s important to know how to tell if gold is real to avoid buying fake jewelry. Although the home tests won’t give you a definite answer, they can help identify suspicious jewelry.
TrueFacet is an online marketplace where you can buy pre-owned fine jewelry and watches that have been checked by a team of gemologists and watch experts to ensure they are real. We offer a wide range of jewelry pieces from luxury designers like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari at competitive prices. Shop now for the perfect statement piece without breaking the bank!