Gold is a precious metal, and it one of the safest investment options available out there. If ever you are in need of some cash, you can always sell your gold jewellery. But before you take your valuable possession (gold jewellery or gold coins) to the goldsmith to ascertain its true value, you must find out whether the gold that you own is really ‘gold’ or just some random metal with a gold plating. It’s always wise to check the authenticity of gold metal. You can also test the authenticity of metal at home. We shall acquaint you with some simple ways to identify whether the gold you possess is real or fake.
How to Check Whether Your Gold Jewellery is Real or Not
Here are some simple tests that you can conduct to find out whether the gold jewellery or gold coin that you own is real gold or not.
1. The Nitric Acid Test
One of the easiest ways of establishing whether your ornament is made of pure gold or not is by running a nitric acid test on it. All you need to do is scrape a small section of your jewellery with a nail filer, (preferably the part that remains hidden when you wear the jewellery). Fill a dropper with nitric acid. Gently drop few drops on the scraped part of the jewellery. If the colour of the jewellery does not change at all, it is probably pure gold. But if the colour changes and you see a tinge of green on it, then the jewellery is not made of real gold. Nitric acid does not react with real gold. But it reacts with other alloys such as copper, zinc, sterling silver, etc. You will need to be careful while conducting this test. Conduct this test in a properly ventilated room, and wear gloves and mask.
2. The Bite Test
Biting a gold ornament is another way to test its authenticity. Bite any gold ornament of yours. If it is made of real gold, you will see your bite marks or indents of your teeth marks on it. As gold is a soft metal, you will be able to see your teeth marks. However, exercise caution while doing this test – do not damage your teeth in the process.
3. The Visual Test
You can also identify the authenticity of a gold ornament or jewellery by looking for a hallmark or other authenticity marks on it. The hallmark stamp is mostly placed on the clasp of a chain or bracelet, or inside the inner band of the ring. The purity of gold is expressed in carats like 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K or 10K. The higher the carat weight of the jewellery, the purer it is. Sometimes, due to normal wear and tear, you may not be able to see the mark clearly, in such a situation, you can use a magnifying glass to see it. Alternatively, you can look for the signs of discolouration on your jewellery. If you wear a pure gold ornament, its colour would never change. But if you wear fake gold jewellery, then you will notice the discolouration in it.
4. The Ceramic Plate Test
This is also an effective way of finding out the purity of your gold jewellery. All you need to conduct this test is an unglazed ceramic plate. Simply take your jewellery and drag it along the surface of the plate. As you drag the piece of your jewellery, if you notice a black streak on the place, it indicates that what you own is not real gold. But if there are no marks on the plate, then your ornament is made of pure gold. While doing this test, make sure you drag the piece of jewellery gently, as excess pressure may damage your jewellery.
5. The Magnet Test
A simple way to find out if your gold jewellery is made of real gold or not is by running a magnet test on it. For that, procure a good magnet. Buy a strong magnet from a hardware store. Place your jewellery close to that magnet. The metal gold is not attracted to a magnet. But if your gold jewellery attracts to the magnet, then it may not be made of real gold. If your jewellery does not attract to a magnet, then it’s good. However, it cannot be said for sure that it will be made of pure gold because there are other metals also that are used to make fake jewellery, which are non-magnetic in nature.
6. The Heaviness Test
Gold is a heavy and dense metal. Therefore, one of the effective ways of establishing its authenticity is by checking its heaviness or density. Take a bucket of water and drop your gold jewellery in it; if it is made of real gold, it will sink. However, if the jewellery floats, then the chances are that your gold jewellery might be fake. Also, gold does not rust when it comes in contact with water; however, fake gold may rust on coming in contact with water.
Apart from these tests, there are other ways of determining the purity of gold. Fake jewellery may leave marks on your skin or irritate your skin, but that is not true for pure gold. Another way of knowing is by running a sound test. It is assumed that pure metals like gold make tingling, high-pitched sound as opposed to fake metals that have a short and dull sound.
There are many ways to test for the purity of gold. You can also run any of the tests mentioned above to check whether your jewellery is real or fake. However, the best way to know the purity of your gold is by taking it to an authorised metal consultant or a certified jeweller.