How to test gold at home to see if it’s real or fake? :- Currently, there are still many people who are still learning and want to know how to distinguish between genuine and fake gold. This curiosity starts from the very high value of gold and is often claimed to be more stable than the value of currencies.
Long ago, gold investment has also been rife. At that time, the easiest way to find out the difference between real or imitation gold was by biting. If the gold is easy to bite then the gold is real.
Meanwhile, if it feels hard, it is certain that the gold is fake. However, before knowing what is the variation between real and fake gold, you should first know what is pure gold.
In general, pure gold is normally calculated in carat sizes. Real pure gold usually has 24-carat content. However, there is still other pure gold that has different contents, such as gold with a size of 22 carats.
What is the difference between real or fake gold?
The definition of real gold here is pure gold or 100% gold. This precious metal is actually rather soft. When made jewelry will reduce its durability. Therefore, craftsmen usually mix it with other metals.
For example silver, lead or bronze. When it is mixed, of course, the gold content of the item decreases. For example only 70%, 80%, 90%, and so on. This unit of content is usually called rust.
And pure gold equals to 24 carats. The less gold the cheaper the price of the gold jewelry. If it’s very little, you could say fake gold, especially if it doesn’t contain gold at all? It’s called imitation gold.
Ways to distinguish between real and fake gold
For matters of gold investment in quite a large amount, there is still a sense of worry in the minds of the public regarding the authenticity of the gold bought.
Especially for those who are still beginners, of course, there will be doubts if the gold they buy is fake gold so they lack the confidence to start investing.
Actually, it’s easy and difficult to be able to distinguish between real gold and fake. Especially if you really have never owned or even bought gold before.
Therefore, here are ways by which you can differentiate between real and fake gold:
Pay attention to the physical feature
The easiest way to distinguish fake and real gold is by looking at its physical features. Usually, there is a pure gold stamp that indicates the level of gold. Usually, the gold content uses units of fineness (1-999 or 0.1-0.999).
The commonly known is the carat unit in numbers 10K, 18K, or 24K. If gold is already in the form of jewelry, observe the surface especially the inside. Maybe the writing is very small so you need a magnifying glass.
Testing this official sign does not always produce a conclusion, that your gold is genuine or fake. However, you should still check the official sign that is printed on the gold. Because at this time almost all real gold has a mark of the purity of the gold.
For American gold, the sign of purity is written in rust. For example, 10K which means 10 carats, or 24K which means 24 carats. The higher the value of carat, the purer the gold. 10 carats is the lowest carat, and 24 carats is the highest carat.
As for European gold, the sign of purity listed states the gold content so that it is written in decimal numbers, for example. 585 which means 58.5% pure gold, or .999 which states 99.9% pure gold.
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The absence of this mark does not always prove that your gold is fake. Because, this gold could be the old model gold, which no longer has this mark. And vice versa, with this sign, does not fully guarantee that the gold is real gold. Therefore some further testing is needed.
Gold weight test
Gold is one of the densest metals, with physical properties that are very difficult to imitate. This means that for every metal used to mimic gold, it is likely that the mass will be much smaller.
Fake gold with the same thickness and diameter as real gold will feel lighter. In simple words, if the gold has a weight that feels light, then it can be said that the gold is fake.
Conversely, if heavy, we can be sure the gold is authentic. Knowing the weight, diameter, and thickness of gold will allow you to identify which is real and fake. For this purpose, you can go to the shop which you know.
At this time each gold shop has been equipped with a special tool that is prepared to measure and determine the real or fake gold. But to test it, make sure you are accompanied by a professional who is already accustomed to measuring gold by feeling the weight.
If you rub, does the color change?
Feel free to try to hold the gold you are buying, then try to rub the surface of the gold using your palm or index finger. If after rubbing the color becomes faded and not uniform, be sure it is fake gold, and vice versa.
Test the authenticity of the gold purchased by biting
Maybe you often see old people checking whether or not real gold by biting it. This method seems strange, but of course, there are reasons why they do it.
The purer the gold, the softer the gold! Gold is a soft precious metal, so it is easy to shape. If the seller offers gold with high levels, then you can check whether or not the gold is easy to bite. Because the higher the level of rust, the gold will be increasingly soft.
The easiest way to find out the original and fake gold is to bite the surface of the gold. If after being bitten there are bite marks left behind, that means it is real gold. Look at the depth of the bite marks as well.
The deeper the bite marks, the purer the gold. However, it is highly recommended that you do not rush to buy it. Because it could be the material that makes up the fake gold is tin, because tin is also included in the soft metal group.
In addition, you can’t do this with gold jewelry. Because gold jewelry has been mixed with other metals to make it durable and strong.
Test with sound
Try tapping real gold with coins. Real gold will make a long, high-pitched ringing sound when it collides with other metals, while imitation gold or other metals will make the sound much shorter. To test this sound, it is not easy, it takes careful hearing.
Test Using Nitric Acid
Basically, real gold will not react with nitric acid. This solution will only react with other metal materials, such as silver, copper, and zinc. To test gold using nitric acid, you can try the following steps.
- First, make a small scratch on the gold in an invisible area. Then use a dropper to dab a little nitric acid onto the scratch. If there is no reaction, then the possibility that the gold is genuine is greater, although it does not guarantee that the gold is authentic. Because there are also other types of metals that do not react with nitric acid.
- But, if gold reacts, it is very likely that the gold is not authentic, or consists of a mixture of other metals, whose levels are too large.
- If a golden yellow reaction appears, then that is a sign of gold-plated brass metal. If the reaction is green, the metal is gold-plated iron. And if what appears is the color of milk, then the metal is gold-plated silver.
However, you should consider this method again if you do not want jewelry or gold damaged. This test is better to be used only for business purposes. Because the corrosive nature of this acid solution can damage and reduce the aesthetic value of your gold that is not made of pure gold.
In addition, you also need to be careful when doing this test because it involves acids. For safety, be sure to use gloves and glasses.
This magnetic test is quite easy to do because all you need is a magnet. All you need to do is just aim the magnet at the gold you want to test. Make sure the magnets you use are strong magnets.
You need to know that gold is not a magnetic object. So, if the gold you have is attracted by a magnet, you can be sure that the gold is fake. Real gold will not work with magnets.
But still, if the gold is not attracted toward the magnet, it still doesn’t fully guarantee that your gold is real gold, because it could be made from other materials, such as aluminum.
Ceramic or Paper Test
The risk of using this method is that your gold may be scratched. However, if you still want to try, then simply rub the gold onto the surface of the ceramic or paper.
If a black line or scratch appears on the ceramic, then that is a sign that the gold is fake. But if friction does not cause a scratch, then it is likely that the gold is authentic. For example, metals, if you swipe the metal onto the surface of the paper, black streaks will appear.
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But if it’s real gold, no black streaks will appear. Gold shops often use this method ( gold test with stone), because it feels quite effective.
Skin Color Change Test
You can check whether the gold you have is fake by observing changes in skin color that comes in contact with the gold. To do this, hold the gold in your hand for a few minutes.
If gold is fake, the sweat produced by the skin will react with the gold. This reaction will cause discoloration of the skin, can be black or green. However, if no reaction is generated, the gold might be authentic.
Test with vinegar
Take small dishes and pour vinegar into it. Now place the gold ornament. If the metal is real, nothing will happen to it. The fake will darken within two minutes.
Any discoloration (brownish, gray, etc.) implies that the object is not almost pure gold (9-carat gold, for example, is absolutely not pure). Vinegar can, therefore, be used as a free and quick method for the jewelry of 18 carats or more.
However, this method has its limits; a change in color demonstrates that it is a forgery, but an absence of change is not enough to demonstrate that it is gold.
With lighter or match
Approach the flame of a lighter or match to an area of the gold piece for one minute. The reaction of the piece of jewelry to the heat will give us the key, since, if it does not darken and is only hot, it is that it is pure gold.
If it should melt or any other alteration occurs it is because it is plated or the jewel is made of another metal.
Lemon is a citrus fruit that is known for its acidic effect, and this particularity is what allows it to be determined, with its juice, whether the jewel in front of it is gold or not. To check it, you just have to do the following:
- cut a lemon and squeeze a few drops on the piece.
- clean it with a white cloth and if it turns black, it is not gold.
- If it is gold, the cloth would be clean.
Baking soda is another product that can be used to know if a jewel is a gold. Anyway, it is not useful by itself, but you have to mix it with a little lemon. Mix the two products and carry out the same steps as with the lemon.
If it is gold it will not undergo any alteration. If any change occurs it is definitely not gold.
The odor test which is ideal for gold coins especially
The smell that we seek to detect is that given off by the coins when they are held for a while in the hands. First, to perform this test, your hands must be slightly sweaty.
Then put the piece of jewelry between the palms of your hands and rub vigorously to see if you detect any odor. If it doesn’t smell of anything special, then the accessory has passed the test. If it smells like coins, then chances are it is fake.
Measure the density
Gold has the distinction of being a very dense metal. For the next test, make sure that your gold jewelry does not contain any precious stones.
- Weigh your jewel in gold
- Fill a container with water and note the water level. Do not fill to the brim, as the water level will rise when you immerse your jewel in the water. It is preferable to use a marked or measuring cylinder to be able to read and memorize the level before and after the immersion of the object.
- Put your gold jewelry in the container filled with water. Observe and note the new water level.
- Calculate the difference between the two levels and use the formula: Density = mass / Volume moved. Below shows the density of gold with the carats.
- 24 carats- 19g / ml
- 22 carats- 17.7 to 17.8 g / ml
- 18 carat yellow -15.2 to 16.9 g / ml
- 18 carat white-14.7 to 16.9 g / ml
- 14 carats-12.9 to 14.6 g / ml
The trusted jeweler
The expert eye sees things that the inexperienced eye of a layperson cannot see. If you do not trust the home methods, and you do not intend to alter or spoil your gold just to find out if it is gold or metal, it is best that you take it to your trusted jeweler.
They will study it, do their own tests, and will be able to guide you on the true value of your jewel.
How can gold be distinguished from gold plating or copper counterfeiting?
Each of the above methods is relevant to sincere counterfeiting. But how can you tell if another metal is hidden under a thin layer of gold and doesn’t give out gilding for the pure product? The presence of the sample has not long indicated the validity of the metal, so we turn to practical tests.
- First, look at the decoration, it should not be scratched and the surface should be perfectly smooth.
- If you notice slight damage, the decoration is probably gilded and the real metal is just a lock.
- If everything is clean, grab the jewelry for the inconspicuous stain. In such a test, the gold will remain intact, but the gilding will lag slightly and another metal will be exposed.
- An excellent way to distinguish gold from a counterfeit is a lapis pencil. This medical device interacts perfectly and oxidizes metals and can be purchased at any pharmacy. Slightly penetrate the product and give water. Now you need to do scraping with a pencil. All metals except gold will darken.
- Take a closer look at the shadow of the product. Deviations from the usual gold color indicate a large number of impurities.
- Before you buy jewelry, you need to know its usual price. If the price of the product is too low, the likelihood of counterfeiting increases significantly.
How can white gold be distinguished from silver?
White gold like yellow gold has also been gaining a reputation in the market now. This is due to the fact that such metal is distinguished by special refining. Not surprisingly, the market has been flooded with counterfeits of less precious metals. So to differentiate between white gold and silver are:
- First, look at the color of the product. Silver has a cooler shade. A good test method is a paper test. If scratch on a silver product, it will be an almost imperceptible trace, white gold will not leave any trace at all. It also helps to differentiate precious metal tests by doing the tests with iodine, vinegar, magnet and lapis pencils as mentioned above.
- The main difference between these two materials is their composition, gold jewelry is made from this same material and some whitish metal, while silver is combined with copper. Thus, another of its characteristics is that silver darkens over time and loses its shine, while gold remains shiny and always pearly.
- Gold accessories have a stronger shine than silver ones, being a characteristic that you can notice with the naked eye.
- The jewels made from white gold usually have some marks hidden there, the silver ones have fixed the number 925, which means silver by law, while the gold has the karat number marked.
- This is the most obvious, and it is that if the accessory has a high price this is because it can be made of a highly valuable material such as gold, silver usually does not have such a high cost.
- One of the best-known tricks to test if a jewel is really made of white gold is using a resource as simple as a sheet of paper. Take the ring or accessory that you suspect is gold and run it over the paper. If it doesn’t leave any type of mark or color: it is white gold. But if it leaves silver or black stain it is silver.
How to check if it is white gold or stainless steel?
The use of stainless steel has spread worldwide due to various factors. The main thing is its lower cost than white or yellow gold and silver, plus its durability.
Stainless steel has certain benefits that make it more attractive and safe today. It is unalterable, its shine is eternal, it does not cause skin allergies, it does not require complex care, its hardness makes it more durable over time.
It can easily be mistaken for the eye with white gold, but it is heavier, even when it is 316L steel (surgical steel), recommended for jewelry as it is lighter than others.
Gold whether white or yellow is the precious metal that we are very fond of buying in the form of jewelry or bars or coins. It is very easy that you get tricked by fake gold so follow the methods that have been mentioned above and check at home easily whether you have been cheated or not.
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