how to tell if gold is real

How To Tell If Gold Is Real: Best Ways To Test Gold Purity

Everything that glitters is not gold! Having a metal with a goldish shine doesn’t indicate its purity, naturality, and clarity. Gold occupies a dominant place in precious metals and people consider it as a symbol of prestige, power, status, wealth, and immortality. Due to its value, many things entail its involvement such as jewelry, computer, mobile chips, and electric equipment. Making jewelry from gold has a long history. Archeologists have found that gold has been used for ornamental usage since 4000 BCE. Since it is considered the most valuable and beautiful metal in the world, this question can easily arise in the mind of how to tell if gold is real. 

Historical Background of Gold

how to tell if gold is real


Scientists and people of other fields have been using gold for thousands of years. People have different opinions regarding gold mining. Some researchers have found that mining began in 3,100 BCE by Egyptians. Other groups of archeological sites show that mining began 6,000 years ago in Ethiopia. Mines in Georgia and South Africa have a thousand years old history. In the recent period, the first gold extraction was documented in 1872 in Virginia in the USA. Nowadays, gold is not only used for jewelry, rather it is used as a financial commodity, electric equipment, and scientific product. 

Due to its prestige and value, buying gold is not quite simple. To buy this precious material either in the form of scrap or valuable things, people are curious about its various aspects. The questions like how to tell if gold is real, how to tell if jewelry is real gold, and how to tell if something is real gold, are important for buyers and users.

How to Tell If Gold Is Real: Some Important Things You Should Know

Without using any scientific task, if you can consider some important aspects to check the purity of gold. If you are going to buy a gold ornament or any other gold form, you use the following important points:

Always Look for Hallmarks

how to tell if gold is real


Checking for Hallmark is the safest way to identify your gold purity. Every country has different standards for hallmarks. In the USA, 24k or 24 karats gold is considered a bar of pure gold, whereas 12k or 12 karats gold is half pure gold. 

24k gold is not 100% pure rather it is a 99.9% pure form of gold. Its soft property at 24k restricts the jewelers and other users to make any precious item. Similarly,18k gold is 75% pure which comprises 25% of other metals.

The absence of hallmarks on gold jewelry and bars indicate fakeness and impurity. Before buying and searching for any gold item for you, analyze the standard hallmark sign. Hallmark may have disappeared due to constant touch of the gold items with your skin. In this case, you can use other methods to test your metal’s purity.

Check for Letter Mark

For answering the questions, how to tell if a ring is real gold or how to tell if jewelry is real gold, you can employ some other ways. Looking for a hallmark is an important aspect, besides which you can check for a letter mark on the gold item. If your gold jewelry or bar has the letters: GEP, GF, GE, HGP, or GP, you should avoid these items because these indicate the mixture of other metals in gold.

GEP indicates Gold Electro-Plated. GF reflects that item is Gold Filled, GE indicates Gold Electroplate item, HGP indicates Heavy Gold Plated, and GP indicates that the item is Gold Plated. These letters provide symbolic information that the whole jewel item is made of another material or metal with a thin layer of gold on the top.

Deep Check for the Gold Appearance

how to tell if gold is real


Without any scientific test, you can check your purchased gold and find the answer for how to tell if gold is real. For this, carefully analyze the color appearance of the jewelry. Mixed metal gold involves yellowish or reddish shine. If your metal shines naturally on goldfish, it indicates gold purity. You can make use of these important indicators to analyze the item’s fakeness or purity.

You can use these methods without using any scientific or electronic meter. Along with simple measures, different tests can be used to answer the important queries that always arise in your mind before buying and dealing in gold. An important query regarding gold is how to tell if the gold is real or mixed with other materials. 

Following are some important tests that you can apply for checking the yellow metal’s authenticity.

How to Tell If Gold Is Real: Some Significant Tests to Use

how to tell if gold is real


Different homemade and scientific tests are available that you can use to test your jewelry like necklaces, rings, watches, and other forms of gold bars. These include Acid tests, electric meter tests, mechanical tests, and others.  Let’s have a look at these tests:

The Fire Test: How to Tell If Gold Is Real with Lighter

This simple method is easy to use at home and at pawn shops. For this, you should follow some steps which are as follows:

  • First, make sure that you have a lighter with thinner fluid. Select a lighter producing consistent flame throughout the burning period. You can use ordinary disposable lighters, but these are not considered ideal. 
  • Hang your jewelry in such a way that any part would not bear any undesirable loss. You can hang it using pliers and cover the ends of jewelry with tape or similar material. Uncovering the ends may cause damage to your jewelry. 
  • Apply the lighter flame on the piece of gold for a minute or a little more. If your gold starts to get dark due to flame, it indicates the mixing of other materials with gold.

Pure gold shines even more brightly when kept in contact with fire. If your gold jewelry is gold plated, its upper layer may start melting to reveal the inner metal. With this simple test, you can tell if the gold is real or not.

Nitric Acid Test at Home or Lab

Nitric Acid test is a chemical test that you can carry out at your home or at a laboratory. You can apply this test to check gold fakeness or purity.

  • Find a place on your accessory or jewelry where you can make a scratch to test. 
  • Make a scratch on the top layer of jewelry. The Scratch should be deep enough to check the gold plating on other metals if any.
  • Apply a drop of Nitric acid on the scratch mark. If it turns into a green or milky shade, it indicates that metal is not natural gold. 

Pure gold material doesn’t react toward Nitric acid and its color remains the same. Hence, you can easily test whether your gold jewelry is real or not. Moreover, you can tell if the gold is real or has any impurity.

Weight and Size Test

how to tell if gold is real


To check gold coins and bars, the aforementioned tests may not be useful. For this, you can apply the weight and size tests. In this test:

  • Compare the standard-size gold bars and coins with your old bars. For this, you can use a set of pliers, jeweler’s scale, or Fisch Tester.
  • Generally, gold is denser than other metals. If your gold is too large and has a lighter weight, then it may be possible that you have impure gold.

Also Read: Is Gold Loan Cheaper Than Personal Loan? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Ceramic Tile Test 

With a simple ceramic tile, you can find whether your gold is real or not. It involves scratching the gold against a tile. If it gives black color fragments, it indicates the mixing of other metals with gold. 

For this text, buy an unglazed ceramic tile. Rub your gold piece against a tile. Stop rubbing when you see tiny crystals of gold.  If your jewelry is real, it will give a gold streak, otherwise, black color fragments.

Electronic Tests with Sigma Metalytics Machine

How to tell if the gold is real or how to tell if the jewelry is real gold? To answer these important questions, you have some simple home measures. Along with those measures, you can use mechanical tests. Sigma Metalytics Machine test is one among the common laboratory tests. 

The Sigma Metalytics verifiers check the accuracy of gold bars and coins. To test the gold jewelry, you can use Kee Gold Tester. In the Sigma Metalytics test, verifiers pass the electronic radiation to the layers of metals. Its meters indicate a set range of resistance levels that helps in the testing of accuracy.
In nutshell, to test the gold authenticity, various measures can be applied. These measures ensure that you have a pure piece of gold. With these tests, you can check the purity of gold. How to tell if gold is real always remains in the mind of gold users. Several homemade and laboratory tests such as Nitric acid test, weight and size test, ceramic tile test, and other laboratory tests are ideal famous to check the impurity of jewelry. With these tests, you can make yourself safe from fake gold.

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