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How to Tell If Your Gold Is Real: Follow These Steps

How to Tell If Your Gold Is Real: Follow These Steps

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How to Tell If Your Gold Is Real: Follow These Steps

Gold is a commodity that will never go out of style. The problem is that gold is so stylish and holds its value so well that many try to take cheaper materials to either mimic gold or mix materials with just a touch of gold to make a cheaper but semi-authentic piece of jewelry. While even the best real gold jewelry won't be 100% pure gold (it is necessary to mix with some metals to make it durable enough for day-to-day use), gold-plated jewelry and gold-mimicking jewelry is of considerably less value than real gold.

But do you know how to tell if gold is real? While at-home tests won't be able to tell you with 100% accuracy whether a piece of gold jewelry is authentic, it can help give you a better idea. Get started today with the following guide:

Follow These Steps to Check If Your Gold Is Real

  • Float or density test. This is the easiest test to do and is an ideal starting place for testing gold jewelry. All you need to do is drop the gold in a bowl or bucket of water. Because gold has a high density, it will naturally sink to the bottom of the bowl. In contrast, fake gold jewelry will often have a lower density and will either float to the surface or only partially sink. 
  • Magnet test. If you still aren't sure after the float test, then a magnet test is the next best move and a great choice for testing jewelry you suspect may have a mid to high percentage of gold. For this test, use a high-strength magnet and place it in front of the jewelry. If the jewelry moves quickly toward the magnet, then it is comprised of fake gold. If you get a slight reaction, then the jewelry is comprised of gold but in a small percentage. Only true gold jewelry will have no reaction at all to a high-grade magnet. 
  • Nitric acid. Only use this test on jewelry you aren't sentimental about or jewelry you are determined to sell or otherwise exchange. That's because this test will require you to make a tiny scratch on the to-be-tested jewelry. A small drop of nitric acid should then be applied to that scratch. If the scratched area turns green, then what you have is comprised of some type of fake gold. If the scratched area turns a milky white color, then what you have is comprised of sterling silver. And if there is no reaction or discoloration, then congrats, you have a genuine gold piece of jewelry!

Second Guessing Yourself? Take Your Gold Jewelry to the Pros

While these are great at-home steps, the only way to 100% know if a piece of gold is real is to take it to a professional. Our team at Ralph Mueller & Associates has decades of experience sifting between fake gold and real. Bring your jewelry to us for a quick assessment on the true value of your gold jewelry.