Gold has been considered a vital part of humanity’s history for thousands of years. Gold has an inimitable collection of qualities that include its beautiful metallic yellow hue, its eternal luster, and strange malleability.
Because of its unique collections and rarity, it attracting, Religious Authorities in past times and has always been economically relevant.
The term “real gold” does not necessarily means that a piece of jewelry is made of pure gold. The people who are most interested in buying jewelry, know least about gold’s qualities and chemistry.
However, if you are wondering whether your gold is real or not, this post will show you the list of tests that can be conducted by any layman.
Warning: Keep in mind that these tests are not designed to test the kind of gold quality or content of a certain piece of jewelry.
It is also recommended that you test your gold piece using several of the methods presented here, as fake gold pieces can sometimes replicate several aspects and qualities of real gold.
The Smell Test: Ideal For Small Gold Jewelry Pieces
This test is easiest and quickest to do but is not a reliable way to tell whether gold is real or not. Even if your jewelry passes this test, it can still be fake gold.
This test can be done in 3 easy steps:
- First, make sure that your hands are slightly sweaty, then place your gold jewelry of choice in the palm of your hand.
- Then place your other hand over it, and briskly rub your hands together with your jewelry between them.
- Finally, smell it by placing your nose close to your palms. If it does not smell like anything special, then your jewelry has passed the test. Otherwise, if it smells like coins, then it is fake jewelry.
The smell is because of brass as it is one of the cheap metal which is used in the making of fake gold jewelry. Since brass is much more reactive than gold, and hence produces a characteristic acidic smell when coming in contact with air. If your gold exhibits the same smell, then it is not real gold or at least not pure gold.
The Fire Test: Burning To Test Jewellery
This test is conducted on an 18 carat piece. If it is performed on a piece with a purity value lower than 18k, then the result may not be consistent. This is an easy test to do in the following steps:
- Firstly, make sure that you have a lighter, which is properly filled with lighter fluid and produces a constant flame that’s not very small.
- Now, hang your jewelry on a piece of metal or any other tool that won’t melt with some heat. You can also carefully hold it using pliers covering the ends of the pliers with tape, so minimize the risk of jewelry damage.
- Finally, keep the flame on a gold piece for about a minute. If the metal starts to get darker and darker, then it is not actual gold.
Real, pure gold will not get darken and will get bright hot after a while when exposed to flame. Fake gold pieces such as pieces made of brass, iron will darken when exposed to fire.
Caution: Do Not Expose your jewelry to strong flames such as that of a blowtorch. As you can damage your jewelry piece by using anything stronger than a lighter.
The Density Test: Use Water To Test Density
This is a decent way to tell if your gold jewelry is real without the risk of damaging it.
Follow these steps:
- Firstly, you need to know about the weight of your piece in grams. This requires a small, sensitive scale or you can ask a jeweler to do it.
- Secondly, take a vial that is big enough to hold your gold piece in it and fill it with water. Make sure vial is not filled to the top, but only enough to submerge your gold piece in water completely. It will be good if the vial comes with measuring lines on it.
- Now place your gold piece in the vial with water. Note the difference in the water level before and after you put the gold piece in and calculate the difference between the two measurements.
Then comes the math part where you have to calculate the density of your gold piece by using this formula:
Density = mass/volume displacement.
A value close to 19 g/ml indicates that your jewelry piece is either gold or a material with a density that is close to gold.
Gold pieces of different purity have different density ratios, use these values as guidelines to find out:
- 14K gold – 12.9 to 14.6 g/ml
- 18K yellow gold – 15.2 to 15.9 g/ml
- 18K white gold – 14.7 to 16.9 g/ml
- 22K gold – 17.7 to 17.8 g/ml
Warning: This test only works for gold jewelry only. Any attached jewels or parts that aren’t made of gold can make the result inconsistent.
The Magnet Test: Use A Powerful Neodymium Magnet
To perform this test, you will need a neodymium magnet which is a rare earth magnet. These magnets are not the common type of magnets that you can find easily.
They are made of special alloys which give them incredible power. A neodymium magnet is preferred, as they are affordable, and are readily available online.
- Now to test your jewelry, simply touch the magnet on it. If the jewelry is attracted to the magnet (even if just a little), then it is not gold.
- Keep in mind that if only part of your jewelry is made of gold, it may still get attracted due to the parts that are not made of gold.
- Remember, there are some non-magnetic elements that can be used to make fake gold and hence there are chances that if your jewelry piece does not get attracted to the magnet, it may not be gold.
CAUTION: Handle the magnet with cares neodymium magnets that are larger than just a few centimeters are quite powerful, and if a body part gets pinched between a magnet and a highly magnetic metal part or another magnet, serious injury can occur.
The Ceramic Test: Unglazed Ceramic Tile
It is advised that you should use this method after trying all other methods and are still in doubt whether your jewelry is made of actual gold or not. This test can scratch or damage your gold piece if it is done improperly and may require repair.
This test is simple and can be done in seconds. Follow the steps:
- To do this you need an unglazed piece of ceramic, such as a plate.
- First, simply pick your gold piece and carefully drag it across the unglazed ceramic surface, so to create a streak on it.
- If the streak is dark-colored, that means your piece is not made of gold, and if it is a gold streak, then it is genuine.
As said before, a skilled craftsman may be able to replicate most qualities of real gold using other elements, so even if your piece passes a few of these tests, its always better to conduct others, just to make sure. The more tests it passes, the more likely it is to be genuine gold.
There are some other tests as well, but they require some special materials or tools, but it is always better to have a professional test your gold piece.