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Is Your Gold Real? Here are 6 Ways to Tell

Is Your Gold Real? Here are 6 Ways to Tell

Gold bangles, gold hoop earrings, gold chain necklaces. These gold treasures are so in demand that it seems as though fashion isn't complete without them. In some sense, that's true. Gold jewelry has become such a fashion staple that it can almost go with any outfit you decide to wear. However, can you identify real gold jewelry? Now, you may ask, "How do you know if gold is real?" Here are some tips to help you know how to tell if gold is real. These tests are easy, doable, and will surely teach you the difference between real and fake gold jewelry.

We always hear the same tale over and over again: seeing that gold jewelry was love at first sight. The trinket looked perfect with every dress, every outfit you decide to wear. For a time, you thought that you had authentic gold jewelry -- until it made your skin look green. Now, isn't that frustrating? Who wants some green mark on their skin? No one. That's why before you go hoarding all of the gold accessories, you must first need to know how to tell if gold is real. Here are some of the easiest ways you can do it:

1. Visual check

It all starts with truly looking at your gold pieces. At first glance, of course, you will not always know if what you have is real or fake gold jewelry. However, if you do these thorough visual checks, you can get a hunch of authentic gold and imitation gold.

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a. Look for specific markings

A piece of authentic gold jewelry has markings on it that either indicates its fineness or its karat. Using a magnifying glass, you may see its fineness rating (usually 1-999 or .1-.999) or its karat rating (the popular 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, and 24k). It is required of jewelers to place markings on specific blings to guide the buyer. Thoroughly look for this marking to help assure you that what you have is the real deal. A little warning though, although of true gold quality, some older pieces may lose their markings due to wear. Counterfeit gold jewelry also has some imitation markings that can even fool you; don't rely entirely on this test alone.

b. Discoloration Marks

Look closely at your gold piece. Observe thoroughly. Are there obvious signs of discoloration? Does the striking streak of gold fade out around the areas where it tends to get most friction, specifically the edges? If you observe that indeed, there are discoloration marks, you may only have a piece of gold-plated jewelry that will eventually lose its beautiful gold coating sometime soon. An authentic gold piece will remain true to its luscious, shiny color. Good thing, though, once you discover that your gold is only another metal coated in yellow, you can always have it gold plated again.

c. Scratches

"Gold on the Surface" is the popular name for only gold-plated jewelry pieces. Lately, imitation jewelry has become so expert in their craft that it can almost copy the look of authentic gold. However, by using the "scratch test," you will tell if you are getting the real deal. With just enough scratching, the gold-plated metal will start to show up. Real gold pieces will remain to look gold all through the surface. Be careful with conducting this test, though, as you may affect the authentic jewelry's look.

2. Bite Test

"I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies." This famous line from Lorde's song "Royals" is a tribute to a long-standing tradition of testing if the gold is real: through biting it. We always see movie characters do this while checking the authenticity of gold. Olympic athletes also have a tradition of biting their gold medals. This is a very popular technique, but is biting gold jewelry an effective way to tell if it is real?

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a. Bite with Moderation

Gold is a very malleable metal. By malleable, we mean that it can easily bend, scratch, and mold. The first step and first caution to this test are to bite through your gold jewelry with moderation. Too much biting can also disfigure or cause ugly marks to your favorite gold jewelry. Bite with caution to avoid further damage. Some imitation gold jewelry has strong metals, so you may damage your teeth if you bite through the jewelry hard.

b. Look for Teeth Marks

Since gold, as we mentioned, is a malleable metal, a bite will surely leave marks on it. Check your gold if you can see marks of your teeth. If you do see some, it's proof that you have real gold. The deeper the bite mark, the purer your gold is. However, this test comes with a caution. It was found out that gold plated lead can be softer than real gold. You can do this test, but make sure that you keep a level of professional skepticism and still look for other ways to test your precious metal.

3. Magnet test

This is one of the easiest tests you can do for your gold jewelry. However, you cannot always be sure of this method's results because this can also yield different results. When conducting the magnet test, don't go for the typical fridge magnet because it will not. Instead, look for stronger magnets found in hardware stores or the ones found in the ladies' purse. You need a stronger magnet to get the best result from this method.

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a. In this test, you have to know first that gold is not a magnetic metal. It will not stick to the magnet no matter what. So if you hold the magnet close to the jewelry and the jewelry sticks onto it, you probably have fake gold in your hands. However, take caution because some of the imitation jewelry also use non-magnetic metals. Opt to use other methods, too, for a surer answer.

4. Density Test

One quality of the gold metal is that it is one of the densest metal out there. Only very few metals can beat gold at this. In fact, gold tends to sink when dropped in a glass of water because of its density. Measuring the density of your yellow gold jewelry will also help you distinguish real gold vs. fake gold. 24k jewelry weights 19 grams/ml. If your jewelry comes in a higher density than this, you have a much purer gold metal. When conducting this test, ensure that there are no gems and other embellishments not to affect the results.

The first option you should do is to take the weight of your gold. A jeweler can do this for you for free. Once weight's taken, fill a measuring vial with water. Make sure there are measuring marks you can take reference from later. Drop your jewelry. See how much water it has displaced based on the measuring marks. Compute the density of your jewelry by following the equation: Density = Mass/Water Displacement. For example, if your jewelry weighs 38 grams and displaced 2 millimeters, your density would be 19g/ml.

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5. Ceramic Plate test

Another way of testing gold jewelry is through the ceramic plate test. Just a heads up, your ceramic plate may end up being scratched. What you need to do is to purchase an unglazed ceramic plate from your local store. Set your gold jewelry on the plate. Drag the gold jewelry across the plate and observe the mark it leaves. Once you see a black streak, you have fool's gold. If it leaves a gold mark, you have the real thing.

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6. Nitric Acid Test

Although this is one of the surest ways to tell if you have the real thing inside your jewelry box, this comes with a couple of limits: first, nitric acid is quite a hard chemical to find, and second, a lot of risks come with this so better let a trusted jeweler do this for you, so you don't put you and your jewelry in jeopardy.

In the nitric acid test, the authenticity of gold is based on the color it produces. Place your gold jewelry on a stainless steel plate. Don't forget to wear protective glasses as this test can produce fumes. Next, leave a few drops of nitric acid to the jewelry. If the metal turns green, it is base metal. However, if it turns to gold, it is a gold plated brass. If it yields a milky reaction, that's gold-plated sterling silver. No reaction at all means you have the real gold.

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Telling the difference between real gold and fake gold may not be easy the first time you look at them, but there will always be ways to help distinguish the two. You deserve the best deal out of your money, so let these tips help you avoid gold scammers. If you're looking for affordable real gold, check out IceCarats.com's collections. Don't sit there waiting. Keep sparkling, darling!

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