How To Tell If Gold Is Real Or Fake? Guide To Finding The Perfect Purity | Kidadl


How To Tell If Gold Is Real Or Fake? Guide To Finding The Perfect Purity

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Gold has been around for ages, and it is considered one of the most precious metals.

For thousands of years, human civilizations have made use of gold in their architecture, currency (gold coins), art, ornamental objects, and gold jewelry. Gold across the world is renowned for its association with beauty, power, and wealth. Its property of malleability and resistance to tarnishing is just the cherry on the top.

In the history of gold, it is considered to be the harbinger of prosperity and development in human societies. Gold was the first metal we discovered. It was found in its natural state, in the form of shining nuggets, on the bottom of a river bed. In those days, gold was found abundantly all across the world in river streams. If we go back millennia when gold wasn't treated as money or commodity, many Indians, Egyptians, Chinese and other cultures went to war in their quest for gold, because it had intrinsic value like no other.

It was during 700 B.C when gold was first treated as money (gold coins) by Lydian merchants who just stamped lumps of mixed gold known as electrum. But how do you tell if a piece of gold jewelry is real gold or gold plated? And in the worst circumstances, how can you tell if gold is fake? In this article, we have discussed the difference between pure gold, fake gold, and plated gold and the steps to testing gold. Read on so you can easily test gold at home!

You may also be interested in these fun fact articles about how to erase pen and how to float in water.

Real Gold vs Fake Gold

Today, gold is highly valued and is considered a precious metal. But with such popularity and value of a gold item, there is a lot of forgery. You may be relieved to know that accurately forging gold jewelry or any other item is very difficult, and you can easily tell the difference between real and fake gold if you knows where to look.

There are gold testing methods like the hallmark test, the acid and stone test, the earth magnet test, electronic gold testers, the XRF test, the ceramic test, and the float test. For a professional opinion, you can also go to a certified jeweler to test the purity of real gold.

One common difference between real and fake gold is the amount of gold used to make the item. Any piece of gold with less than 41.7 % or 10 karats gold is fake. Karat is a measure of the purity of gold. One karat gold is 1/24th part of pure gold in an alloy. The weight of one karat gold is about 3.1 st (0.2 g).

Sometimes real gold is not even used to produce fake gold items. Other metals like copper and brass are used to replace it. There are also gold-plated items available in the market. Gold plating means that the jewelry or item has a thin layer of gold (0.005% of real gold) on top of the base metal. Base metals can be copper, silver, brass, aluminum, or any other metal.

Real gold also has certain unique properties that set it apart from other metals. It is a good conductor of electricity. It doesn't tarnish, and can easily outlast copper and silver. It is non-magnetic. It is highly malleable and ductile and can be drawn into the thinnest of wire.

It is also a great reflector of heat and light. Did you know that an astronaut's visor has a thin coating of gold to reduce the glare of the sun?

Tests To Identify Fake Gold

From these tests, you can easily test gold and tell if something is gold-plated, pure gold, or not. However, there are no 100% accurate household tests to detect whether gold is real or not. You can instead use a combination of the following methods for a more accurate result.

The first mark of authenticity can be detected from hallmarks and marking tests. In most authentic gold jewelry, there will always be an engraved hallmark that identifies the manufacturers.The hallmark will be a number under the Karat system or the Millesimal Fineness system which identifies the purity of real gold. No hallmarks mean it is not real gold. In some jewelry, there might be certain markings such as GP, GF, GE, and GEP. These markings mean that the jewelry is fake. GP (gold-plated) and GF (gold-filled) are the most common.

Another easy way to test is via skin test. If your jewelry leaves a green mark or any other stain on your skin after it comes in contact with your skin sweat, it means it is made up of other metals. Gold is resistant to tarnish and will not react with skin sweat. However, metals might take some time to visibly react with the sweat on your skin.

The third test is the magnet test. Gold is non-magnetic which means that it is not attracted to any magnet. So, if you hold up a strong magnet and your jewelry is attracted to the magnet, it is likely to be fake.

The fourth test is the float test. Real gold has a high density. The density of gold is 0.68 oz/in3 (19.3 g/cm3). It is ranked as the densest metal on Earth. It is classified as a heavy metal because each of its atoms is heavy on its own. The weight of a standard gold bar is 27.4 lb (12.4 kg).If you drop your real gold jewelry in water, it won't float due to its high density. The weight of gold is 19 times more than the equal volume of water.

Another easy test is the ceramic scratch test. Simply take an unglazed ceramic plate and scrape it with your jewelry or item. Real gold will leave a golden streak while any other metal will leave a black streak.

You can also tell if gold is real with vinegar. Just a few drops of vinegar can visibly react with metal. Real gold will cause no change.

Gold bar and coins.

How to tell if gold is real with bleach?

Testing your jewelry for authentic gold might actually damage it in the process, especially in the case of bleach. There are several other ways you can test your jewelry and bleach should be your last option if you value your jewelry. It is not a conclusive method to test your gold.

Real gold doesn't react to bleach but gold-plated metals and other metals or stones cause a visible reaction and will damage your jewelry beyond repair. Therefore, you must proceed with caution.

You should use plain chlorine bleach (not a colorfast or scented one) and pour a little in a glass bowl. The next step, scrape the surface of the jewelry (deeply scratch if you suspect it is gold plated) and dip it in the bleach. At first, you might notice little bubbles and if there are any color changes on the item or in the bleach solution, your item is not real gold. It might be either gold-plated or other metal.

Keep in mind that the reaction may be very subtle, so you may need to observe it very closely. After your experiment, rinse the item thoroughly under cold running water so the bleach cannot do any further damage.

How to test gold with baking soda?

You cannot test the authenticity of gold with baking soda alone. The baking soda test is part of the nitric acid test. You must take precautions while testing with acid and conduct the experiment in a ventilated area while wearing protective gloves and eyewear.

There are many gold testing acid kits available for purchase in the market according to each karat. In the acid kit, each bottle contains a mixture of nitric acid and other chemicals. For this method, you will need a black stone, your gold item, and two bowls. One bowl will have a baking soda and water solution, and the other will have plain water.

Now, take your item and make parallel markings (lines) on the black stone. After the markings, take the lowest karat acid and apply it over the lines and wait for approximately 30 seconds. Rinse the stone with baking soda and water solution and lastly, with plain water and pat dry with a paper towel or tissue paper.

If you observe that the line has dissolved, it signifies low purity or possibly gold plated. If there is only a slight reaction but the line hasn't dissolved, it means that your item matches the karat. If there is no reaction, your item is of higher karat and is pure gold.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how to tell if gold is real then why not take a look at how to tell if a diamond is real, or how to tell if silver is real.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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