Gold jewelry is expensive, especially these days. The high price of pure gold coupled with design, manufacture and distribution costs makes buying gold jewelry a luxury, AND a frequent target for gold fraud. To the inexperienced and trusting, it is easy to pass of a low karat gold as something higher, or even to pass off non-valuable metals as gold! The following tips can help you not to be swindled, and to test any gold that you currently own.

  1. Gold is not a magnetic metal, even when alloyed with other metals to produce various karats. If you hold a magnet to any metal presented as gold and the metal is attracted, then it certainly is NOT gold.
  2. If a piece of jewellery is only gold-coloured, then rubbing it for a few seconds with a jewelry cleaning cloth with remove the coloring, revealing the fake.
  3. If any of your “gold” jewelry leaves any discoloration on your skin after wearing it for a day, then it is very unlikely to be true gold. NOTE, if you have an allergic reaction to your jewellery, that does not necessarily mean the gold is fake. While an allergy to gold is extremely rare, allergies to the nickel used to alloy gold is more common.
  4. If still in doubt, take your items to a jeweller. A jeweller will perform a visual inspection, as well as other non-destructive tests (electronic gold testing and acid testing are the most common methods).
Don’t jump to conclusions based on color. Pure, unalloyed gold is a light gold colour and not sparkling shiny, but shades of gold from yellow to white to green are known, and various finishes and polishes will affect shininess.
Don’t necessarily trust a stamp. Just because some item is stamped 14K or 18K, doesn’t mean that it is that karat, or that it is even gold!

3 comments

  1. If the Jeweller performs an acid testing with my piece of Jewellery. Won’t the acid harm it? I mean even IF it’s not real gold, it still may be I Love it and do not want it to be destroyed.

    • Although acid is involved in the acid-scrape test, it is not applied directly to the jewellery piece.

      When an acid-scrape test is performed, the piece of gold jewellery is rubbed along a test stone to produce a “smear” of material on the stone. This does not result in any visible damage to the jewellery. Acid is then applied to the “smear” to test the karat of the gold – 18K acid will remove all but 18K gold, 14K acid will eat everything less than 14K gold, and so on.

      Hope this helps.

  2. acid testing would not harm the gold they will only need to rub a portion of the jewelry to a stone then puur some acid on the stone where the jewelry is rubbed if it does not washed out by the acid it is gold but if it do washed out it is fake :)

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