How to tell if Your Gold is Real or Fake

Posted by JewelryKind

Counterfeit jewelry is a huge problem, especially with the rise of technology. Thieves (yes, they ARE thieves, most of the time!) love to swindle people out of their hard-earned money by selling them fake gold products. Sometimes these pieces will be made from very poor quality gold, other times they will be gold-plated, and still other times they may not even have a flake of gold in the entire metal! “Fake” gold can cause allergic reactions and depreciate in value, so it’s important that you know how to buy and keep only real gold. Fortunately, you can also use technology to arm yourself against counterfeit jewelry.

Here are a few tips to make it easier to avoid fake gold:
1. Buyers, beware. When purchasing jewelry, especially jewelry that you obtain online or from a magazine, watch out for vague terms like “gold colored” or “gold tone.” Some disreputable sellers (even big chains) will use confusing terms to trick inexperienced buyers into trading money for poor quality jewelry. Look for descriptions of karats and purity, as well as any mention of something being plated, filled, or otherwise not pure gold.

2. If you’ve already bought a piece of jewelry, or if you’re purchasing jewelry from a flea market or estate sale, you might want to run some home tests to make sure your item is really gold. The most common way to check is to look for markings. Sometimes these will be hidden in the band of a ring or on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet. Look for a karat marking, such as “18k” or “14 karat.” Alternatively, you can look for markings, such as a brand logo for the company that created it. The letters “EP” and “GF” usually mean that your piece is plated.

3. Try picking up your gold with a magnet. Even though gold is mixed with other metals to improve its durability, it shouldn’t move in response to a magnet. If it jumps even a little bit, your metal is either not gold or contains very little of it.

4. Use a needle or pin to test your gold jewelry. There are two tests you can do using a needle. The first is to scrape an inconspicuous part of the jewelry, such as the inside band of a ring. If gold scrapes off from the needle, your piece is most likely gold plated. You can also stab the jewelry with the needle; real gold of a decent karat quality should be too soft to break the needle. If you do the last test, be careful not to accidentally stab the finger holding the jewelry, as this is usually extremely painful!

5. Polish your gold. Using a special jewelry cleaning cloth with a good amount of pressure shouldn’t hard gold. However, if your item is only gold plated, the plating will flake away upon being polished.

If you’re still not sure about the authenticity of your jewelry, don’t be afraid to ask an expert. They have tools and knowledge to give you a solid answer in just a few seconds, in most cases. Even though you’re now armed with all of this information about gold, you will probably never need it! If you purchase gold from the United States or Europe, as most people do, you can be pretty confident that the karat marking stamped onto the gold is accurate.

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