By Diane Harding
If you’ve looked back at a piece of jewelry that you received as a gift or an inheritance, or purchased at an auction or a sale and wondered if it was real or fake, you’re not alone. American standards dictate that anything less than ten karats is fake gold. You should always test the authenticity of your gold jewelry every time you make a purchase or receive a gift. There are several different ways to examine your gold jewelry at home. However, the best way to be sure about the quality of gold is to get it tested at a trusted jeweler.
Gold jewelry is a craze with women since time immemorial. In recent times, fine diamond jewelry such as diamond bangles, diamond rings, mangalsutra, diamond studs and diamond earrings are very much in vogue especially, among the sophisticated and accomplished women. Here are a few things you could try at home to test the authenticity of your gold jewelry.
The simplest check would be to look for any sign of discoloration around the edges. If the piece is indeed plated, the gold might be wearing off to reveal some other material underneath it. This means it isn’t real gold. Closely examine the piece and see if you can find an official stamp. This stamp will hold the grade information, in either carats (1 to 24) or finesse marking (1-1000 or .1 to .999). If it’s lesser than 10k, it isn’t considered real gold. However, the stamps on old pieces could have faded or disappeared altogether due to repairs or wear. Furthermore, the stamp isn’t very conclusive, as forged pieces can have forged stamps too, which look almost as good as real ones to the untrained eye.
Gold is not a magnetic substance, meaning it will not be attracted to a magnet. However, most of the materials which are used as a base before plating with gold are magnetic in nature. Bring a magnet close to one of the thicker parts of your piece to see if it attracts it or not. If the jewelry does get attracted, it’s definitely not pure gold. However, if it isn’t, it doesn’t really mean that it’s real. The plating base could be a non-magnetic material as well.
The Nitric Acid Test
This test is employed by most jewelers and is fairly accurate. The first step is to make a little incision or a scratch using a file. Make sure it is small and not easily visible. Now, apply a drop of nitric acid to the said area. If it is pure gold, there will be no reaction. If a greenish reaction can be seen, it means there is a base metal and the piece is plated. If the observed reaction is milky-white, it means that the piece is sterling silver plated with gold. Take necessary steps and precautions like goggles and gloves. Nitric acid test kits are available in the market.
Unglazed Ceramic Plate
Get a piece of unglazed ceramic from any home improvement store. Now, drag your piece across is, so as to leave a scratch. If the streak on the ceramic is black, you’re dealing with a fake piece. If the streak is gold, your jewelry is real. Take caution, as this may damage your piece.
Get a physical balance and a piece of real gold which is approximately the same size as your piece. Compare the two. Since gold is dense, two pieces of roughly same dimensions will weigh almost the same. This will not be the case if your jewelry is not pure gold.
Certified Jeweler for All Jewelry Including Diamond Bangles
While each of the above methods can tell you whether it is real or fake, none will give you a measure of the karat weight, quality or price of the piece. Only a trusted, experienced jeweler can do that whether it is gold jewelry or diamond jewelry.
Also, these methods aren’t particularly conclusive if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Good fakes might beat one or more of these tests. Only a trained eye or a series of chemical tests will be able to separate the fake from the real with absolute certainty. Hence, the best thing would be to head over to a certified jeweler, pay a fee and get it examined.
Author Bio: Diane Harding is a collector of valuables and an expert in precision analysis of old jewelery including diamond bangles, rings, earrings & tops belonging to the erstwhile royal families and artifacts. She is also an avid reader and blogger.
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