Guilherme Radaeli is a lawyer, writer and also blogger born in the state the São Paulo, Brazil. Part-time techie and also overall mad lad.

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All that Glitters Is not Gold

Gold has always been distinct to the human being race, due to the fact that of that beautiful metallic yellow hue, the resistance to corrosion, the eternal luster and also its weird malleability. In modern civilization, gold has numerous different applications in chemistry, electronics and also industry.

Another factor gold is necessary is its rarity. Having an atomic variety of 79, it's among the rarest aspects that occur naturally in the universe. As such, it's no surprising that, transparent the ages, numerous dishonest people have attempted, with varying success, to replicate gold's qualities using more common elements, in order come trick prospective yellow traders and gain one unfair financial advantage.

The jewelry trade is one in i m sorry these practices are most extremely developed, since most civilization interested in purchase jewelry space not fine informed around gold's physical and chemical qualities.

However, there are plenty of easy methods to test if your expensive jewel is made from really gold, and this write-up will show you some practical tests that have the right to be offered by any kind of layman.


Keep in mind the these tests cannot change the opinion the a professional, and also are no designed to measure the quality or contents of yellow in a details piece the jewelry. The is likewise recommended that you test her gold item using numerous of the techniques presented here, together fake yellow items can sometimes replicate number of aspects and also qualities of actual gold.


Gold chain such as this one are one of the most commonly available varieties of yellow jewelry...and most conveniently faked.

Lynn Greyling

1. The odor Test: right for tiny Gold Pieces

While this test is far from gift the many reliable means to tell genuine gold native fake gold, it's one of the easiest and quickest to do, and also will not damage your jewelry.

You know that horrible smell her hands acquire after you hold some coins in the for part time? We're searching for that smell in this test.

This test can be done in three easy steps:

Make certain your hands space sweaty (not dripping through sweat, yet slightly sweaty), then location your yellow jewelry of choice in the palm of your handPlace your various other hand over it, and also vigorously obstacle your hands together with your jewelry between them;Finally, location your nose close to your palms and also smell them. If it does no smell favor anything in particular, then your jewelry has passed the test. But if your hands smell prefer coins, climate it's quite most likely you're handling fake gold.

You see, one cheap steel used in the do of coinage (and fake yellow jewelry) is brass, a mixture the copper and also zinc in addition to other materials. Brass have the right to look like gold, specifically if made into an alloy with other metal, to shot to approximate gold's weight and also color. However, brass is much much more reactive than gold; when in call with braided water (like sweat) and air, it produces the characteristics acidic smell many coins have, because of an electrolytic reaction.

As such, if her "gold" jewel exhibits the very same smell, it very likely is not actual gold, or at the very least not pure gold. But even if your gold jewelry passes this test, it deserve to still it is in fake gold.


A neodymium magnet (depicted) is among the strongest and much more affordable rare planet magnet types in the world.

2. The Magnet Test: use a an effective Neodymium Magnet

For this test, you'll need a rare planet magnet.

Rare earth magnets aren't the common form of magnets friend can uncover on her fridge, for example. They space made of special alloys which provide them significant power. Because that this test, a neodymium magnet is recommended, as they space readily accessible online, very affordable, and amongst the most powerful rare earth magnets.


Neodymium magnets the are larger then just a few centimeters are rather powerful, and also if a body component gets pinched between a magnet and also a highly magnetic metal part or one more magnet, major injury deserve to occur. Manage the magnet with care.

Now, to test her jewelry, merely touch it through the magnet. Pure gold will not be attracted to the magnet. If the jewelry gets attracted to the magnet (even if just a little), then at least component of it is not gold. Gold chains and collars typically have a "clasp" mechanism of part sort, and you may find that only the clasp little bit sticks come the magnet. This is due to the fact that there is a spring within the clasp mechanism, and also gold doesn't make an excellent springs.

Remember, however, that even if your jewelry piece does not get attracted to the magnet, there's still a opportunity it may not it is in gold. This is since other, non-magnetic elements can be supplied in make fake gold. Many commonly, though, fake gold is created using metals that are at least somewhat magnetic, and a solid rare planet magnet should have the ability to exert some attraction over these.

3. The Fire Test: burning to check Jewelry

This is one easy-to-do test frequently known by pawnshop owners, who regularly are presented with gold jewel that could be fake. It's quite easy to perform in these easy steps:

First, make certain you have a lighter that produces a continuous flame that's not an extremely small. An simple disposable lighter is no ideal, yet can it is in used. Also, make certain your lighter is properly fueled with lighter fluid and also not some other kind the fuel.Now, hang her jewelry on a piece of metal or some various other tool the won't melt or burn. You can also carefully organize it making use of pliers. You could want come cover the end of your pliers through tape, to minimization the hazard of damaging her jewelry.Finally, proceed to use the lighter's fire to your gold piece. Save the fire on that for around a minute. If the metal starts to gain darker and also darker, possibilities are it's not gold.

Real, pure gold, once exposed to the flame, will acquire brighter after ~ a while together it it s okay hotter, but will not darken. Fake yellow pieces, such together fool's yellow (actually pyrite, an iron sulfide) and also pieces made of brass, stole or copper alloys will certainly darken or otherwise readjust color when exposed to fire. Additionally, if the jewelry item is just gold plated (covered v a slim layer the gold, but made the other metals inside) climate the thin gold plating should start come melt, revealing the within metal.

If her gold item has actually a gold content much less than 18k, the results may not it is in consistent. If you want to be certain, consult a professional.


Do not reveal your jewel to a solid flame such as a blowtorch. Gold melts easily contrasted to other metals and also you can damage your piece using anything stronger than a lighter.


4. The density Test: usage Water to test Density

This is a decent means to tell if your gold jewel is genuine without any risk of damaging it, however it needs a couple of tools and also some knowledge of math.


This test just works for jewelry the is an alleged to it is in made of yellow only. Any kind of attached jewels or components that aren't make of gold can make the results of the test inconsistent.


First, you need to discover out the weight of your piece in grams. This needs a small, perceptible scale. But you can ask a jeweler to execute it for you.Secondly, you'll must fill a vial v water. Make sure the vial is large enough to organize your gold item in it. Do not to fill it come the top, but fill it just enough so that you can totally submerge your gold item in the water. It also helps if stated vial additionally comes with measuring currently on it. Measuring vials deserve to be bought in any kind of lab supplies store;Now you want to place your gold piece in the vial through water. Take keep in mind of the difference in water level indigenous before and after you placed the gold piece in and calculate the difference in between the two dimensions (just subtract the smaller sized measure from the greater measure);Now, here comes the mathematics part. Usage the following formula to calculate the thickness of her gold piece: Density = mass/volume displaced. A worth close come 19 g/ml indicates that your jewelry piece is either gold or a product with a density that is close come gold's.

Gold piece of different purity have actually different density ratios. Usage these values as guidelines to uncover out:


14k gold

12.9 come 14.6 g/ml

18k yellow gold

15.2 to 15.9 g/ml

18k white gold

14.7 to 16.9 g/ml

22k gold

17.7 to 17.8 g/ml

Even so, expert craftsmen may have the ability to create material that looks choose gold and has comparable density, so make sure to test your gold making use of other techniques as well.


5. The Ceramic Test: Unglazed Ceramic Tile

This check is actually quite an easy and takes only a 2nd to do. To do it, you'll require an unglazed item of ceramic, such as the unglazed bottom that a plate. If the ceramic is glazed, this technique will no work.

To do this, simply pick her gold piece and also carefully drag it across the unglazed ceramic surface, so that it creates a streak on it. A black color or otherwise dark-colored streak method your item is not made that gold, if a yellow streak indicates that the is genuine.

Again, be mindful when law this, and bear in mind that your items may end up scratched. Usually, a little polish is sufficient to do away with the marks, but if done improperly, the piece might require repair. Constantly use typical sense once conducting this tests.


Try various other tests first, and also use this streak test just if you space still unsure whether your gold jewelry is make of really gold. This test, as soon as done improperly, deserve to scratch or otherwise damage your gold piece. When in doubt, seek the opinion that a experienced jeweler.

Another indigenous of Caution

This write-up only lists 5 of the easiest techniques to test her gold. As claimed before, a experienced craftsman may have the ability to replicate most qualities of actual gold using other elements, so even if your piece passes a couple of of these tests, it's always good to conduct others, simply to make sure. The more tests the passes, the an ext likely that is to be genuine gold.

There room other ways to test her gold, but these usually call for special products (such as nitric acid) or distinct tools.

And finally, remember, however, that it is always better to have a professional test your gold piece.

Good luck!

This contents is accurate and also true come the best of the author’s knowledge and also is not intended to substitute because that formal and also individualized advice from a standard professional.

© 2015 Guilherme Radaeli


Richard little on June 20, 2020:

If gold has been despite a home fire the does adjust the color.

SHIFTYWILSON 789 top top April 29, 2019:

Very interesting

lonnie gollaher ~ above September 30, 2016:

When you check 9k yellow does the fizz and also leave a blueish environment-friendly mark

Guilherme Radaeli (author) indigenous São Paulo - Brazil top top June 17, 2016:

Thanks a many guys! There are other techniques of experimentation gold, yet I didn't include them ~ above this hub due to the fact that they require special materials and also are no the sort of point you can usualy do at home.

Dr Vinod Saksena on April 30, 2016:

Thanks a lot for this very informative post. I have actually learnt something about checking the purity of yellow jewellery mine wife, Renu, has actually in she possession and for the items she might like to buy in future. Although I do not insurance claim to all of sudden have end up being an professional , but, might be perhaps a bit wiser ! many thanks again.

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Nikki on July 24, 2015:

I love your post, good idea's, although i knew 4 the end of 5 of the tests, if you have actually any an ext knowledge i would certainly love come read and also learn all i can about the subject. Me and also my husband constantly go to thrift stores and also places the such and have acquired pretty lucky only due to others not discovering much around the different stamps it carries. Most civilization only look because that the kind of stamps the purity in the kind it is, (10k,14k etc.) thank you for sharing and also again if you understand of other means of experimentation while who is spring in together stores and also short quick tests have the right to be done, i would love to review them. Say thanks to you and an excellent luck to you.