My Gold – How Do I Know It’s Real?

Unfortunately, in a world where virtually anything counterfeit can be passed off as the real thing, whether its money, photos, perfumes or jewelery, it’s wise to have some inside information on, exactly, how you can distinguish real gold jewelry from a convincing fake.

The suggestions, listed below, can help you determine if your gold jewelry is the real deal or a fabulous fake.


#1. Get A Magnet:

The properties of gold do not allow it to be magnetic. However, your gold jewelry’s’ clasps may, legitimately, contain some metal. Keep that in mind as you hold a magnet near your gold jewelry; there should not be any attraction. If there is, presumably, someone has some explaining to do.

Be aware, though, that some fake gold can be magnetic OR non-magnetic. Gold, on the other hand, will always be entirely non-magnetic.

#2. Get A Magnifying Glass:

Genuine pieces will all have a stamp–an etching or engraving–on the inside of a ring or the back of a charm, to verify its gold content. The most common engravings would be 10K, 14K, or 18K. That type of etching is the karat hallmark that proves the piece’s legitimacy as well as the purity of the metal. You may, also, find a series of three, etched numerals such as ‘ 750’. By placing a decimal point 2 places to the right, you would get the percentage of gold: 750=75.0% pure gold = 18K. 417 = 41.7% pure gold = 10K.

Older gold pieces could be very legitimate, but due to time and wear, their engravings could be worn away.

#3. Observe The Edges:

Gold, being the soft metal that it is, will wear away to a certain degree. The edging of a ring, for example, will bear the most wear. In spite of that, there should be absolutely no indication of a different color along the edging. If you notice a different color, other than gold, on any part of any piece, the chances are good the discoloration is from a non-precious metal underneath. This would indicate your piece is probably gold-plated, and worth much less.


Clean your jewelry to remove any dirt or grime. If you notice any rust formations, your imitation gold is a dead give-away.

#5.Nitric Acid:

You’ll have to make a tiny, hidden scratch on your jewelry piece. And actually, this is the method many jewelers use as the litmus test to determine real vs. fake gold. Place a drop of the acid onto the scratch; and the possibilities are:

** green-colored reaction = gold-plated or an inexpensive base metal

** milky-colored reaction = gold-plated over sterling silver

** no reaction = true gold!!

#6. Unglazed Ceramic:

You can find this at a home-improvement store; and It may be worth the trip if, at this point, you’re still playing detective work. Drag the piece across a portion of the unglazed ceramic. Keep in mind; this will scratch the jewelry’s surface, so a hidden spot is advised. Real gold will leave a gold streak and fake gold will leave a black streak.

#7. Get A Scale:

The type of small postage scales would work fine; perhaps “test” one at an office supply store. The trick here, though, will be to have two pieces that resemble the same size and shape with one another. If you’re lucky enough to have a piece very similar to the item you are testing, the true gold piece will weigh more.

#8. Still Not Sure?

Find a trustworthy, certified jeweler to make a determination on the genuineness of your piece. If a jeweler thinks you might, possibly, be interested in selling a particular item, he may examine your gold without a fee.

Good Luck with your ‘search’!

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