• Paying more than Perth Mint for gold jewellery
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  • Paying more than Perth Mint for gold jewellery
  • 100% Australian Owned!
  • No Appointments Required!
  • Open 7 Days

Easy Way to Test Whether Your Gold is Real

March 13, 2014

Visual Inspection

Inspect the piece for official markings. A stamp will indicate either fineness (1-999 or .1-.999) or karat (10K, 14K, 18K, 22K or 24K). A magnifying glass will make this easier. An older piece might not have a visible marking due to wear nd tear. Counterfeit pieces can often have a marking that appears authentic; more testing may be needed either way.

Look for noticeable discoloration. It is important to check for discoloration in areas that face constant friction (typically around the edges). If the gold seems to be wearing off and showing a different metal beneath it, you probably have a piece that is only gold plated.

Magnet Test

Hold a magnet up to the item. Gold is not a magnetic metal, so if it pulls towards, or sticks to the magnet, it’s fake. However, just because it doesn’t react to the magnet doesn’t mean it is real, as non-magnetic metals are used in counterfeit pieces as well.

Density Test

Weigh your piece of gold. A jeweler can normally do this for you for free if you don’t have your own scale. You will need the weight in grams.

Fill a vial with water. It’s helpful if the vial has millimeter markings on the side, since that will make it easier for you to read the measurements for this test. It doesn’t matter how much water you use as long as you don’t fill the vial to the top, since the water level will rise once you immerse the gold in it. It’s also important to note the exact amount of the water level before and after immersion.

Place your gold in the vial. Take note of the new water level and calculate the difference between those two numbers in milliliters.

Use the following formula to calculate density: Density = mass/volume displacement. A result close to 19 g/ml indicates either real gold, or a material with a density similar to gold. Here is an example calculation:

Your gold item weighs 38 g and it displaces 2 milliliters of water. Using the formula of [mass (38 g)]/[volume displacement (2 ml)], your result would be 19 g/ml, which is very close to the density of gold. Bear in mind that different gold purity will have a different g/ml ratio:

  •     14K – 12.9 to 14.6 g/ml
  •     18K yellow – 15.2 to 15.9 g/ml
  •     18K white – 14.7 to 16.9 g/ml
  •     22K – 17.7 to 17.8 g/ml

Ceramic Plate Test

Find an unglazed ceramic plate to use. If you don’t have this, you can purchase a random piece of unglazed ceramic from a home improvement store.

Drag your item across the surface. A black streak means your gold is not real, whereas a gold streak indicates your item is genuine.