How to Recognize Fake Gold

Visual test: This can be very deceiving but there is no way to recognize real gold without a visual test. The question then is “How does real gold look like?” First of all, look for some kind of marking. Every genuine gold has a marking showing the karat value. They usually appear as 14k, 18k, 22k and 24k. The karat system is used to express the percentage of pure gold in the item. The higher the karat value, the higher the percentage of gold. This means that 24k is pure gold, 18k is about 75% gold, 14k is about 59% gold while 10k is about 42% gold. Sometimes one may see GP or EP beside the markings. This means that the item is plated with gold. It is just covered with gold. This is not real gold because the gold plating may just be a very thin layer.

Another way is to use a testing stone. You lightly rub the item against the stone to release a tiny amount of powder residue. You then apply the testing acid to the residue. If the residue is gold it will dissolve. Obviously this causes some minor damage to the item, so remember to rub lightly and preferably in a part of the item that is not so visible.

The oldest way to check if the coin is real was simply biting it – please note, I don’t recommend doing it, but rather just mention it. You must have seen it in movies about old times, treasure hunters, and pirates. It may seem odd but in fact, there is a very rational explanation for it. Gold is very soft metal, comparing to some base metals, such as copper or bronze for example, and biting a real gold coin would leave some teeth marks or at least leave a feeling that it’s biteable. Again, I would not advise testing fake gold coins this way for two reasons: if it’s a fake, you may break your teeth, and if it’s a real thing, you may ruin it by biting (and possibly break your teeth anyway).

There are 4 home remedies for spotting fake gold or just plated items that maybe marked 14k. 1st-Place a magnet next to questionable piece. If item is pulled towards magnet-it’s just plated or fools gold. 2nd-Take a jewelry cleaning cloth and rub it on piece in question. This usually will take the plating right off with a couple hard rubs. 3rd-If it’s a chain with lobster clasp in question, real gold will most likely be marked on the part of the clasp that moves open for other end of clasp to attach to-not the part your finger moves-the part that actually opens. 4th-Plated brass can look like solid gold until you put it in sterling silver cleaner solution. At first it looks very shiny but the next day it oxidizes and will be dull again. This doesn’t happen to real gold. There are also more advanced ways to test gold like a gold test kit with a special testing stone and there are some electronic testers as well.

Now that you know how to detect fake gold jewelry in a number of ways, you can move confidently through the world of gold jewelry, knowing that you can avoid scams and misrepresented items. Best of luck with your collection and investments, and I hope you successfully avoid fool’s gold jewelry!