Gold and silver has been used as forms of currency for hundreds of years. The precious metals are usually found as coins, bars or jewelry. What we are going to talk about here, is how to make sure any gold your finding or buying, is real. I’m going to teach you some basic tips and tricks to test gold so you can do it at home or if you’re out at garage sales, estate sales, etc.
First let’s start off with the basics of gold. Gold jewelry will usually have a marking indicating the karat of gold it is. These are usually shown as 10k, 14k, 18k. You may also see these karats represented as a group of numbers such as 417 (10k) – 585 (14k) – 750 (18k). Now just because it is marked, doesn’t always means its real, there are plenty of fakes out there with one of these markings. Some markings you want to look out for are: HGE, RGP, GE, GP, GB, 1/20, 1/40. Those are well known terms meaning Gold Plated. What is gold plated? Gold plated is when a different type of metal is covered in gold so that it looks like real gold, but it’s only a thin layer of actual gold.
Now that you know what markings to look for, what can you do next to further check the gold to make sure its real. Gold is NOT magnetic. This means gold will not stick to a magnet. This is one of the best ways to check. If you put a magnet to a piece of gold, it should never stick to it (sometimes the clasp will stick to the magnet and that is fine because the clasp is made of a stronger metal). If you touch the piece of gold with a magnet and it sticks, its fake. Now on the flip side, just because the piece doesn’t stick to the magnet, doesn’t always mean its real. There are some very good fakes out there.
So you’ve identified the karat of gold it is and you have tested it with a magnet. So far its passed both those test. Your probably wondering, what can I do now to make sure its real. Another trick you can do, if allowed, is to file the piece of gold. Simply take a file and make a nice groove into the gold. If you file enough off and the item is fake, you should start to see another color of metal coming through. If you file a bunch off in the same spot and you still see the same gold color, chances are you found a good piece.
One other way is to visually inspect the piece. Real gold wont turn green like fake gold will. If you see green on the item, chances are its fake. Now these are very basic steps to check for real gold, but will help you spotting the bad fakes and even the good fakes. In later articles, I will get more in depth on how to check gold more professionally, how to calculate the price of gold, where to sell your gold, how to test silver and some other great tips and tricks about gold.