Raise your hand if you don’t have at least one gold jewel. A ring, a pair of earrings, a gold necklace or bracelet are perhaps the most common gift that is reserved for anniversaries or special occasions. But are you sure that the jewel is real gold? There are several ways to recognize if a jewel is made of real gold.
1. Check the carat indication
Gold jewelry is often marked with hallmarks that indicate the purity of the gold. The most common hallmarks are 14K, 18K and 24K, or Ct for an Italian jewel. K or Ct denotes carats, the measure of gold purity. 24K gold is pure gold, while 14K gold is 58.3% gold and 18K gold is 75% gold. The hallmark should be in another inconspicuous location. If you want to know more about gold karats read here.
2. The magnet test
Gold is not magnetic. So if a piece of jewelry is attracted to a magnet, it’s not made of real gold. However, keep in mind that other metals, such as stainless steel or silver, are also non-magnetic, so this test alone isn’t always reliable. But it is still an attempt that can be made.
3. The nitric acid test
This test can determine the purity of gold. A small hidden scratch is made on the jewelry and a drop of nitric acid is placed on the mark. The color of the scratch after the acid has been applied will indicate the purity of the gold. However, this test can damage your jewelry, so it should only be done by a trained professional.
4. The density test
Gold is a dense metal, so it will weigh more than most other metals of the same size. A jeweler can perform a density test by measuring the weight of the jewel and calculating its density. However, this test requires specialized equipment, so it may not be within your reach.
5. The skin test
Genuine Gold Does Not Cause Skin Reactions or Discoloration: If you wear your jewelery and observe skin reactions it is likely that the jewelery is not made from genuine gold. However, keep in mind that some people may have allergic reactions to other metals, such as nickel, which may be present in gold jewellery, especially older ones.
In summary, to recognize if a piece of jewelry is made of real gold, you can check for hallmarks, do a magnet test, do a nitric acid test, do a density test, or do a skin test. However, some of these tests may require specialized equipment or skills, so it is best to have them performed by a trained professional.