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Dutchess_III's avatar

How can you tell if a piece of jewelry is real gold or not?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43563points) May 29th, 2016

I’m thinking especially of rings that are worn constantly, over a period of 10, 20, 30 years. What are some clues that it is, or is not, real gold?

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15 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

5 Simple Ways To Spot Fake Gold

The Acid Test
All precious metals can be tested through the use of an acid test that will only harm fake materials. Genuine gold will stand up to your attempt to conduct a nitric acid test at home. Make a tiny mark on the piece of gold to penetrate the surface. Drop a small amount of liquid nitric acid on that scratch and wait for a chemical reaction. Fake gold will immediately turn green where the acid is. Gold-over-sterling silver will become milky in appearance. Gold will not react to the nitric acid. The desired result is a clear drop of liquid that does not change color.

The Magnet Test
Genuine gold will not attract a magnet. The magnetic test is the most convenient and portable test for genuine gold, since the magnet can be carried around in your pocket. Imitation gold and other alloys will attract the magnet. Coins can appear to be gold, when in fact the surface is simply gold in appearance. The magnet would reveal the underlying metal.

Using the Float Test
A cup of water is all you need for another important test. Any size piece of genuine gold will immediately sink to the bottom of any liquid. Imitation gold floats or hovers above the bottom of the container. In addition, real gold will not rust or discolor when wet.

Skin Test
Skin discoloration from wearing fake gold jewelry is not a myth. For this test, simply hold the gold in your hand for a few minutes. Perspiration on the skin creates a chemical reaction with the gold. Skin will discolor (a black or green color) if the gold isn’t real. Genuine gold will not react with the skin. Jewelers can determine the contents of any gold piece of jewelry. Certified consultants will conduct further tests that reveal the genuine gold weight and purity

jca's avatar

I googled it before because a Jelly and I were having some pm’s about a ring she had been asking about. She said a jeweler told her the ring was real gold (after she said on the threat that she had no clue whether or not it was real) and we were discussing that the ring had no markings on it. I saw some type of gold analyzer that pro jewelers use. Will try to find and link.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay It’s my wedding set that I’m considering. I don’t see any markings on it and I was just told that that could be an indication that it’s fake. On the other hand, the markings may be too small for my eyes to see.
It passes the magnet and float test, and I’ve worn it constantly for 10 years with no discoloration.
Now, where do I get nitric acid without getting arrested?!

@jca, You’re supposed to keep PMs private. Remember?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

To see tiny writing and marks, I take a picture with my cell phone and zoom in. Very handy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should they be on the inside or the outside?

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Nobody has a clue who I am talking about unless that person reveals themselves.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes we do, @jca ಠ⌣ಠ

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yup. Not a whole of lot of really dense people here.

ibstubro's avatar

Stop in at any jewelery store and they should test your ring for free in a couple minutes, tops.

I asked my jeweler friend about testing myself and he said that to know for sure it was just as easy to bring the stuff in.

All rings are decorative only, BTW, so yeah, it’s real.
Real decorative.

jca's avatar

That’s what I recommended on other thread. Take it to a jeweler and he will do appraisal. The best part- it’s free!

ibstubro's avatar

Other thread? @jca

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, I know. I was asking what signs there were that could give a regular person a suspicion, therefore reason to take it to a jeweler for confirmation.

Next time I’m near a jewelry store I’ll try to remember to stop in.

Right @ibstubro? Not a single clue.

ibstubro's avatar

Bite it and see. And that goes for me as well.
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”

JLeslie's avatar

About discoloration, I’m pretty sure my 14k gold turns my hand black if I swipe it fairly hard across my skin. I never have a black mark on my ring finger though. I don’t know about my 22K gold. That’s the closest to pure gold that I have. Actually, I can try it with my 18k ring tomorrow. I don’t have most of my jewelry with me.

I think I rings are 10+ years old and still look gold, it’s probably real gold. An alloy, of course, but real. America uses a lot of 14k, which means it’s only barely over 50% gold.

dazzlingrock's avatar

You can also go with other test such as Visual Inspection, Bite Test, Density Test & Ceramic Plate Test to spot real & fake gold.
Please visit “” for more information.

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