It is important to know how to home test gold since not all jewelry that claims to be gold is actually real. This article will show you some quick and simple ways to tell if your gold is real.
Rub your questionable gold item on the testing stone in your kit. Drop a bit of acid on it. If it turns to light bronze, it is a low karat.
1. Scratch Test
One of the most simple ways to test gold at home is to use vinegar. Simply place your gold jewelry item on a piece of white stone and apply a drop of vinegar to it. If the metal changes color or tarnishes, it is not gold.
You can also use an acid test to determine the karat of gold. You can buy nitric acid solutions that are specifically formulated for the purity you believe your gold to be at a jewelry store or online. Rub your gold item on a touchstone until it leaves a mark and then apply the solution to the mark. The gold will turn a darker color if it is lower karat gold.
Another way to test if your gold is real or not is to try and scratch it against an unglazed ceramic plate. If the scratch produces a yellowish streak, it is probably gold. If it does not, you are likely dealing with a mixture of base metals and not true gold.
2. Liquid Foundation Test
Gold in its pure form is very soft and malleable, so it’s mixed with other metals like silver to make it durable enough for jewelry. These alloys vary in purity levels, known as karats (14k, 18k, 24k), and are usually marked on the item to indicate its authenticity.
To test your gold, rub it against a testing stone found in most home gold testers. Real gold will leave a yellow or golden streak, while fake metals will leave a dark mark. You can also try the float test by dropping your piece into water. If it sinks then it’s likely real, but if it floats then it isn’t.
Another easy test involves using a lighter’s flame. Hold your gold accessory over a flame and watch for any changes in color or heat. If it turns black or gets darker, then it’s not real. This test can be dangerous, so only use it on items that are not worth very much and only if you’re confident in your ability to avoid burning your hand.
3. Magnetic Test
A magnetic test is a quick and easy way to determine if your piece of gold is fake. Simply place the gold item on a wooden surface and slowly bring a magnet closer to it. Real gold should not be attracted to the magnet. If it is, it is likely fake.
The neodymium magnets that are used in this type of test are also handy to use for locating wall studs before drilling. These types of magnets are the strongest and most reliable for this kind of testing.
Unlike other metals, gold does not react to heat. It will only get darker if it is not genuine. If you’re using this method to test a jewelry item, make sure it is not gold-plated and that the base metals are different. Using a butane lighter for this test is recommended since it has an intense flame that will not cause damage to the piece in question.
4. Lighter’s Flame Test
While not a foolproof method, the Lighter’s Flame Test can be a good way to determine whether or not your piece is real gold. First, find a piece of real gold that is identical in size and weight to the item you want to test. Then, use a caliper to measure the thickness of both pieces and a digital scale to weigh them.
Real gold is very soft, so it’s usually mixed with other metals to make it more durable. If your piece is made of pure gold, it will burn when exposed to a flame. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably not real gold.
Another way to test your gold is by holding a magnet near it. Pure gold is not magnetic, so if it sticks to a magnet, then it’s likely not genuine. You can also try dropping a small amount of hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid on the item and see if it dissolves.