How To Tell If Gold Is Real | Test Your Gold The Right Way

Table Of Content

There are 5 simple tests you can use to determine whether you are holding real gold or a fake.


#1. Look for Hallmarks

Almost all gold products are stamped or marked with what is called a “hallmark.” This indicates the purity of the gold that was used. You’ll find it on the inside of a ring, on the clasp of a necklace chain, or noted on a coin, bar, or other produced item. Look for a number that is followed by the abbreviation for karat for gold items produced in the US: “K.”

Gold created internationally has a percentage expressed as a stamp or mark instead to indicate its purity. A 24K item from Europe, for example, would likely be stamped “.999.”


#2. Use Nitric Acid.

If the gold shows no traces of panning, you can use nitric acid to check whether the gold is genuine. Make a small scratch in the metal and put a drop of nitric acid in this scratch. Genuine gold will not react with the acid. However, if it is a different metal, you may see the item turn green in colour.

Even gold-plated jewellery will turn green or leave a substance that looks like milk on the item.

We recommend this precious metal test kit from GTS to check if you have found gold using this method.


#3. Use the Liquid Foundation Test.

Gold products do not leave streaks when a liquid foundation and make-up powder are applied to the skin. Apply the liquid foundation and powder to the arm (some advise you to use the forehead, but this is ridiculous). Then rub the suspected gold item over the make-up area. Items that are not gold tend to leave a black streak in the make-up.

This only works if the iron level in a person's blood is lower than normal.


#4. Use a Bucket of Water or a Magnet to Verify the Item.

Gold is not magnetic. If your object is attracted by a magnet, it is probably not gold.

Gold is also a heavy metal. If the item is real gold, it should sink when placed in a bucket of water. This is why gold panning kits or sluices are so effective.

A strong magnet, not your standard kitchen magnet, is the best choice for this testing method. We recommend these Grade 8 discs from Tuff Magnets to get the job done.


#5. Have the Item Professionally Appraised.

If you have used these methods and are not 100% sure that the item you have found is gold, take it to a local professional valuer who has a long-standing reputation for honesty and helpfulness. There may be a small charge for this service, but you will get the answer you need.

It can be quite easy to tell if gold is genuine if you have the right tools to hand. If in doubt, a professional can also help. This way you can know if you have found a real treasure when metal detecting.