How To Tell If Gold Is Real

by Chad Eicher

How to tell if gold is real

Gold is one of the most expensive and valuable metals in the world. This high-value commodity placed on the surface has made other jewelry more expensive if it contains genuine gold.

Have you ever opened a drawer and wondered, “Is this real gold?,” after discovering some gold coins or earrings? When you have an item with actual gold elements, you will easily decipher if it’s a fake item or real. Even professional jewelers sometimes find it difficult to determine if a metal is gold.

To avoid being duped, in this article, you will find out how to tell if gold is real.

How To Test Gold

1. Check for a hallmark

If you want to know if the gold product you are buying is real, you should look for a hallmark stamp. A purity hallmark is a small marking that shows the gold karat weight. However, the weight and measurements depend on your location. The US, for example, has a 24k hallmark number.

What this implies is that the hallmark is 12 karat, as pure gold is 24 k. In European countries, the hallmark numbers hover around 000 and 1000.) If the hallmark isn’t there, it could mean the gold skin isn’t real. Also, sometimes, hallmark numbers wash away over time.

2. Test Gold with nitric acid

A nitric acid test is a way to identify how genuine a bar of gold is. Look for a safe place in your home for these tests. You should then make a mark that is deep enough.

Then pour some nitric acid inside the mark and check the color it brings out. It either turns milky or green if it’s fake. However, when it’s 100% gold or mostly gold, there won’t be any reaction.

Be careful when testing with nitric acid, because it’s a highly corrosive chemical. Ensure you put on rubber gloves, clasp goggles, and ventilate the whole room.

This test is a high risk, you should only undertake it when the value of the gold piece is worth it.

3. Letter mark signs

gold rings

Scratch the gold surfaces and check for letter markings. If the jewel has the letters GF or GP stamped, it could mean that it isn’t made of real gold. GP indicates that it is gold plated, while GF means gold filled.

This means the gold metal is made of either copper, silver, or other metals.

4. Consider the item density

The gold density is averagely 19.5 grams per milliliter. You should check if your gold product is near this density, if it’s close to that, then it has real gold. Check for the amount of density and its measurement.

You should get a scale that measures in grams. Place your gold product in scales and half fill it with some water or vinegar. Then you can check the water level, which will give you the right results.

For an accurate density of a gold item, divide the volume of the item by its weight. Be careful though with this test, because there are also metals with similar weights to gold, so this test isn’t foolproof.

5. Test the gold product against a ceramic tile

This gold test method means scratching the gold commodity with slight damage. Get an unglazed ceramic tile because the glaze might affect the result. Rub your gold item on the tile, till you can see some fragments of gold removed.

If you can see a gold streak, this skin test could mean the product is real gold. However, when it leaves a black mark, it shows the gold is fake.

6. Dip item into water

To ascertain if a gold item like a ring is original and pure, fill a container with at least half-full of water which must cover the item.

Then drop the gold pieces onto the bottom of the container to confirm their purity. Original gold is heavy and will never float. However, if the gold product floats, then it is fake. Moreover, when you see some corrosion and rust after immersing in water, this could mean it is not real gold because gold doesn’t rust.

7. Test with a Magnet

Gold is not an iron that is prone to magnetic force. You should try using a magnet test to see if it won’t attract the product. When trying to buy a gold item, you should carry a magnet because this can help decide if the gold is real or not.

However, be careful because a magnetic reaction can happen if the item tested is blended with elements like iron. Though this test is good and can tell if your gold item is real or fake, an ideal solution is finding a jeweler to check your gold if it’s original or game.


Gold is an important element that is valuable in today’s world. There are many gold variants, like yellow gold, which aren’t gold items. It is important to test any gold item you want to buy to avoid being swindled or duped. Although something can be close to gold, if it doesn’t pass this test, it isn’t gold. There are several ways to test your gold items to ascertain their genuineness.

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Article by

Chad Eicher

Detectorist Chad is passionate about metal detecting since he got his first metal detector as a gift when he was 12 years old. He created Metal Pursuits to share his knowledge and create the ultimate metal detecting resource on the web.

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