5 Ways To Detect Fake Gold

Buying gold for any occasion can be pretty daunting for most of us. We all know fake jewelry is out there on the market, and the reason this ends up in stores is the demand for cheap alternatives to the many expensive pieces buyers feel pressured into choosing.

Here at Glendale Pawn & Jewelry, we have more than 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade – so we know a thing or two about spotting real gold. When you visit our pawn store to invest in quality gold, you can be sure you’ll see only the genuine article; our expert team is highly-trained in examining gold jewelry to confirm its authenticity.

How do we do this? Well, as complicated as it all might be, experienced jewelers have a variety of detection methods at their disposal …


#1: Check For That Stamp

First and foremost, the easiest way to authenticate gold is to hunt for its stamp. How? Just check for a tiny mark in a hidden spot on the piece. This carries the gold’s purity (karat), along with the manufacturer’s identifying stamp.

Can’t find it? This could be a warning sign that the gold is fake, but it’s not a guarantee, as older items will not carry a stamp. However, forgers may well add new stamps, such as ‘Heavy Gold Plate’ (listed as HGP) and ‘Gold Filled’ (GF).


#2: Check For The Gold’s Magnetic Charm

Does your gold jewelry cling to nearby magnets? Well, if so, we’re sorry to confirm it’s fake.

That’s right – gold is not magnetic. Anything which appears to be genuine but responds to magnetic pulls should be taken to an expert for authentication. To test it, our team will use a magnet beyond those commonly available just to be sure.

Please note: certain parts in a piece of gold jewelery may not actually be real, but this is acceptable provided the main elements are authentic. So, don’t panic if your necklace’s clasp responds to magnets but the rest of it is inert!


#3: Check Acid’s Effect On Your Gold

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘acid test’ – and this test is where it comes from.

Nitric acid can be used to test gold’s authenticity, and seasoned experts can safely perform this. Any gold to be tested should be put into a deep metallic container, before a single drop of the acid is applied to the piece or pieces. The reaction will reveal whether the gold is genuine or a fake.

Does the affected spot turn green? If so, then it’s a fake. Does the affected spot turn a strange milky color? This shows the gold is simply a coating over sterling silver.

However, if the area of the gold touched by acid has no visible reaction, this is happy confirmation of its genuineness.


#4: Check The Density Of Your Gold

Gold is incredibly dense. In fact, pure gold has a staggering density of 19.3 g/ml – well above that of other types of metal (silver has a g/ml of 10.49, for example).

The high density helps real gold stand out from imitations. This test might sound a little strange, but it does work, and can help to identify false jewelry. Simply drop the gold into a cup or bowl of water – if it floats, the jewelry is fake. Real gold will sink due to its density, and it will not rust after long-term exposure to water.


#5: Check Your Gold’s Markings On A Ceramic Plate

Last but not least, another test to help you detect fake gold: the ceramic plate method.

This is quick and easy to perform. Just grab a ceramic plate and drag the piece of gold in question across it. If the jewelery leaves a black streak behind, then it’s fake. If it leaves a gold streak, the jewelry is real.


As you can see, there are at least five quick, effective ways for our experts to test gold whenever it’s brought into our store. No matter what type of real-gold jewelry you like the look of, we’ll be able to prove its authenticity and answer any questions you may have. If you want to know more about the tell-tale signs of fake gold or our testing methods, just give us a call!