Whether you intend to sell gold jewelry or are just curious about its purity, you might be wondering if it is made from real gold. Many materials can mimic gold or are simply plated in gold. Here are some different ways to tell if your gold jewelry is made from real, pure gold.
Look For Markings
Some gold jewelry will have markings on it that not only shows it is real gold, but will define the purity of the gold. For example, you can check the back of a gold pendant or pair of earrings and see a number printed, which is the fineness of the gold. If there is a term like 24K or 14K, that is describing the karats of gold, which is how pure the gold is. The higher the karats, the more actual gold content it has. Other gold might be mostly gold, but still have some other metals as well. While it is possible to stamp gold that isn't authentic with these terms, more often than not it is a good way to determine if gold is real.
Look For Color Consistency
Real gold might fade over time, but the color should remain consistent across the entire gold piece. It isn't common to have gold become more discolored in one area and show a different type of metal beneath it, while in other areas it looks like the classic yellow gold color. This is often a sign that it is plated gold instead of being solid gold. There will still be some gold content, but a very small amount. Plated gold is very low in value compared to real gold pieces.
Perform the Acid Test
There are a few different tests you can perform on gold jewelry to find out if it is real. One of these tests is called the acid test, which uses liquid nitric acid. The reason this works is because this type of acid will not harm real gold, but it will show obvious signs of damage with fake gold. You need to slightly penetrate the surface of the gold by making a mark on it with a sharp object, being careful not to cause severe damage. Drop some of the acid onto the mark you made, then see if there is a chemical reaction. If the gold turns a different color, usually a green shade, it is probably not real.