Life Tips

How Can You Tell If Gold Is Real? 5 Easy Tips That Work

How Can You Tell If Gold Is Real? 5 Easy Tips That Work

Gold has been a symbol of power and status for thousands of years and was often associated with royalty and wealth. It continues to be one of the most valuable commodities on the planet. So, if you own gold jewelry, you’d want to make sure it is authentic.

So, how can you tell if gold is real? Here’s everything you should know about gold and various tests that can tell you if your precious metal is the real deal or not.

History Of Gold

History Of Gold

According to the National Mining Association, the history of gold goes way back to 4000 BC when it was used for decorative purposes. For thousands of years, gold was the primary metal used to make jewelry and statues of idols for worship.

It was around 1500 BC that gold found a new purpose when the ancient empire of Egypt, which had Nubia, a gold-bearing region, used it as a medium of exchange with other countries.

Gold has more than 6,000 years of history of being used for a variety of purposes — from buying land and properties to trading for cattle and livestock. For a while, gold coins were used as legal tender.

Eventually, it led to the birth of the gold standard where monetary value was based on a fixed quantity of gold. Although the gold standard soon collapsed, gold continues to be one of the most precious metals coveted by many.

Properties Of Gold


#1. Gold Is A Conductor Of Electricity And Heat

Gold is an excellent heat and electricity conductor as it doesn’t tarnish. This means that gold can serve as a conductor for longer than copper and silver.

#2. Gold Reflects Heat And Light

Did you know that the visors of astronaut space helmets are coated with a thin layer of gold? It’s a 0.00005-millimeter thin layer that is almost transparent so that astronauts can see through it. But this thin gold coating is enough to significantly minimize the heat and glare of the sun. That’s how powerfully reflective gold is.

#3. Gold Is Ductile And Malleable

Gold is perhaps the most ductile metal as you can draw gold to the thinnest possible wire. One ounce of gold can produce 50 miles of super thin gold wire. It is also highly malleable and can be flattened into exceptionally thin sheets. Gold can also be manipulated more than other metals as it can be stretched, hammered, embossed, or twisted.

#4. Gold Does Not Tarnish

Gold, being a noble metal, is not prone to corrosion, tainting, or rusting. Only a few strong acids can damage this metal. This is one reason why wedding bands are usually made of gold so that the rings can stand the test of time.

#5. Gold Is Dense And Heavy

Gold is extremely dense and heavy. It has a density of 19.4 g/cm3 compared to lead’s density of 11.4 g/cm3. This is also why physical gold mining is difficult.

5 Ways To Tell If Gold Is Real


#1. Hallmark Test/Gold Markings

Most gold jewelry has an engraving on it, such as on the inside of a ring. If the engraving indicates 24K, then this is an indication that your gold is pure.

This engraving or stamp is an identification of its manufacturer and/or content, referred to as a hallmark. And these purity scales are dependent on the millesimal fineness and karats of the jewelry.

However, it should be noted that the hallmarks are unique to different countries. The US, for example, does not have an official gold hallmark, but it does have independent agencies that can verify the authenticity of gold, such as the Jewelers of America.

#2. Nitric Acid Test

Gold is considered a noble metal, which means it is resilient against acid, corrosion, and oxidation. In a nitric acid test, you must rub your gold against a black surface or stone until you see a visible mark. Then, apply some nitric acid to the mark, and if it dissolves, the metal is not gold.

To further test the authenticity, you can apply aqua regia or nitro hydrochloric acid, which is composed of 75% nitric acid and 25% hydrochloric acid. This mixture dissolves gold, so if the markings vanish, you have real gold in your hands.

#3. The Scratch Test

The scratch test is pretty simple. All you need to do is scrape the gold on an unglazed ceramic plate or a tiny piece of tile.

You’ll know it’s real gold if it leaves a gold trail or at least a mark. Other metals will also leave a trail, but they will be black.

#4. The Magnifying Glass Test

The magnifying glass test, as the name suggests, requires using a magnifying glass to look for any signs of discoloration. Note that gold is not reactive to most environmental factors, so stains and tarnishes indicate your gold not being genuine or that it’s gold-plated.

You can also look for the hue and shine of your jewelry. Gold is not all shiny. Instead, it has a soft yellow color with no sparkle. If your gold is gleaming, then it is not pure metal.

#5. The Vinegar Test

Another way to tell if gold is real is by using several drops of vinegar on your gold. If your metal is authentic, there will be no changes. But if the color of your gold changes, then what you have is fake.

About Author

Priscilla Dreher

Known for her travel blogs, Priscilla Dreher started out as sociologist in her career only to combine her love for writing with her penchant for philanthropy in the later years. A widely traveled author, Dreher has championed many human rights causes and continues to advocate for socio-political inclusivity in all her writing.