If you have acquired jewelry and it looks like the real thing to you, but you are not sure, there are ways to tell. Of course, you can always come to your local pawn shop to find out if it is real or not. Otherwise, check out these easy ways you can test it yourself to find out if you’re likely to be dealing with the real deal.
Look for a Hallmark
The easiest way to see if gold is real is to see if it has a Hallmark. This is a small stamp that will tell you the karat, it is real gold. Look around the piece to see if you can find small numbers or other signs of imprinting. These can be very small so you might need a magnifying glass, and remember to look at the inside and clasps of pieces too.
All of that said, it is important to know that a Hallmark is not a guarantee that it is real. If someone wanted to create fake gold and trick people into thinking it was real, they might have imprinted their own stamp.
Try the Ceramic Test
This test is very effective but it can damage the gold. Only use this if you are dealing with a piece of scrap gold or something that will not be reduced in value by having a scratch on it. This one is simple: Get a ceramic plate or ceramic tile and scrape the gold across it. If gold is left scraped across the plate, then it is likely real gold. Metals that have gold coloring do not generally leave any color behind.
Check for Discoloration
If you think it is more likely not gold, take a moment to look it over and find any discoloration. Gold will not change colors or rust, though other metals do. If you see anything silver, green, or discolored at all, then you can be sure it is not gold. If the piece in question is jewelry and you notice that it discolors your skin, then it is not gold.
See What You Can Learn with the Magnet Test
Many types of metal are magnetic. Metal is not – not really, anyway. Technically it can be very slightly magnetic but this is not likely enough to make a difference if it comes into contact with a magnet. If you have a piece that you think is gold and it immediately goes toward the magnet, then you can trust it is not gold.
Again, you can also simply bring the piece to South Bay Jewelry & Loan to find out what our professional opinion is. Call us at (310) 371-4571 with any questions.