How to know if a jewel is gold

Jewelry gifts are among the most elegant and, perhaps, most valuable that can be given to a very close person. This type of jewelry is usually of high quality, since It is made from a noble metal , such as silver, platinum and, of course, gold, a precious metal par excellence, since it is a material with great value due to its characteristics, but also because of its scarcity.

So, it is likely that you will have doubts when you want to either give someone a piece of gold jewelry or simply share it to show it off, be it a pendant, earrings, a ring or a bracelet, etc. Among these doubts, you may ask yourself How can you know if what you have bought or are going to buy is really pure gold.

We have all heard on some occasions of a person who has gone to the jewelry store completely convinced that the family tradition piece they want to sell is made of pure gold and then discover, after the jeweler's examination, that it is not a first-class jewel, but rather another lower-class material covered with a thin sheet of this noble golden material.

To avoid this type of unpleasant surprises, in this article we are going to talk about some methods that exist to check if a piece is pure gold or is simply a gold-plated silver or bronze jewel. Therefore, we are going to explain to you what you should look for to verify the quality of the material and know that the jewelry you are buying is exactly worth the price you are paying for it. There are several ways to check it.

Examine the part visually

If you have a piece of jewelry and you are wondering how to tell if it is gold, you must look at all the smallest details of the jewelry itself to find a official mark or seal indicating the proportion of pure gold it contains. You can find them in different carats, such as 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k. In addition to this, it is possible to trace the manufacturer's mark on another small seal, especially if it concerns pieces of jewelry after the year 1950, since, previously, no seal was included to identify them.

You should also know that, if the piece is made of an inferior gold-plated material, the jewel It must contain another type of seal, brand or nomenclature to be able to identify and differentiate them from those that are of better quality . For example, the GP seal indicates that the piece is gold-plated, while GF means that it is plated - a square of gold adhered to another material of lower quality - and GEP means that the piece is galvanized, that is , which has been covered in gold using an electrochemical process.

If you don't find any stamp, It is likely that it is either a good quality gold piece from before 1950 or that it is a current piece that does not contain enough of this highly valuable gold metal to be considered a jewel with a high proportion of gold. Therefore, you should look to see if there are any areas on its surface that have a different color, contain rust, or appear discolored. This is a good indication of the quality of the material, since gold is completely stainless and does not discolor over time.

If you find any discolored area, rust or a different color from the rest of the gold on the jewel, It is likely that the piece contains a poorer quality material inside and has been gold-plated. However, this visual examination must be complemented with another more reliable one to confirm that the piece is not made of pure material.

Check the hardness of the material

If you ask about how to know if a piece of jewelry is gold, you can check its hardness. As strange as it may seem, Gold is a metal that is not characterized by its hardness, but is easily malleable and can be easily scratched. It is one of the methods that has been most used since ancient times to check whether a piece is made of pure gold or not, since, if, when scratched, another color appears, it is clear that it is a jewel made of a lower quality material, but wrapped in a thin layer of gold. However, if the gold color remains after scratching several times, it is most likely pure gold.

The most used method from ancient times until a couple of centuries ago was the bite test, because Human teeth are harder than gold, so a bite can leave marks on its surface, going through several layers of the material. However, this method was no longer used, since doing so damages the jewel and there are some materials that, at first glance, are very similar to gold and that, therefore, can pass this test.

Perform the gold density test

If you want a test that has greater reliability, there is the gold density test, since it serves to check the purity of this noble material contained in a piece of jewelry using a densimeter. If the piece gives a density of around 19.32 gr/cm³, it means that we are dealing with a piece of pure gold, while, if this value is different, it is likely that the piece is plated, galvanized or gold-plated and, in its interior, contains inferior quality materials. Although it must also be said that it is probably an alloy of gold along with another material.

You can use the nitric acid method

This is likely to be the method that provides the best results and is therefore the most reliable of all if you want to find out how to know if a jewel is gold. But, when performing this test, you must be careful, since the material used, Nitric acid is potentially dangerous , so you must handle it carefully so that it does not touch your skin or eyes, as it can cause very serious burns upon contact.

This method is based on placing the piece of jewelry on a stainless steel plate and then pouring a few drops of nitric acid on it and observing if there is any chemical reaction. If the piece does not react in any way or does not change color, it means that it is pure gold. On the other hand, if it reacts, it is because it is simply a gold plating on another material.

Use a laser tester

Compared to the nitric acid method, the laser tester is a safe method and one of the most reliable that exists, since it allows us to know exactly the degree of purity of the material, obtaining the results instantly. It is perhaps the method most used by specialists to determine the purity of a piece of gold because it is very reliable and much safer for health, since the risk of accidents is minimized to the maximum.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published