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How to test your gold?

The first step in testing gold is always the magnet test. If the item attracts to a magnet even just slightly it is not real gold, silver, palladium or platinum. These precious metals are non-ferrous meaning they are not magnetic. If your item is magnetic it means there is no reason to test it with acid.

Keep in mind that clasps and other devices on real gold jewelry may have tiny springs or other parts that are magnetic which are typically added for strength. Many modern necklaces use a spring loaded clasp in which the internal spring may be magnetic and easily detected by any strong magnet. Make sure you first test the main body of the suspected item by your magnet.

If your item is non-magnetic then you should take the next step in testing the item by using gold testing acids. There are two ways to test with acid.

The first option to test your item is by placing the gold testing acid directly on the item. We suggest placing a plain white paper towel down on top of a rag or a glass table. Place the jewelry on top of the paper towel and drop a drop of acid directly on the suspected gold item. Many fakes will fizz with a green colored bubbling which may burn off plating and discoloring the object in some cases. Use a small cup of water to wash the acid off the item. If the gold on the item turns darker in color or rusty looking gold then it is most likely a lower Karat gold then the selected acid. Repeat the test with a lower Karat acid and if it stays clear like water with no reaction then you have matched the correct acid with the correct Karat of gold. If you are really unsure of an item you can use a file to scrape into the material so you can add the drop of acid to the area that has been exposed.

The second way to test gold is by scratching the item on a testing stone and dropping a drop of acid on the stone where you scratched some gold onto the stone. Make sure you scratch deep through any possible plating or coatings. If the scratched part on the stone has not changed with the acid then it is at least the matching Karat of acid you selected and it is possibly a higher Karat. The acid should look like a drop of clear water over the scratched mark. If the mark turns darker yellow or rusty brown it may be a lower Karat. If the gold scratch mark disappears then it is not real or it is a lower Karat. If your mark still disappears with 10k acid then it is not real gold. The trick is to match the correct acid for your item to determine the proper Karat of gold you have.

You can buy your own testing acid or testing kit on Ebay or Amazon. We are also happy to test your items for free. Watch the video below to learn how to test your own items.

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