How to check if a chain is true gold
Gold items are very often counterfeited, because this is an easy way to earn money, even if it is illegal. Instead of a true gold chain, they can sell jewellery made of any metal with a thin layer of gilding or even without it – the modern chemical industry allows you to imitate any substance. Fakes are offered not only in subway crossings and resort souvenir shops, you can stumble upon them anywhere. Arm yourself with the knowledge of how to check if a chain is true gold so you don’t waste your money.
Reliable ways to check gold
Take the chain to the jeweler. The authenticity and fineness of gold can be determined in any jewellery workshop; such services are provided in some jewellery stores. The service is paid.
Take the chain to the pawnshop. When accepting jewellery in a pawnshop, their value is estimated, and for this it is necessary to determine the precious metal and its sample. You can get a professional’s opinion for free, and you don’t have to hand over the jewellery – just tell me you changed your mind because of the low offered price.
The easiest methods to understand that the chain is gold
If you don’t want to do a professional check or you still cannot, you can try to check the gold chain for authenticity at home.
Look at the sample. On gold products, a brand must be put on a chain, look for it on a clasp or next to it. The purity of gold is measured in carats. It is an indicator of the purity of gold alloyed with other metals. 24 carats is gold without any other metals. Lower carats contain less gold; 18K gold contains 75 percent gold and 25 percent other metals, often copper or silver.
The minimum size for an item to qualify as gold varies by country. In the United States, the minimum acceptable standard for a gold carat is 10 carats, with 14 carats being the most popular. In Europe, 8-9 carats is the smallest carat allowed to be considered gold.
In Europe, samples are used that correspond to the precious metal content in 1 kg of the alloy – 375 for an alloy with 375 g of gold, 585 for an alloy with 585 g of gold, and so on. In the USA, the carat sampling system is used – 24 carats corresponds to 999 fineness, 9 carats equals 375 fineness.
Tip: if you can’t see the brand with the naked eye, take a picture of it with your smartphone in macro mode and examine it when you zoom in on the picture.
Appreciate the appearance, smell. ow to check if a chain is true gold – gold has a strong all-over luster in all lighting conditions. The surface of the metal must be flat, the soldering of the links is of high quality. If you are sensitive to smells, sniff – real gold does not smell, while iron and even silver have their own scent.
Attach a magnet. Gold does not magnetise, and jewellery with a high content of this precious metal should not magnetise either. On the other hand, iron and nickel with a thin layer of gilding magnetise perfectly. A magnet can help when they try to pass off jewellery or a fake for a gold product, but you should not rely on it completely – not only gold, but also copper, zinc and other metals belong to the group of diamagnets.
Heat up. Turn on the hotplate, heat it up to 300-400 degrees. Put and heat the chain, then put it in cold water. Real gold easily tolerates such temperature fluctuations, jewellery behaves unpredictably – jewellery can deform, crack, change color.
Draw with a lapis pencil. If your medicine cabinet has a lapis pencil (silver nitrate antiseptic), use it to check the chain for authenticity. Wet the jewellery, run the pencil over the damp metal surface. If the gold is real, nothing will happen. Lapis can react with other metals and then a trace will remain.
Dip in a glass of vinegar. Fake jewellery will darken in a 70% solution, and quite quickly – after 5 minutes you can determine whether the gold chain is or not. Vinegar will not harm jewellery made of a high-purity alloy, stains and darkening appear on fakes. Important: vinegar harms silver and pearls, such products cannot be checked with a vinegar solution!
Still sometimes even the presence of a sample on a chain does not guarantee that it is real. Fraudsters have learned to put a brand on jewellery, and chains with inflated values on the brand are also often found – for example, 24K samples are indicated, but in fact the metal is 18K samples. If in doubt, entrust the verification of the chain to a professional (you can take the jewellery to several workshops or pawnshops to rule out a mistake).
How to protect yourself from counterfeiting
In order not to be deceived, buy gold chains and other jewellery in trusted stores – those who value their reputation and are ready to provide a certificate of quality for each product. Do not hesitate to ask the sellers for documents for gold products, study the information on the tag and consider the sample before buying.