Gold is the quintessential prize of status, power, immortality and wealth, often restricted to royalty.

You are watching: How can you tell if gold is real with a lighter

Accounts different on as soon as the first gold mines to be dug and also operated. Part say that all started in 3,100 BCE with the ancient Egyptians. Historical sites choose the over-6,000-year-old mines of the Asosa region of Ethiopia and also the 5,500-year-old Sakdrisi mine that Georgia put the systematic exercise of yellow mining ago several thousands of years earlier. Part say that in southern Africa there space mines the are even older.

The old Egyptians believed gold to be the flesh of the sun god Ra. Yellow is considered luxurious and precious because it is beautiful and easy to work. It does no tarnish, rust or dissolve (except by aqua regia, the name for nitrohydrochloric acid, i m sorry is supplied in among the tests pointed out below). Yellow is difficult to extract: barely 50 grams come out of a ton the ore. It is also one the the best electrical conductors, which is why it is used so heavily inside computers and also other technological equipment.


This article discusses several tests you can easily do at residence to aid you once you have to know just how to tell if yellow is real.

The stamp Test: Look for Hallmarks

A item of gold jewelry is regularly engraved v a hallmark, i m sorry is a stamp that identifies its contents and/or manufacturer. Hallmarks usually appear in an inconspicuous location like the within of a ring.

The traditional purity scales are based upon karats and millesimal fineness. The hallmark test, additionally known together the magnifying glass test, is a great place come start once checking if her gold is real.

Hallmarks include:

Valid purity numbers under the Karat system (like 8k, 9k, 10k, 14k, 15k, 18k, 20k, 21k, 22k, 23k, and 24k)Valid purity number under the Millesimal Fineness mechanism (333, 375, 417, 583 or 585, 625, 750, 833, 875, 916, 958 and also 999)False purity numbers (anything various other than the above)Manufacturer (like ESPO for Esposito, etc.)

Hallmarks present the gold’s level that purity and also manufacturer to lend greater credibility come a piece’s authenticity and also to make it simpler to identify and verify. Because anybody deserve to engrave any hallmark castle choose, this level of experimentation is not 100% foolproof

If the numbers say anything other than the ones stated above, climate you have actually fake gold. Because that example, 800, 925, and also 950 do not refer to gold, but to silver. Why would certainly they be placed 925 on gold? because this often method the jewel is gold plated through a sterling silver base.

Another point to look because that is even if it is or not the marks suggest that the value has actually either to be measured in karats or in millesimal fineness. Any type of other numbers than those over would indicate that the gold is fake.

Not all real gold jewelry has hallmarks—for example, enlarge pieces might have had original markings that have actually been worn off.

Look for Letter Markings

Any gold the is marked less than 10k (41.7% purity) is taken into consideration fake.

Anyone that is familiar with the different levels of top quality will conveniently recognize the complying with markings:


You will want to prevent the over designations if you’re looking for real gold. Castle all show gold plating. In the very same order, castle mean:

Gold PlatedGold FilledGold ElectroplatedGold Electro PlatedHeavy gold PlatedHeavy yellow Electroplated

These markings show that only a tiny percentage of yellow was provided to covering a piece that was made out of some other kind of metal in stimulate to give it the figure of gold.

To give you one idea of how the top levels that purity stack up next to one another: 24k gold is 99.9% pure, when 18k gold is 75% pure. Certain 100% pure gold is unheard of, mainly due to the fact that pure yellow is very soft and also wouldn’t make for a durable piece of jewelry. 

The Skin Test


Look for Bluish or Greenish color on her Skin

This check is simple: It involves holding a piece of yellow jewelry in between your hands for a couple of minutes. The perspiration from your hands will either react v the metal and readjust the color of her skin or leave it unaffected. As soon as real yellow is in direct call with your skin there is no discoloration. If the yellow is fake the will cause your skin to revolve black, blue, or environment-friendly at the call points.

One exemption to this procedure occurs if girlfriend test yellow on her skin when wearing a fluid foundation. Once gold touch the makeup it will rotate your skin black at the clues of contact. Removing every makeup before testing provides this test much more reliable.

Alternatively, assembly can additionally be used to test because that gold authenticity. Placed on a liquid structure and include powder over it. As soon as the makeup has dried, push the piece of jewelry against your skin and then operation it easy over her skin whereby you have the makeup. If the jewelry leaves a black track on the makeup, friend probably have real gold.

Gold is very nonreactive, so genuine gold jewel will never ever discolor her skin. But using the makeup test is a unique method to likewise check if the real. 

If there are discolorations in gold jewelry it means you have an alloy wherein there are other steels mixed in.

The Size and also Weight Test

This test works well ~ above coins and also bars. Girlfriend can

Compare a piece of yellow you want to test v one the is already known to it is in realUse a collection of calipers and also a jeweler’s scale or usage a Fisch Tester

Gold is denser than most other metals. If you have actually a piece that watch too large for its weight or feels too light because that its size, then you probably have actually fake gold.

Bullion coins are actual coins made from priceless metals, including gold, silver, palladium, or platinum. They serve as collectibles, investments, or together a hedge versus inflation.

The Magnet Test

Hold a solid magnet alongside a piece of gold and watch for a reaction. Yellow is not magnetic, therefore there have to not be any kind of attraction to magnets. If there is, friend most most likely don’t have actually real gold.

However, few of the base metals that can be blended with yellow are also non-magnetic so you can gain a false read. The test isn’t foolproof therefore it’s a good idea to carry out this in conjunction v another much more accurate trial and error method. 

The rise Test

Just drop the piece right into a container that water. Gold is dense. If it doesn’t float at all or hover over the bottom the the container, you can possibly have real gold.

The Ceramic scrape Test


Take one unglazed ceramic key or piece of tile and also scrape a piece of gold throughout its surface. Actual gold will certainly leave a gold note or trail. Other steels will leave a black trail.

The Water check (a.k.a. The thickness Test)

This is done by calculation. Friend need

A range (to sweet the jewelry)A container the water andA means to measure the level in millimeters (to measure up the water level before and after the jewel goes right into the water)

Now execute the calculation: subtract the “before” measurement native the “after” measurement. Then division the weight of the jewelry by the difference in the water levels.

This provides you the density.

The standard density of actual gold is 19.3 grams every milliliter (also composed 19.3g/mL). No a many other steels come really close come it. If your calculation gives this figure or something an extremely close to it, you probably have actually real gold.

When you use thickness to identify gold"s authenticity, you also need to save in mind that there deserve to be differences in density in between different species of gold.

For example, the purer the gold, the more heavier it will be--and white gold is heavier 보다 yellow. Therefore, the thickness of gold in between 14k and 22k will certainly be all over between approximately 12.9 and also 17.7 because that yellow gold and anywhere between about 14 and also 17.8g/mL because that white gold.

The mountain Tests


Vinegar Test

This test simply requires that a couple of drops the vinegar be applied to the metal, hopefully in an inconspicuous place.

If the steel is genuine gold there will certainly be no change. If the metal is fake yellow it will change color.

The Nitric acid Test

Gold is a noble metal which method its resistant to corrosion, oxidation and also acid. To do this test, rub your gold on a black stone to leave a visible mark. Then apply nitric mountain to the mark.

The acid will dissolve any kind of base steels that aren"t genuine gold.

If the mark remains, apply nitrohydrochloric acid, also called aqua regia (75% nitric acid and 25% hydrochloric acid) to the mark. This mixture dissolves yellow so, if the note disappears, the yellow is real. 

The machine Tests

Electronic Tester (i.e Sigma Metalytics Machine)

The Sigma Metalytics Precious metal Verifier is calibrated for accuracy top top a minute scale, permitting it come distinguish in between metals in less than one second. While this tools is an excellent for measure up bullion and coins, Sigma Metalytics recommends the Kee gold Tester for testing jewelry.

This machine sends electromagnetic waves right into the item, passing v surface materials like wrapping or plating to read the resistance of the underlying metal. The meter screen is set to display a certain range the resistance that is or is not continual with the resistance the each metal the device has to be calibrated to detect.

XRF Spectrometer

This device works by sending X-rays with the gold and exciting that atoms right into a higher energy state.

When the excited atoms go back to normal they provide off radiation. The maker monitors and also analyzes this, utilizing the radiation reading to identify the material. This an approach is fast and also accurate. The is precise and much outperforms other techniques while doing no damage to the items being tested.

In fact, no one of this methods reasons chemical or mechanically damage, so they will not jeopardize the value or verity of her piece.

The Fail-Safe Test


If girlfriend really desire to know for sure how much gold is yes, really in her gold, the many tried-and-true method of finding the end is to take it it to a reliable jeweler and also have it experiment there.

Jewelers have a broad array the methods accessible to the public for authentication of gold content. That course, nothing beats experience. Yet those who space trying to pass lesser steels off as actual gold having become increasingly innovative in their “craft,” so even the jeweler will most likely resort to an equipment verification to do sure.

Most house tests can offer you one idea of even if it is or not your gold is real. When they room all great at showing probability, none room 100% conclusive.

The best means to understand for sure if your gold is actual is to have an experienced and also reputable jeweler evaluate it for you.

See more: Who Sings I Ll Keep Holding On, Avril Lavigne

Please feel free to re-publishing this short article with anyone you recognize who could benefit from the information and also caveats the contains.