Jewelry Tips – Differences between Real vs. Fake Gold

Have you ever wondered if a piece of jewelry you had, was real, or fake? I’m sure a lot of us have either received some gold jewelry as a gift, had some pieces passed down to us from relatives, or purchased gold jewelry from auctions, estate sales, and weren’t quite sure if the pieces were real. By American standards, fake gold is anything less than 10 Karats. If you’re wondering whether your gold is real, the most reliable way to find out is to take it to a certified jeweler and have it tested. If you want to check it for yourself, here’s a list of tips to tell if it’s real or fake.

FAKE Gold Herringbones, Ropes, Figaro Chains

  • Shiny, plastic-coat, brassy look
  • Usually only one stamp “14k” on one tab ( REAL chains have markings on both tabs saying the kt content and a manufacturer’s stamp)
  • Sometimes the plated color has worn off; you see the base metal…it’s like yellow runs into brown metal or vice versa
  • The o-ring behind the lobster will not be soldered (real chains have the o-ring soldered; fake chains can’t b/c the heat from the torch used to solder the o-ring closed travels through the metal fast. Fake chains would melt)

FAKE Gold Earrings

  • The post/wire etc. that goes into ear will be base metal colored and the rest of the earring will be gold tone in color; they won’t match

FAKE Gold Rings

  • The shank will show signs of wear, usually the plating has worn off and the base metal beneath shows through
  • They will have stamps of HGP (heavy gold plate) HEG (heavy gold electro-plate) GF (gold filled) or “10k” “14k” no manufacturer’s stamp or no markings at all

FAKE Gold Bracelets

  • They will have stamps of HGP (heavy gold plate) HEG (heavy gold electro-plate) GF (gold filled)
  • They will show signs of wear, usually the plating has worn off and the base metal beneath shows through
  • most bangles will have a fraction and then “GF” Gold Filled; ex: 1/5 GF

FAKE Gold Add-A-Beads

They will not dent easily; 14k beads dent by the smallest squeeze, fingers, teeth, pliers, etc. FAKE ones are like lead in being hard and resisting any pressure

Other methods:

Use a magnet
Gold is not magnetic, but many of the metals that are often used in fake gold or gold plating are. If your jewelry is attracted to the magnet, it’s not 100% pure gold. However, if it isn’t attracted to the magnet, it is still not necessarily real.

All of these methods can be useful ways to see if your gold jewelry is made of real gold or fake. However, they will not give guaranteed answers or tell you the quality or carats of the piece. To be certain, bring your gold jewelry to a certified jeweler.

Blog post by ~ Jelene

(Fake Gold Jewelry Tips by Kellie)

16 thoughts on “Jewelry Tips – Differences between Real vs. Fake Gold

    • Please bring your ring by one of our Satterfield’s Jewelry Warehouse stores and have our jewelry expert take a look at it. We cannot tell for certain without seeing it in person.

  1. Hi!! i just bought a “14k gold charm” and i’m a little confused because instead of only have 14k it said 14KN..what’s that mean?

    • Hello Betty! 14K means there are 14/24ths gold in it and 10/24ths other metal. The N is an alloy designator, so a jeweler who needs to make it bigger can match the alloy. It’s like a dye lot code for gold. Different alloy mixes have slightly different colors.

  2. I have a gold chain. Its several years old but not tarnished or losing color. No markings n a magnet will pick it up. Does it sound fake?

  3. Probably a stupid question but does ALL real gold have markings? I have Necklaces That look real and are not magnetic but have no markings. Any suggestions will help.

    • That’s a great question actually! Most people think that gold jewelry must be stamped in order to make it authentic, but sometimes this is not the case. In short, no, a stamp does not guarantee that a piece is really gold. In the US, however, there is a law that mandates that all gold jewelry sold by a vendor must be stamped marking the item’s karat number. The best guarantee that a piece is actually gold is to test it for purity or buy it from a reputable jeweler. For your necklaces, you could bring them by one of our stores and have our jeweler check it’s authenticity for you.

    • 18k contains a higher percentage (75%) of pure gold than 14k gold (58.3%) and is also softer. There’s a chance that your watch is real 18k gold, however if it was gold plated, it should have a GP stamped on it. A 750 stamp also indicates 18k gold. What brand is the watch? To make absolutely certain, you can bring it by one of our stores and have our in-store jeweler take a look at it.

  4. Hey I have a ring my dad bought me from Vietnam he told me it was 18 k but the only markings on it is HC 600 can you tell me if it’s real or not?

    • The HC could possibly mean the maker’s mark and the 600 could mean around 15k gold. 14k is listed as 583 or 585 and 15k is listed as 625 in fineness. To make certain, you could always bring your ring by and have our jeweler take a look at it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s