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
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.