Statistics in different countries persistently show shocking figures: according to the most optimistic estimates, about 40-45% of all jewelry that can be purchased in some stores is not authentic. And gold is one of the most often counterfeited precious metals.
Progress doesn’t stand still, and fakers improve their skills. To protect you from purchasing low-quality products, we have prepared some tips on how to identify real jewelry made of gold.
What is misrepresented as gold?
Each of us imagines what gold looks like. It’s a precious metal of rich yellow color, warm and sunny. And, probably, everyone knows that pure gold is not used in the jewelry industry, but only its alloy.
Traditionally, a jewelry alloy includes copper, silver, palladium, zinc, and other metals. However, such a gold piece is real, since these non-precious elements are found in small quantities. And most importantly, they are officially announced by the manufacturer. But the presence of copper or zinc in a much larger volume is a reason to say that this is a fake.
Most often, cheap alloys are actively polished, which gives them a “golden” look. Sometimes fraudsters lay them over with gilding. Provided that the gold layer is correctly applied, there is practically no way to distinguish gold from gilding.
Check the hallmark
Hallmark standards are not a manufacturer’s fantasy. They are strictly regulated by the state. Arm with a magnifying glass and carefully check the hallmark.
- It should look very clear, not smeared, the sample numbers should also be clear and located very evenly inside the hallmark.
- The location must be strictly parallel. Even a slightly obliquely placed hallmark is a reason to doubt.
- One of the least risky ways to buy quality gold is to purchase jewelry that has laser marking. To counterfeit such a sample, fraudsters will need a laser, the minimum price of which starts at $50,000. Needless to say, that the majority of them are not ready to spend such a sum. Accordingly, the laser stamp on the jewelry is a sign of real gold.
When the hallmark is not a helper
Unfortunately, this “initial examination” is sometimes not enough. So:
- Take a closer look at the purity of gold
Some people get used to thinking that the higher the standard the better the gold. However, pure gold is very soft so jewelers have been looking for the optimal alloy for a long time. They found the necessary balance between the luring appearance and wear resistance in the 585th standard or 14-karat gold.
- Ask for documents
Сheck the product’s documents before buying gold jewelry. If your gold is made in a factory, then everything should be official. Any product should have a passport and a tag that will indicate the weight and type of gems. If the seller finds it difficult to provide you with docs – don’t risk, refuse to buy gold.
- If in doubt, weigh the jewelry
One of the most common methods of deceiving a customer is selling a hollow product as an ordinary one. Large rings and earrings that look massive and feel suspiciously light may be hollow on the inside. Weigh the accessory on an accurate scale and compare the real mass indicated in the documents.
Domestic lifehacks for checking gold jewelry
If you have already purchased jewelry and have doubts about its authenticity, you can check it with the rule of thumb.
- Add a little vinegar
Vinegar helps to distinguish a crude counterfeit from real precious metal. You just need to pour ordinary vinegar into a small container and place jewelry there. The fake will darken, and the real gold will remain yellow and shiny.
- Use ceramic plate
This is one of the tests that must be done with caution. Find an ordinary ceramic plate. It should be unglazed, that is, without coating. While pressing lightly on the gold piece, slide it across the plate. The black trail will indicate the copper origin of the fake gold. But the yellow trail is evidence of authenticity.
- Drop of iodine
Drop a little iodine on the surface of the decoration. No chemical reaction happened? This means that you have pure gold. Are there spots of any color on the surface? This is a fake.
- Magnet for gold
Place your jewelry next to the magnet. If it’s magnetizing, most likely, a piece of cheap metal was gilded.
If you come to a trusted manufacturer with a great reputation, know and use the basic information on choosing jewelry and don’t hesitate to ask for necessary certificates and documents, then the chance to run into a fake will decrease significantly. Visit the website of Pacific Precious Metals to be sure of your purchase authenticity.