So, you’ve invested in your first gold product. This could be in the form of jewellery, or bars and coins. As there are many fakes out there, how can you determine that your gold is genuine?
1. Look for a hallmark stamp.
Real gold jewellery will usually have a hallmark stamp that includes its Karat value, which you can find more information on here. Alternatively, gold content can be expressed as a decimal. You can identify 24K gold as .999 or 1.000 and 22K as .916. If you are unable to find the stamp, check the clasp of a necklace, or inner band of a ring.
Gold bars will have large markings with a hallmark and stamps of its weight, purity, refiner and a serial number. Only purchase gold bars with a recognised hallmark, which guarantees your gold would have been minted by reputable refiners. For a list of accredited refiners, refer to the London Bullion Market.
However, don’t discount your gold entirely if it does not have a hallmark. Older forms of gold jewellery, for example, may not bear these markings. In this case, try the other methods listed.
2. Test your gold with a magnet.
Gold is not magnetic, and so placing your gold next to a strong magnet should not result in any reaction. If your gold is attracted to the magnet, it is likely to be gold-plated or fake.
Be aware that this could simply indicate larger amounts of other metals, such as iron or nickel, compared to gold.
3. Measure the size and weight of your gold.
A gold bar or coin will be marked with specifications of its weight, diameter, and thickness. Because of its density, gold products are difficult to replicate. Counterfeit gold that is exact in weight will be larger in diameter or thickness.
Simply measure your gold bar or coin and compare your results against these specifications to find out if your gold is real.
4. Buy a gold testing kit.
If your gold has no aesthetic value, you can consider using nitric acid on your gold to test its purity. You can easily find a gold testing kit to use at home, but please take some precautions, such as researching the supplier of your acids and using gloves to perform the test. Should you proceed with this test, you should do so at your own discretion.
Make a light scratch on your gold, preferably on a hidden area. Then, apply a small drop of nitric acid on the mark.
Real gold will not react to the acid at all, but a darker gold colour likely means that your gold is genuine, but of lower purity. A green mark means that your gold is a fake, and if it forms a milky colour, you have gold-over-sterling-silver.
5. Check for signs of discolouration
Real gold does not react to other substances and will withstand time, heat and will not rust. The higher the purity of gold, the less likely it is to tarnish.
If you see signs of discolouration on your gold, it is likely to be fake or plated. Jewellery will have lower quantities of gold in it, and might darken over time.
Look at the colour of your gold, as well – real gold is a pure yellow, whereas rose gold and white gold contain other metals to manipulate its colour.
At HelloGold, you can be assured that our gold is 100% genuine. Our gold is audited by Bureau Veritas, a London Bullion Market Association-approved auditor, every six months. There are 3 tests that are conducted which include:
- Checking the physical existence of all gold items held by BullionStar, our storage provider in Singapore,
- Comparing the serial numbers of gold bars against the serial numbers recorded in BullionStar’s bar list,
- Checking the weight and purity of gold bars against its product description.
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