How To Spot Real Gold From Fake Gold: Top 5 Ways

Gold is one of the most desirable metals on the planet, but the joy of owning brand new gold jewelry can be tarnished by the gold actually being fake. Of course, the best gold tester is a professional jeweler, but you can also do it yourself. Find out how to tell if gold is real in 5 easy ways!


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1. The magnet test

Fake gold may contain traces of real gold, but it’s mainly made of other metals. That is why one of the easiest ways of how to identify real gold is to use a magnet. It doesn’t even have to be very powerful – a magnet from a child’s toys will do!

The procedure of testing gold with a magnet couldn’t be simpler. Take the piece of jewelry you want to test and place it close to a magnet. Real gold is not magnetic, which is why it won’t stick to the magnet. Fake gold, on the other hand, will stick immediately.

2. The wear test

The next method of how to know real gold won’t require any additional tools – it will only need some of your time. It’s especially useful for the jewelry pieces you’ve already worn more than once, but still suspect may be fake.

Fake gold is easy to spot after you’ve spent some time wearing it. Look for the discoloration on the areas of the jewelry that have been in contact with your skin. Green or black discoloration is a surefire way to tell the gold isn’t genuine.

3. The lighter test

A simple disposable lighter you already have in your pocket can tell you whether you’re holding real gold in your hands. How to check if gold is real with a lighter? Simply hold the piece of jewelry with pliers or hang it down using a metal chain.

Hold the lighter near the jewelry for about a minute. Real gold will only get brighter in colour, while fake gold pieces will become darker and darker from the fire. If you’re dealing with pleated gold jewelry, the thin layer of gold can actually melt off, revealing the cheaper metal underneath.

4. The foundation test

Makeup addicts can use their collection of makeup to learn how to tell real gold! For this method you will need liquid foundation and setting powder. Apply the foundation to your forehead, wait for it to set for a couple of minutes, and apply a layer of powder.

Now take the gold ring, earring, or other piece you want to test and rub it across your forehead. Genuine gold will leave no trace on your forehead whatsoever, while other metals masked as gold will leave a dark mark on the foundation.

5. The nitric acid test

This secret of how to test gold is actually used by professional jewelry appraisers and is known simply as the acid test. This test is not easy to do, mainly because nitric acid is rather hard to find, but it’s the it’s the most effective way of how to know original gold.

To do the test, lightly scratch the surface of the jewelry in question and put a drop of nitric acid on the scratch. Only real gold won’t be affected by the acid. Gold pleated sterling silver jewelry will make the acid milky, and fake gold will produce a green spot.


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My name is Inna. I am a content writer with an English and literature background. As a mother of a 2-year old son, I love learning about children’s health and development, as well as finding new interesting toys and activities for my little one. I am also in love with all things tech and always keep my finger on the pulse of new smartphone and gadget releases. Another big passion of mine is beauty and makeup – every day I read about new trends in skin care and makeup and always look forward to trying them. Plus, I love pop culture, travelling, crafts, and anything that can make our daily life more thrilling!