How to recognize gold?

You have just inherited the entire jewelry collection from your grand tent Yvette and among the costume jewelry and objects from another time, you have spotted a few pieces whose value you are questioning? Is this big golden necklace gold? And is this cuff in platinum, palladium perhaps or white gold? Let's take a look at some little tips so you can test the quality of your gold jewelry yourself, at home.

Summary :

Find the punch

This should be your very first instinct. Gold jewelry, like silver jewelry and precious metal jewelry, is systematically hallmarked. The hallmark is a marking of the metal which allows it to prove its quality and authenticity. So to the question “How to recognize gold?” The quickest and simplest answer is: find the punch.

Please note that in France, this marker is only mandatory on jewelry made of more than three grams of gold. If these have a lower content, they will therefore perhaps not be hallmarked.

Thanks to it, you now have two indications:
the gold content of your jewelry
the authenticity of your piece
We will then speak of "carat" (which is not, here, the unit of measurement for diamonds) but rather a unit of measurement in jewelry, which allows you to have an idea of ​​the purity of a metal.

The carat is designated by the letter "k".

Which hallmark for which carat of gold?

There are two types of hallmarks to authenticate your gold alloy jewelry: that of master (the manufacturer) or that of responsibility (the importer). This generally takes the shape of a diamond.

The other is called “title or guarantee”. Affixed by customs, it differs depending on the gold content of your jewelry.

24 carat gold is represented by a seahorse, but this is too malleable to be used in jewelry.
The 18 carat gold is authenticated by an eagle's head.
14 karat gold (approximately 58.5% gold) is represented by a scallop shell.
9 carat gold, the alloy of which contains at least 37.5% gold, is authenticated by a clover-shaped hallmark.

gold jewelry

Testing for gold with vinegar

Further proof that vinegar is really useful for everything since you can even test the purity of your jewelry with it. To do this: Place your gold jewelry in a container filled with vinegar and leave for at least an hour. After that, clean your parts with water.
Do you notice a color difference? If so, your jewelry is not gold. If the color has not faded, there is a good chance that it is real gold.

The magnet test

Today's little scientific update: gold is not magnetic. So I'll let you deduce for yourself what it could mean for your big golden signet ring to find itself firmly attached to a magnet? Yes, the disappointment is yours.
All your gold necklaces, pendants and other bracelets are not gold if they are magnetized.

Bleach to recognize gold

Simple and effective, you will still have to wait at least 24 hours before getting a response, however, it is a tip like any other.
Place your jewelry in a bleach solution for an entire day and see the results. If there is oxidation, there will be disappointment. But if your jewelry is not oxidized, it is really gold!



First of all, a warning is in order. Testing ceramic to recognize gold jewelry should only take place as a last resort since this technique can damage your precious jewelry.
To make it, you will need unglazed ceramic, therefore, without enamel. Rub your jewelry with it and analyze the result. If a golden mark appears on the ceramic, your jewelry is gold, if it leaves a black mark, it is not gold.

The bite test

If you bite a small corner of your favorite bracelet or hoop earrings and the mark of your tooth appears, your objects are made of gold. This phenomenon is due to the malleability of gold. Incredible right?

The polishing cloth

Easy and quick, you will only need a small polishing cloth, generally used for cleaning jewelry, to do this test.
Rub your ring, bracelet or necklace on it and observe the result. If the gold layer has tarnished or if it reveals another color, your piece is unfortunately not gold, but probably gold plated, that is to say covered with a very fine layer of gold which can be altered.

You can entrust this task to a professional jeweler or a gold buying store. The act of testing the gold is free and you will therefore not pay for the handling. This could save you from potential accidents with your jewelry.

Finally, be aware that gold and gold-plated jewelry, which are made from a brass alloy (copper and zinc) and covered by electrolysis with a thin layer of 3 micron gold, are two different things. But there are also many varieties of gold intended for jewelry stores. Black gold, yellow gold, pink gold, white gold or even rhodium-plated gold from rhodium plating for example.