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How To Spot Real Gold From Fake Gold

Real or fake?

Sure fake gold (usually yellow gold) may look like the real thing at first glance. But if you take a minute and gaze closer, you can normally tell pretty easily if it’s genuine or not.

Following are some quick tips and tricks to telling the real stuff from fake.

1) Gold Price:

Price is always a great indicator. If someone is trying to sell you a gold chain, and it’s really, really cheap; it’s not real. Gold is expensive and holds its weight in, well, gold.

If a rope chain that would normally cost you $1,500 is selling for $49… It’s fake!

No one is going to sell it cheaper than what it’s worth. Even selling the item at scrap metal value would bring you more greenbacks. So look at the item, then look at the price. Is it justifiable? Price is a dead giveaway.

2) Gold Size:

Let your eyes be the judge. Is the piece massive in size? Like a huge gold 30mm chain as seen in the music videos? If it’s that big and thick, chances are it’s not the real deal. Huge chains (many filled with cz’s all the way down) would be worth a fortune if real. So 9 times out of 10, they are not. They are hollow, gold plated, worth just a fraction of the price.

3) Gold Weight:

How does it feel? How heavy is the peice? Gold has a nice weight to it. A balanced consistency. So take the item in question in the palm of your hand and bounce it. Feel the weight. Does it feel light and airy (like a balloon), or does it fall with substance? Also, listen to the sound it makes. Usually fake chains sound more like tin. They clink together when they fall. Give it a bounce test. Does it float like a feather?

Now… It is important to note that an item could be hollow and could be real at the same time. Many manufacturers produce hollow (also called semi-hollow) chains that are real gold, but just a 1/4 of the weight. This is to reduce cost, of course (think gold hoop earrings). They are hollow inside, but still real. So weight isn’t always a positive, but it’s a good start. Hollowed items don’t wear very well. They usually dent easily, crush, or break. They aren’t very durable, and I wouldn’t advise them.

4) Gold Color:

The color of gold can be a good clue too. Is the item incredibly yellow? Gold plated pieces generally are over-yellow. Really bright. The plating is normally not even or smooth either. It’s bubbled up (like spray paint), missing in sections (leaving some parts yellow, some parts white). So always look closely around the links and inside the crevices for more detail.

Grab yourself a 10x jeweler’s loupe and scope the entire piece. Do you see tarnishing? Discoloration? Layers chipping or peeling off? Gold plated items are a shell that covers the outside surface. This shell wears off, rubs away, chips or pits. Look for uneven sections. White or black base metal beneath (sometimes leaving green or black stains on your neck or clothing). These are a big signal that the item is fake.

5) Gold Stamp:

Look for a karat stamp; 10k (also written as 417), 14k (585), 18k (750), 24k (999). If it’s stamped, it could be real. Fake items are generally not stamped at all, or they’ll say things like 925, GP (gold plated), or GF (gold filled).

But, here’s the thing, the karat stamp isn’t always accurate. For many times the chain could be fake, but the jump ring or the clasp is real (very misleading).

Meaning, if you go by just the stamp on the clasp (lobster, spring ring), you could get yourself ripped off. It’s important to actually test the chain or bracelet itself. That way there is no question as to the authenticity of the piece.

Compare the items:

If you really want to know if an item is fake or not, compare it with the real thing. Go to a jewelry store and find something similar. Check out the quality, the coloring, the price tag. It will tell you what a real item would look like, feel like, and sell for.

And lastly…

Test the Gold:

Pick up a gold acid tester kit and test the pieces with acid. It will tell you instantly if the article is real gold or fake. Sometimes you’ll have to scrape away a little area to test it properly, other times you’ll have to file away a section or chunk of the gold just to see what’s hidden inside; a layer, or whether it’s solid.

Get your acid testing kits here.

Those tester kits are exactly what jewelers would use.

So as you can see, there are many aids; the visual appearance, the hue, the smoothness or waviness of the gold, the weight, the thickness, the price, the stamps… they are a sure-fire way.

See some examples below:

Real Gold Versus Fake Gold

And if you still don’t know…

Head into a local jewelry store. They can usually tell you within seconds.

Cheers! :)

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter 10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

29 Comments on HOW TO SPOT FAKE GOLD

  1. Hi I buy a ring which hss stamped 999.
    Ppl saw and it’s fake
    Will fake gold hv stamped

  2. Zoe Campos // May 17, 2020 at 7:13 am // Reply

    Thank you for telling me that I should watch out for any discoloration or uneven sections on the gold jewelry pieces I have found to see if they’re real. My sister and I have been given an entire jewelry box by my grandmother but we’re not sure yet if all of the items inside are real. It might be better if we were to use your tips to check if they are not fake before selling them for cash.

  3. I have a ring stamped 14k VD with a clover beside it. Is it real? I can’t find anything online about the VD stamp. Thank.

  4. Chris Martel // July 28, 2020 at 7:23 am // Reply

    I have a bracelet that stamped 18 kg is it real or fake

  5. My grandma’s gold ring have these markings, you help? Italian and Ukrainian background. A six sided star with flat edges, 60VR 150. Gold in colour with a solitaire diamond.

  6. brandon little // September 3, 2020 at 4:45 pm // Reply

    i have a ring thats stamped RS10K and it looks gold dont know

  7. Rose A Morgan // September 13, 2020 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    I have a nike ring marked 14k, but the guy I had look at it told me it was not real but plated. I scratched a spot on it and it was still gold wouldnt that.seem like it should be real not fake?

  8. I tested all my necklace with the magnet, everything is not sticking on the magnet but the clasp are all sticking on the magnet, what is that mean?

  9. My necklace is 999 only it is real?

  10. I recently purchased a 18k bracelet on line…. Has moon and stars charms, half chain half bangle, 7.5 in, weighs 29 grams… Marked Sidra 750 italy.
    What can you tell me about this piece???
    Seller had no info.
    I looked up SIDRA and sent an email to no avail.
    I do have a picture, but do not see a feature to include it in this message.
    Donna Demko

    • Anita Doczy // March 16, 2021 at 10:44 pm // Reply

      I looked it up on the internet, and Sidra 750 is Italian 18K gold. I would have a jeweler take a look at it before you try to sell it, but Sidra is apparently a good indicator that it came from Italy.

  11. Does jf 750 ring can sell? Or pawnable?

  12. i have necklace there is 585 mark,is this gold? and is this pawnable?

  13. My necklace is 999 only it is real?

  14. Gary jones // March 16, 2021 at 6:50 am // Reply

    I have a very heavy mens gold coloured ring it has 18k and 750 stamped inside, but makes my finger go a little black or dark green, is this real, I paid a lot for it years ago.

  15. Been Wearing rings and neckless over month showeres hand washing working on vehicles and looks same not discolored the weight was there when I weighed them the weight was there 18 k stamped neckless and ringx2 no peeling or anything I have tryed all tested I think it passes but took it in and they said noooopd it’s fake I can tell from back there o. I was about 6 ft away lol

  16. Paula Hamilton // May 10, 2021 at 12:22 pm // Reply

    I have my mother’s ring. It is marked 247VI and 750 is it gold

  17. Sometimes having jewelry tested and being told the jewelry is not real means nothing. Go for a second or third opinion. I have a bangle that is real solid 22k gold. Someone gifted it to me when I became ill back in 2015. After recovery, I took it to be tested trying to secure a loan and was turned down.The first time that ever happened to me. It was around Christmas time, and the tester practically yelled at me. A couple of years ago I took it back to the same business and had it tested again trying to secure a loan for helping out one of my kids. That time another employee there told me it was definitely real and gave me a sizable loan for it. I have been doing business with that company for about 40 years. My reputation there was restored. I definitely recommend getting a gold testing kit and learn to test for yourself. They are nof expensive.There are a lot of scams out here. From my experience I think sometimes the testers don’t want to believe what your items really are and just won’t tell you the truth.

  18. Douglas Clar // August 7, 2021 at 2:01 am // Reply

    Does my necklace a real 18K gold or fake? It has a mark on its lock Italian 750. What do you think?

  19. I have a ring that says gothic 14k and an astric.what does this mean real or fake

  20. Krista Richters // November 27, 2021 at 12:27 am // Reply

    I have a ring. MM 18kt WHAT IS THE MM?

  21. I bought a white gold diamond ring with 5 diamonds. It is stamped with a c in a circle with A/C? it

  22. My bracelet has no any mark but it sinks in water, can it be rea

  23. Lourdes Parcon // March 11, 2022 at 2:52 am // Reply

    Hi I buy necklace in ongpin last day and I notice that beside of number 750 theres also a Chinese sign,but I as the seller if Saudi gold,they reply me yes 18 k Saudi gold,itsnt fake?!??what does Chinese sign stand for???

  24. I have a panther head
    18k ring 3/4 carrot diamonds with ruby eyes came from Arabia
    And an 18 k necklace all stamped I know my ring is worth 8 grand and the necklace had appraised at 1200 so I did a test and went to a gold buying shop the man tested my ring with a magnet it did not stick, he asked if he could do a scratch test it left a gold streak but when he applied the acid to the streak it took a minute then disappeared He said that it was fake then I said well what about my necklace he did the same thing streak and all he said it was fake also ?
    I keep these so called fakes in a vault and only wear them on occasion.
    I was stereo typed I have long hair and tatts with a beard so in my mind I think that He ASSUMED Tthey were stolen ?

  25. Talmadge Marsh // August 15, 2022 at 6:26 pm // Reply

    I have a waterfall cluster diamond ring marked TI GOLD KA DO YOU have any information on this piece ?

  26. TG is on it nothing else it’s a very large gold chain necklaces big links

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