If you own gold bullion, you understand the importance of investing in this precious metal. However, with the proliferation of counterfeit gold items on the market, including over $50 million in bogus Swiss-stamped gold bars, knowing the difference between real and fake gold can help you make a wise purchase.
There are various methods for distinguishing real gold from counterfeit gold, but the best methods for effectively assaying your gold include examining the hallmark, a weight check, and XRF testing.
How Can You Tell if your gold is real?
Most gold jewelry will include a hallmark or stamp that indicates the gold content, such as “14K” or “18K.” The percentage of pure gold in the item is indicated by these markings. 24K gold is 100% pure gold, 18K gold is 75% gold, and 14K gold is 58% gold. Cash for gold dealers will want to check the authenticity of gold, so you should check if what you have is real gold.
Other gold hallmarks include letters such as GF, which indicates that the piece is gold filled, or GP, which indicates that the object is gold plated. These goods have less gold than 24K, 18K, or 14K gold, making them less valuable.
Some phony gold objects may include forged hallmarks or stamps. To ensure their authenticity, you can have these pieces analyzed by a reputable precious metal dealer. If the hallmark or stamp is missing or looks to have been altered, it is a clear indication that the item is a forgery.
Take the piece to a precious metals dealer who can authenticate the hallmark and assess whether the gold content matches the stamp.
Checking Your Weight
Weighing your pieces is a simple, at-home method for determining the purity of gold. Gold is a dense substance with a density of 11.1 oz. per cubic inch. Comparing the weight of a genuine gold piece to another gold item can help you evaluate the authenticity of a possible phony item.
Measure the weight of the object using a precision scale and compare it to the weight of an actual gold item of similar size and shape. For example, if you have doubts about the purity of a gold bar, lay it on the scale and weigh it.
Then, weigh a second bar marked with the same weight and compare the two measures. If the first piece is lighter in color, it could be false gold.
While this test provides an easy DIY assessment of the authenticity of your gold, you should never rely on it when purchasing or selling a piece. Instead, have your pieces weighed and measured by a competent gold dealer to ascertain the gold content and worth.
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analysis
XRF analysis is the most accurate approach to determine the purity of gold. This approach employs a sophisticated X-ray fluorescence equipment. It may measure up to 22 unique components in a single reading without the need for sample preparation.
XRF testing is a non-destructive, non-invasive procedure that can examine a gold sample in seconds. The XRF equipment provides faster and more accurate examination without harming the metal sample, yielding a more dependable result than previous tests. It identifies trace levels of gold and can be used to verify the purity gold when people want cash for gold.
There are other tests that can be carried out like the magnetic test or acid test as well as a density test. Professional gold buyers will often use more sophisticated methods of testing.