How to identify real gold ?

How to identify real gold ?

This is a question many people ask themselves, whether they’re looking to buy gold as an investment or simply to identify if the antique jewelry they own is real gold. Gold has been valued since antiquity for its beauty, rarity, and durability. It is often used in the making of jewelry, coins, and various valuable items. Have you found some antique jewels in a drawer and want to know if it’s gold?

Here are some tips to help you recognize it, distinguish between real gold and mere imitations, and find out where to have antique jewelry appraised.

How to know if an antique jewel is made of gold?

Several methods exist to recognize gold, but one of the most reliable is to check if the jewelry has a gold hallmark.

Recognizing a hallmark on a jewelry piece

A hallmark is a stamp that indicates the content of gold. In France, 18 karat gold must bear a hallmark depicting an eagle’s head and sometimes a number indicating its purity in carats. For example, an 18 karat hallmark indicates that the gold is composed of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals (an alloy of copper, nickel, or zinc). The higher the number, the purer the gold. A 24 karat hallmark means that the gold is composed of 100% pure gold, which is quite rare.

To check the hallmark on a bracelet or a necklace, simply turn it over and look for the hallmark. Generally, it can be found on one side of the jewel, often at the back or on one of the branches for earrings. If you do not see a hallmark, it does not necessarily mean that your jewelry is not gold. It is possible that time and wear have erased the hallmark or that it is simply difficult to see with a magnifying glass. In this case, there are other methods to check the purity of gold.

There are other hallmarks that indicate the gold fineness: the owl for 18 karat gold of used or imported, the scallop shell for 14 karat gold, and the clover for 9 karat gold. Hallmarks can also be found for gold-plated jewelry, so it is always recommended to have your jewelry checked by a professional.

French hallmark depicting an eagle’s head on a ring band

You can find the list of various French hallmarks on the government website ( PDF available for download.

Method to recognize gold without a hallmark

Another method to recognize gold is to perform a touchstone test.

  1. Obtain a touchstone and a mixture of acid for testing gold. These mixtures should be handled with caution (a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid).
  2. Clean the gold object you want to check and ensure it is dry.
  3. Rub the object against the touchstone. Do this with light pressure, using a back-and-forth motion. A clear mark should be left. There will be a golden mark left on the stone.
  4. Drop acid onto the marks left by the object.
  • If the marks disappear: it is not gold.
  • If they disappear partially: it could be gold-plated.
  • If the mark persists: it is very likely gold, but it is still necessary to verify it.

And how to check silver jewelry?

To determine if it is silver jewelry, you need to rub the silver jewelry and perform these simple tests in the same way as with gold, except that the clear mark will become silver, slightly blue after the application of acids.

It is important to note that this method does not guarantee 100% accuracy of the object being gold. This method can be misleading if the object has a layer of metal harder than gold, such as platinum or rhodium. Therefore, it is recommended to combine this method with others to ensure the authenticity of the gold object.

Method to identify gold with a magnet

Gold is a non-ferrous metal, meaning it is non-magnetic. If you can magnetize your gold jewelry, it indicates that it is composed of another metal such as stainless steel. However, this method is not foolproof, as some gold alloys may be slightly magnetic.

Method to recognize gold with a magnifying glass:

If you have a magnifying glass, you can closely examine your gold jewelry to see if there are any imperfections or marks that would indicate it is made of another metal. Pure gold is a very malleable metal and should not have easily visible marks or scratches. If you notice color differences or wear that reveals a different color, it is likely a plating.

Ask a professional for an appraisal

If despite all these methods you still have doubts, it is recommended to consult a professional jeweler who can assist you and recognize the gold through their experience. An appraisal to recognize gold is free, and you should receive a response promptly. Our jewelry is guaranteed and comes with certificates of authenticity. Discover, for example, our antique gold rings.

What is the difference between 18k, 14k and 10k or 9k gold ?

It is important to note that most gold jewelry is not made of pure gold. Most of the time, they are composed of gold alloys that make them stronger and easier to work with. For example, 18 karat gold is an alloy that contains 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. 14 karat gold contains 58.5% pure gold, while 10 karat gold contains only 41.7% pure gold. If you are looking to buy gold, it is important to check the purity of the gold before making a purchase.

What is the master hallmark ?

A master hallmark is a lozenge hallmark containing letters and a symbol that identifies the manufacturer of the jewelry. This mark may be difficult to spot with the naked eye, but it is typically visible with a loupe.

It is important to note that master or hallmark stamps are not present on all gold items. Some jewelry or valuable items may not have a hallmark, either because they were made in a country where the use of hallmarks is not mandatory, or because they were made before the adoption of hallmarking. However, the presence of a hallmark can be an indication of the quality and purity of the gold.

What is the difference between carat and karat?

In French, the word “karat” is used to refer to the purity(contente) of gold. It’s the unit of measurement for gold purity. The higher the karat, the purer the gold object. Thus, an object made of 100% pure gold will have 24 karats, while an object made of 50% gold and 50% other metals will have 12 karats. It’s important to note that karat has nothing to do with the weight of the gold object. A 24 karat gold object can be lighter than a 14 karat gold object if it’s smaller or has a shape that doesn’t allow for as much gold.

“Carat,” on the other hand, is a unit of weight measurement used for diamonds and other gemstones. One carat equals 0.2 grams. This unit is used to indicate the weight of diamonds and other gemstones.

These simple tests should help you determine if your jewelry is made of gold or not.

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