How To Test Gold At Home

How To Test Gold At Home
Posted on March 19, 2024 by BOLD Precious Metals
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Imagine revealing the small but exciting secrets hidden within your gold jewelry or bullion without leaving the comfort of your home without stepping out. Precious gold, an appealing and versatile metal, shines in a variety of colors.

Its value lies not only in its aesthetics but also in its purity. Whether a cherished heirloom or a recent purchase, the true worth of your gold items hinges on their gold content: Is it pure or merely plated?

In the hustle of everyday life, finding the time to visit a professional jeweler or a pawnshop to determine if the gold we're holding is real or fake is difficult. Fortunately, testing gold at home is a convenient, swift solution to this dilemma.

Now, you must be thinking, how to test gold at home? In this post, we delve into the fascinating journey of gold testing over the ages till today for your better understanding of gold testing, presenting you with simple yet effective methods to test gold at home. Additionally, we offer essential safety tips to ensure your gold testing adventure is productive and harm-free.

Let's dive deeper into how gold testing has evolved from the traditional touchstone method to modern technology.

    From Touchstone to Tech: The Evolution of Gold Testing Methods

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1) Touchstone Testing

Approximately 2600–1900 BC, during the Harappa period of the Indus Valley civilization, the touchstone was used to test the purity of precious metals. It was also used in ancient Greece.

Anyone could quickly ascertain the purity of a metal sample with a touchstone, which resulted in the widespread adoption of the gold standard of exchange. Even though it was common practice to mix gold with less expensive materials for coinage, one could easily calculate a coin's intrinsic worth by measuring the amount of gold it contained using a touchstone.

Process:The touchstone technique involves scratching gold jewelry on a touchstone to determine its purity. This stone has a smooth black surface. After the scratch is made, a drop of gold testing acid should be applied to it.

The karat of the gold can be determined by comparing the reaction of the acid with the gold to known standards. The gold testing acids should have solutions for 10K, 14K, and 18K gold and a solution for testing silver. Although not necessary, it is also useful to have a solution for 22K gold. If the gold does not react, it means that it is 24-karat gold.


2) Cupellation Testing

During the next Iron Age, cupellation was carried out by fusing the base metals with excess lead. To separate the noble metals, the bullion or fusion product was heated in a cupellation furnace.

Cupellation separates gold or silver from impurities. The impure metal is melted in a cupel, a flat and porous dish made of refractory material. After melting the metal, a blast of hot air is directed at it in a special furnace. The impurities, which include unwanted metals such as lead, copper, and tin, are oxidized and partly absorbed into the pores of the cupel while partly vaporized.


3) Nitric Acid Assay

Nitric acid (HNO3) is a colorless, highly corrosive mineral acid readily available. Older nitric acid that has oxidized takes on a yellow hue. Nitric acid sold commercially is between 68% and 70% pure. Water makes up the remaining volume. Procedure: To perform the test, you'll need a glass dropper, a stainless steel dish, and nitric acid. Working with acid indicates that you are prepared to take precautions and know the harm that acid can cause.

Process:

  1. Put the gold product in the stainless steel dish. Pour nitric acid into the dropper and spray it onto the object's surface.

  2. If you notice a light green discoloration, it's highly probable that the item is not made of gold but may be gilded on the surface.

  3. If you find a white film on the item's surface, it's likely made of gilded silver.

  4. If you apply acid to the item and there's no reaction, then you’re lucky because you have a genuine gold item.

    Technological Advancements

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1) XRF Testing

X-ray fluorescence analysis is a very efficient technique that can correctly determine the metal's composition and purity. The consideration of this approach entails implementing an XRF analyzer aimed at emitting X-rays into the metal so that the amount of energy released by its excited electrons can be measured. It makes a way to find the content of the sample, taking less time and being more accurate.

XRF analysis is widely acclaimed as the most accurate technique for determining the metallic composition as it takes little time and only requires a basic skill. Namely, they show that this type of analysis can substitute the destructive methods of testing the purity and contents of metals, alloys, geological materials, and many others.


2) Precious Metal Verifier

The Precious Metal Verifier is a machine made in Chico, California, by Sigma Metalytics that analyzes the metal content of coins and bullion using electromagnetic waves. The apparatus gauges the metal's resistivity by penetrating beneath the thin plating covering most fake coins and bars. The result is then compared to a range of values gathered from measuring known-to-be-authentic samples.

If an item's electrical properties are tested and the result falls within a range of known values, it confirms that the item is made of the specific metal it claims to be made of. On the other hand, if the result falls outside the range of known values, it is possible that the metal in the coin or bar may not be the metal it claims to be.

It is deemed authentic only when the sample passes tests for resistivity and density.

Testing for resistivity: Verifies whether or not the sample has the appropriate resistivity.

Density testing verifies if the sample is the appropriate size.

Samples that don't fit on the onboard sensor can be tested using the wands with the precious metals verifier kit. With this PMV machine, you can also test your gold at home. No more wondering how to test real gold at home with this easy-to-use and handle test kit. Get yours today to boost confidence in your precious metals portfolio at the lowest prices available at BOLD.

    Easy Gold Testing Methods at Home

Here, we provide the solution to your query about how to test gold at home using several testing methods.

1) The Magnifying Glass Test

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The first at-home gold test you can do to ascertain the legitimacy of your gold product is the Magnifying Glass Test. This test is very simple: All you need is a magnifying glass and your gold jewelry or bullion.

This test suggests using a magnifying glass to carefully examine your gold item to identify a few key visual cues about it:

  • Any indications of fading
  • Vibrance and hue
  • The hallmark and purity

If your gold piece fails the Magnifying Glass Test, you will know without a doubt that you do not possess a pure gold item. You can carry out additional testing to determine its fineness. To authenticate it, examining other gold hallmarks, in addition to the purity marking, on your item, mainly if it is a piece of jewelry, is essential.

2) The Stamp Test

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A stamp designating the type of gold will typically be present on a piece of the metal. If the item has a "GF" or "HGP" stamp, it is gold-plated rather than pure gold. On the other hand, a pure gold piece of jewelry might have a "24K" or another fineness-indicating mark. Typically, hallmarks can be found inside the ring band or close to the clasp on necklaces.

But be warned, some hallmarks are counterfeitable. For this reason, it's crucial to use a mark as just one of several signifiers of authenticity.

The hallmark might be extremely tiny. To see it clearly, you might even need a magnifying glass.

3) Testing Gold with Makeup Products

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This test to determine whether your accessory is real or fake is considered quick and simple despite its lack of relative reliability.

First, apply a liquid foundation to the top of your hand. After properly blending, allow the layer to dry. After finishing, rub the foundation with your gold piece. Your gold is genuine and pure if you do that, and it leaves a black mark there. If nothing changes, though, the accessory is most likely phony.

4) Magnet Test

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A strong neodymium magnet can be used to test your gold (be careful not to use a fridge magnet, as they are insufficiently strong). Real gold isn't magnetic. However, pure gold may be magnetic when other metals are added to it to make it strong and long-lasting enough for daily jewelry.

That said, note that pure gold is combined with a tiny amount of these magnetic metals. As a result, the resulting gold alloy lacks sufficient magnetic strength to be drawn to a magnet.

5) Vinegar Test

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White vinegar is a fantastic tool to use when testing your gold piece. To administer this test, you must:

Place your accessory on a table or hold it in your hand.

Apply a few drops of white vinegar to the metal with a dropper.

Put some white vinegar in a glass bowl and set your gold jewelry inside. Put it away for five to eight minutes. Take out the piece and give it a quick water rinse.

Regardless of your approach, even a minute variation in the metal's color indicates it is not authentic. Conversely, if your jewelry still has a shine, it is most definitely real.

    Precautions for Accurate and Safe Gold Testing at Home

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Above, we provided you with an idea of how to test gold at home. In this section, we will give you some precautions to follow.

Clean the Gold

Clean the gold carefully before testing to ensure accurate results. The gold purity test may be manipulated if the gold contains any dirt or chemicals on its surface.


Educate Yourself

Understand the principles and procedures of your chosen method. First, you should know the importance of gold purity. Second, while performing the test, you should follow the step-by-step procedure to avoid any error or manipulation in the result. At BOLD, we offer an 'Investor's Guide' and plenty of informative articles to help you understand the world of gold. Take a look at them for a more comprehensive understanding.


Use a Reliable Testing Kit or Devices

When testing gold at home, it is essential to get a testing kit. The kit will contain all the needed materials, along with detailed instructions. Read the instructions carefully before beginning, and conduct an inventory of the supplies before starting. Or simply consider our Precious Metals Verfier devices for an easy way to test gold or any other precious metals.


Safety Gear

Put on protective gloves and goggles. Since you are working with acid, owning thick but fitted gloves is essential. Wearing eye protection while working with the acid is advisable, but it's necessary to be extremely careful. Refrain from touching your face or eyes during the process to avoid any mishaps.


Ventilation

If using chemical testing methods, ensure you are in a well-ventilated area. Staying in a closed area while performing the test may cause skin irritation and breathing problems. Therefore, ventilation is vital while handling chemicals.


Document the Results

Recording the test results, together with the date and the testing technique, should be kept. This documentation may be helpful for later use. Recording the results of every test you conduct is part of documenting the results. For future reference, recording each process step with notes and, if feasible, photos is beneficial. If the results of various tests show discrepancies or are unclear, obtaining a professional evaluation might be necessary to determine an item's authenticity and value.

    What if You Discover Your Gold is Fake?

Now that you've learned how to test gold at home, it's crucial to know what to do if you realize the gold you purchased is counterfeit or phony. If you suspect your gold is fake, you can file a written complaint with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by visiting- https://forms.cftc.gov/Forms/Complaint. The CFTC, the country's Consumer Protection Agency, investigates complaints about firms breaking commitments or defrauding customers. Filing such events to the CFTC prevents fraudulent activities, scams, and unethical trade activities.

When filing fraudulent complaints related to counterfeit gold or any other precious metals, you should include a few essential details like a description of the complaint, financial loss, evidences you found after testing, previous actions, contact information, and so on. This detailed information will help the CFTC to investigate fake commodities effectively.

Conclusion

The journey to test gold at home has come to an end, and you must have a better understanding of how to identify gold at home. In this post, we covered the evolution of gold testing methods, from touchstone methods to modern technological advancements. We also explained various gold tests you can perform at home and the precautions you must take while testing gold.

Testing gold at home satisfies our curiosity and provides us with invaluable information about the purity and authenticity of our gold items. This knowledge is not merely academic; it is essential for making informed decisions, whether for personal satisfaction, investment purposes, or preparation for sale. The methods outlined, ranging from the simplicity of the Magnifying Glass Test to the chemical testing and the Precious Metal Verifier, provide us with a toolbox for navigating the golden mysteries within our treasured items.

If you want to invest in real gold bullion , BOLD Precious Metals is the right place. We offer a large inventory of gold coins and bars from renowned mints and refineries, with high-quality gold content at the lowest prices. Get yours today!


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