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Whether you inherited gold items from a loved one or splurged on yourself once upon a time, you may be interested in parting with a few pieces of jewelry. When you’re getting ready to sell your gold jewelry, one of the first things you need to do is ensure the jewelry is made from real gold, not just fool’s gold. While you can’t tell at first glance whether a ring, necklace, or bracelet is real gold, you can try a few at-home tests to confirm your suspicions.

Look for Hallmarks

One way to tell if the gold is real is to look for a hallmark on the item. This mark is a stamp indicating the gold’s karat weight. In the United States, the hallmark number is a fraction of 24. For example, a 12K, or 12 karat, ring is 50% gold. A pure gold item will be marked as 24K.

Do not panic if your gold jewelry does not have a hallmark. This does not necessarily mean it is fake gold. The hallmark may have rubbed off, or the jewelry may have been made before hallmarking became a common practice.

Try the Nitric Acid Test

Before attempting this test, note that nitric acid is a dangerous chemical. You will need to wear gloves and goggles and ensure the room is well-ventilated when performing the nitric acid test. Also, the chemical could damage your jewelry, so you will want to think carefully before attempting this test on an item of great personal value.

With that said, you will need to make a small scratch on the jewelry, preferably in a place that is not easily visible, such as under a clasp or on the inside of the ring. Make sure the scratch cuts through the top layer of gold. Next, drop a small amount of nitric acid on the mark. If the jewelry turns green, the item is not gold or mostly gold. If the jewelry’s appearance turns milky, it likely contains sterling.

Rub the Gold Jewelry in Makeup

An easy way to test whether your gold jewelry is real or fake is to rub it in a liquid foundation. Pour some of the foundation on your hand, blend it into your skin, and let it dry. Next, take the piece of jewelry and rub it on the area covered in the foundation. If a black streak is left behind, the gold is pure. If rubbing the jewelry on your foundation-covered skin does not leave a black mark, it means your item is not gold.

Use a Magnet

Gold is not magnetic, so another way to determine if your gold is real is to perform the magnet test. For this test, you will need a strong magnet. You may need to go to the hardware store for a good one because most kitchen magnets are not strong enough. If the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, you will know that your jewelry is made with materials other than gold.

Attempt the Float Test

A simple test for finding out if your gold is real or not is to drop the jewelry in a glass of water. If the gold floats, it is not pure gold. However, if the gold sinks to the bottom of the glass, then it is real gold.

Get a Professional Appraisal

While there are clearly several ways to test whether your gold jewelry is real or fake at home, the results from these tests may vary on a variety of factors. The only foolproof way to test the purity of your gold item is to have it professionally appraised. Our experts can provide an accurate appraisal of your jewelry and finalize your cash sale if you choose to proceed. Come by our shop today to pawn or sell gold.