How to Identify Gold Cuff Links

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Buy gold jewelry, like cufflinks, from a reputable jeweler.
Buy gold jewelry, like cufflinks, from a reputable jeweler. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Gold cufflinks add a touch of elegance to a suit or tuxedo but fake gold jewelry can fade and even stain your skin or clothing. If you've received a pair of gold-looking cufflinks as a gift or want to verify that you have genuine gold accessories, you can check for certain gold stamps. Federal law mandates that real gold products have special markings to identify the karat weight, gold content or gold overlay. However, if you own antique cufflinks, like a pair from a Civil War officer's uniform, these markings will be absent. In some cases, you may need to consult a jeweler.

Examine the cufflinks in a well-lit area or if possible, take them outside to look at them under natural light.

Flip the cuffs over to look at the backs. Cufflinks have a large post. If your cufflinks do not have posts, they may be buttons or button covers.

Use the magnifying glass to look for gold markings. Look for the numbers 10, 12, 14, 18, 22 or 24 followed by the letter K. You can find this gold karat marking at the back of the cufflinks where it cannot be seen when worn.

Search for other letter markings like GF, GO or RGP. These abbreviations stand for gold-filled, gold overlay or rolled gold plate, respectively.

Turn the cufflink over in your hand and look at the edges. If the gold appears worn away or tarnished looking, this may indicate that your cufflinks are not authentic. Poor workmanship could mean fake gold.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your cufflinks to a quality assurance lab and have them X-rayed for verification.

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