How to Check Gold


When you buy antique gold or gold items manufactured in countries where gold stamping is not required, age or damage could make it difficult to confirm an item's authenticity before making a buying decision. The same holds true for gold items that you purchase online. To limit your financial loses, test gold purchases as soon as you get them home and continue to buy only from sellers and auctioneers who have a proven track record of selling you high-quality, authentic products.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Jeweler's loop
  • Gold testing kit
  • Gloves
  • Examine the gold jewelry or bullion for stamps with a magnifying glass or jeweler's loop. This is the simplest way to check a piece of gold's authenticity. Gold bullion usually bares a stamp verifying authenticity on its face. An authentic gold ring usually bares a stamp on the inner edge. Gold necklaces and bracelets usually bare stamps of authenticity near the clasp. Industry stamps vary, depending on where the gold jewelry or bullion was manufactured.

  • Test the gold with a home gold testing kit. Such kits contain acid and a stone on which to test the gold. Rub your gold on the stone, which leaves residue but should not damage an authentic gold item. Consider wearing safety gloves before applying acid to the gold residue. The acid will not dissolve the gold residue if it is authentic, writes Dennis Gaffney on the Antiques Roadshow website.

  • Take your gold to be appraised. You can locate a certified appraiser in your telephone directory or take your gold to a reputable jewelry store or pawn shop to be appraised. The Better Business Bureau suggests seeking authentication and valuation from at least two reputable appraisers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gold manufacturers stamp products in two ways: by karat or by gold content percentage. As such, an 18-karat gold bracelet might bare a stamp that reads "18K" or "75," meaning that an 18-karat gold piece contains 75 percent gold. Gold bullion is labeled by gold content percentage. As such, investment-quality gold bullion bares stamps that read ".999," meaning 99 percent gold.
  • Independent gold sellers and auctioneers might not have explicit return policies. When buying from such sellers, you might need to negotiate a return policy along with the price. If the seller agrees to a return policy, ask him to hand-write and sign the terms on the sales receipt.
  • Keep gold testing kits out of the reach of children.

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  • Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images
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