How to Test Gold With Vinegar

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If you've ever wondered whether a gold piece is real gold or some other type of metal, you can find out without taking it to a jeweler or pawn shop. Using equipment and ingredients you already have, you can test the authenticity of gold with a very simple test conducted in your own kitchen.

How to Test Gold With Vinegar
(Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Eye dropper
  • Clean wash cloth
Step 1

Rub the gold piece with the clean wash cloth to remove any dust, dirt or contaminants. If there is any stuck-on dirt or grease, get the wash cloth wet and scrub it off.

Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media
Step 2

Use the eye dropper to place two or three drops of vinegar onto the gold piece. If the piece is very small or doesn't lay flat, put the gold into a small bowl so the vinegar can stay in contact with it.

Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media
Step 3

Observe any changes to the gold piece. Gold is a stable metal and does not react with oxygen corroding. Because it is stable, it will not change colors when exposed to vinegar. If the gold piece changes colors, it is not real gold. Gold plate will turn black when exposed to vinegar.

Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media
Step 4

Run the gold piece under cool water or spray it with a water bottle to remove the vinegar.

Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media
Step 5

Rub the gold piece with the clean cloth to dry it.

Ignacio Lopez/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • This test won't hurt your gold. On the contrary, vinegar is commonly used to clean gold jewelry.
  • Be aware that some gold jewelry may be marked 14k or 18k even though it is not real gold. This is a sly marketing tactic employed by some jewelry dealers.

References

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