Five Simple Ways to Test Fake Gold

With the world’s greatest gold rush, it is important that buyers like you can tell what gold is real and point out the fakes. Many people own gold, or at least they think they do, and since they are unable to tell the difference, they cannot fully appraise it. Fake gold is frequently referred to as gold plated, heavy gold electroplated, or even gold things, but it is clear that these are not genuine gold. How obvious? Well, that’s what we will be learning in today’s article. Fake gold is unnecessary and will not be worth the real deal. This article will show you five simple ways to spot fake gold. Below, we cover five ways to spot fake gold from miles away. 

How to spot fake gold

The Nitric Acid Test

One method to check if your gold is real is to use a nitrate acid test. We do not recommend using this method on the jewelry but rather on scrap gold or gold bullion. , First, make a light scratch on your gold with a nail file or screwdriver to conduct this test. Pick a spot that will not be easily noticed, and then, using a dropper, apply just a drop of the acid to the spot you scratched. Hopefully,, there’s no reaction, which means your gold piece is real. However, if it turns green or some other color or you see any reaction, your gold is fake or gold-plated.

Common metals like copper, sterling silver, and zinc will give off a light green color. If you do this on jewelry, let’s say your engagement ring, and it turns out to be fake, other than the marriage possibly being called off, you will lose resale value on that ring. Before using the acid, read all the instructions and use the necessary precautions, i.e., goggles, gloves, and proper ventilation,. Nitric acid is difficult to buy because of its explosive tendencies under the right conditions. Still, you should have no problem finding it online on eBay, or you could contract chemical supply houses.

The Magnetic Test

Pure gold is one of the few metals that isn’t magnetic. With a strong magnet, you can determine if gold is real or not by putting the magnet near some of the gold and seeing if there is any attraction or reaction to the magnet. Counterfeit gold and other alloys are often pulled towards a magnet when placed in front. This test is simple to do because magnets are widely available. Because gold doesn’t rust, you can be sure your piece isn’t genuine.

The Water Test

Gold is a dense metal, and we can take advantage of this. By testing its density or heaviness, we can determine if it is gold or not. Take your gold and drop it into a bucket of water. Real gold will sink to the bottom of the bucket, while fake gold will float because of its lower density than water. Also, real gold does not change color when wet or rust when exposed to the elements.

The Skin Test

Skin discoloration caused by wearing fake gold is not a myth but rather a fact. To test this, just hold your gold in hand for some time. A few minutes should suffice. Sweat from your body should react with the gold in hand, and we can then check out the results. If your skin is black or green, then that piece of gold isn’t real. Real gold will not react to skin or sweat. 

You can take this step further and give it to certified consultants to run further tests on the piece of gold to determine its purity levels. Although fake gold is not always genuine gold, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain some amount of gold.

The Ceramic Test

This is a very simple test and only takes a few seconds. First, you will need an unglazed ceramic piece; get one of those ceramic plates. Make sure it is unglazed. If you use a glazed ceramic, this method will not work.

Next, pick your piece of gold, or test subject as I like to call it, and drag it along the surface of the unglazed ceramic so that it leaves streaks on it. A gold streak means your gold is real. A different colored streak like black or green means it is a fake.

Spotting Fake Gold FAQs

Q: Why is my gold jewelry turning black?

A: When the base metals alloyed with gold react to sweat, gold turn black or green. This leads to discoloration and even rust on your gold jewelry, and seeing as gold does not rust, your gold jewelry may be fake.

Q: Does gold darken as it ages?

A: Exposure to air causes metals to oxidize over time. This forms a thin coating on the jewelry, which generally darkens it and gives it a matte look.

Q: Is it possible for real gold to be scratched?

A: Gold is a soft metal that readily folds and bends, rendering it a poor choice for jewelry that has to keep its form. Real gold jewelry is also readily scratched, so it wouldn’t take much time to become scuffed and ugly.


It is important to remember that this article lists only five simple ways to test your gold. A talented artisan may mimic most of the properties of genuine gold using other materials, so even if your piece passes a couple of these tests, it’s always a good idea to run more to be sure. The greater the number of tests it passes, the more probable it is real gold. Finally, remember that it is always preferable to have your gold piece tested by an expert. If you are looking to purchase gold coins or bars, contact American Bullion, a trusted leader in precious metals to speak with our experts about buying gold or owning gold to your retirement accounts.