How to tell if gold & sterling silver are real

You may purchase gold or silver from various stores in your area at a great price only to find out that you either received a fake piece or inferior type of gold or silver. The most effective way to determine if your item is real or not is to take it to a specialist who can use X-ray technology to verify the purity. If you choose not to hire a professional, there are kits that can be purchased to test the gold and silver authenticity.

Look for any markings on a silver identifying it as sterling silver. Check for the word "sterling" or the numbers .925 or 925/1000. Sterling silver manufactured in the United States must be properly marked. If purchasing silver outside of the country, check for markings EP, EPNS, EPC, AL, X11, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, Heavy plate, Triple, Quadraplate, Community and IS.

Place a magnet next to the silver jewellery. If the jewellery attaches to the magnet, then it is not real sterling silver. The same test can be performed for gold as well.

Purchase a silver testing solution from your local hardware store or jewellery supply store. The liquid can cost around £1.90.

Place one drop of the acid on the silver object from the silver testing solution you purchased.

Look for a creamy colour to be produced. If you see a creamy colour, then the silver is 92 to 100 per cent silver which defines sterling silver. Colours that are produced that are either grey or a greenish are a lower quality silver, not the sterling.

Obtain a piece of unglazed porcelain from around the house or your local hardware store. Scratch a piece of the gold jewellery across the porcelain and look for a golden yellow streak. A golden yellow streak means you have real gold. Any other colour is a metal other than gold.

Scratch a piece of glass using the gold jewellery. If the gold scratches the glass, then it is not gold since gold has a lower hardness than glass.

Purchase an acid like hydrochloric or sulphuric from your local hardware store. Put on protective gloves and drop a droplet of acid on the gold. If the gold does not dissolve then the gold is pure. Wear rubber gloves when dealing with any acid.

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About the Author

Qyou Stoval holds a bachelor's degree in communications/media studies from Clayton State University and a MBA with a concentration in marketing from Ashford University. He has more than 10 years experience writing articles, poetry, novels, and stage and screen plays. His writing career started professionally in 1997. He is also proudly serving the United States Air Force.