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Have you ever seen anyone bite down on a piece of gold jewelry? Have you wondered why Olympic athletes will bite their gold medals after they receive it? Why exactly do they do that?
People bite gold to check the authenticity of the gold. Real gold, that is 24 karat gold is an incredibly soft material. If you bite gold, you will leave an indentation in the gold if it is pure gold.
This practice came about back when people needed to know if the gold they were being offered in exchange for the product that they were selling was real. The only way they had of knowing this at the moment was to bite down on the gold. If it left a mark, it was real gold.
Today there are more ways that a person can check the authenticity of gold, so there is no need to bite down on it and leave an indentation in your gold.Olympians will often still bite down on their gold medals for the pictures though.
To see the most popular gold testing kits (no biting required) just click here.
Can A Jeweler Tell If Gold Is Real?
Your jeweler knows jewelry. After all, that is their career. If you take something that is gold (or you think it is) to a local jeweler would they be able to tell if it is made of gold?
A good jeweler will be able to tell you if the stone in your ring is real or a fake. They will also be able to tell if the gold in your piece of jewelry is real or not. Jewelers can tell if gold is real without having to bite it typically by scraping it on a test kit and adding a chemical.
If you don’t live near a jewelry store, there are a few ways that a person can test the authenticity of gold at home. If you want to check for the authenticity of gold yourself at home you can look for markings on your jewelry.
Here are some markings that you will want to keep an eye out for and what they mean. The following markings indicate that the item in question is not pure gold.
GP, GF, GE, GEP, HGP, and HEG are all recognizable markings that can usually be found discreetly hidden on your piece of jewelry.
For rings the markings would be on the inside of the band. Here are the meanings behind the markings I just mentioned.
- GP means that the item is gold plated.
- A marking of GF means that the item is gold filled.
- GE and GEP means that the item in question is gold electroplated.
- HGP means that the jewelry is heavy gold plated.
- HEG means that it is heavy gold electroplated.
None of the items marked with this are real gold. Anything that is less than 10 karats is considered to be fake gold, costume jewelry, or simply impure. Percentage wise if it is less than 10 karats then it only has a purity of 41.7 percent.
Any jewelry item that has any of the previous markings means that those items are made out of a different material and simply have a gold covering.
There is no such thing as 100 percent pure gold jewelry. 24 karat gold has a purity of 99.9 percent and 18 karat gold is 75 percent pure gold. If your piece of jewelry does not have any markings to be found because it has worn off through the years you could test it to see if it is real gold by simply seeing how it reacts to your skin (or by buying a test kit)
Real gold will not discolor your skin, unless you are wearing a liquid foundation, in which case it will cause your skin to turn black where it touches the makeup. So, for this test you will need to make certain that you do not have any makeup on your hands.
You can simply hold the piece of jewelry in your hands for a few minutes and check to see if there is a tint to your skin. If there is no change to the coloring of your skin then the item in question is real gold. If there is even a hint of discoloration such as black, blue, or green then the item is fake gold.
You can also test gold with a magnet.
Gold will not be attracted to a magnet at all. So, if you hold a piece of gold to a magnet and it is even in the slightest bit pulling toward that magnet then it is not pure gold.
Another way to test gold is with a glass of water. Simply drop your piece into a clear glass of water. If it sinks completely to the bottom then there is a chance that you have real gold. Gold is incredibly dense so it will not float even in the slightest bit.
If you have a piece of unglazed or untreated ceramic you can also use that to test the purity of your gold. Lightly take your piece of gold jewelry and drag it across the ceramic. If it is real gold, it will leave a gold mark or trail on the ceramic.
There is another test that can be done with a simple acid that can be found in most kitchens, vinegar. To perform this test you will want to do it in a place where it will not be seen, so an underside piece of the jewelry since it will discolor the item if it is not real gold.
Take a Q-tip and dip it into vinegar then dab the Q-tip to your piece of jewelry. The coloration of real gold will not be altered. However, if you have a fake piece of gold the color will change when it comes into contact with the acid of the vinegar.
If you have tried all of these at-home tests and still are not sure if what you have is real or fake gold you can certainly take your piece of jewelry to a jeweler. These people are trained in what to look for and they have equipment that can test to see if your gold is real or not.
A jeweler will have access to machines such as an XRF spectrometer. This machine causes no damage to the item of jewelry as it will send x-rays through the gold. This process will cause the atoms in the gold to become excited, as the atoms begin to calm back down, they will give off radiation which the machine will monitor and analyze in order to identify what kind of material it truly is.
The XRF spectrometer is the most accurate machine test for gold there is.
There are several ways that you can test your gold to see if it is real besides just biting it. If you are ever in doubt, take your piece to a jeweler to know for certain.