With precious metal dealers popping up on every corner, more people are purchasing gold jewelry and items than ever before. While it can be a great addition to your collection, there is a risk that your recent gold purchases may be fake.
How can we determine that our jewelry is gold-plated instead of pure gold? In this article, we will show you how to test gold at home with toothpaste and other everyday household items.
Keep reading until the end, as we will also go over some interesting facts about gold. Let’s get started!
How to Test Gold at Home with Toothpaste
There are several ways we can test gold at home to determine its authenticity, and one of them includes the use of toothpaste.
To test gold at home using toothpaste, you will need the gold item, toothpaste, and running water. Here are the steps you must follow to determine whether your jewelry is real or fake gold:
- Take the gold item you wish to test and apply a small amount of toothpaste to it.
- Rub the toothpaste onto the gold item for about 30 seconds. During this step, you’ll see a black streak beginning to form.
- Run the gold item under running water to wash the toothpaste.
- If the black streak disappears, your gold item contains real gold. However, if the markings do not wash away, you’re in possession of fake gold.
It’s important to note that the gold testing with toothpaste method is not 100% accurate. However, it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to test gold at home.
How Does the Toothpaste React to Real and Fake Gold?
When you apply a dab of toothpaste on a gold item and start rubbing it in, the abrasive particles in the toothpaste will begin to remove a thin layer of the precious metal.
If the jewelry or item contains pure gold, the abrasive materials in the toothpaste will not have any effect. However, it’ll start to change color if it’s not pure gold, suggesting that there could be other metals present, such as silver or copper.
It’s important to note that the toothpaste test does not work on gold-plated jewelry or items. When you apply toothpaste on a gold-plated item, the abrasive material will start to eat the outer layer, exposing the metal underneath.
The best way to check whether the gold-plated item contains real gold is to check for the hallmark stamp. A hallmark is an official stamp that indicates the composition of the precious metal and its purity.
What Are the Other Ways to Test Gold at Home?
There are many other ways we can test gold at home besides the toothpaste test. However, you may need to invest in a gold testing kit, which you can find online or at jewelry stores.
A gold testing kit is one of the most reliable methods to test gold at home. Here’s how we can use a gold testing kit to determine whether or not the gold jewelry or items contain real gold:
The Karat Test
When it comes to gold, the term “Karat” is a unit of measure for the precious metal’s purity. 24-karat gold, for example, is 100% pure gold, while 18-karat gold has a 75% purity level.
If you have a gold testing kit, follow the steps below to determine whether your gold item contains pure gold:
- Clean the gold item by wiping it with a soft cloth before moving on to the next step.
- Place the gold jewelry or item on the testing stone, which is often included in the gold testing kit.
- Follow the instructions that come with the gold testing kit. There will be three different types of acid solution. If you believe your gold is 14-karat, apply a few drops of the 14-karat acid solution.
- Compare your home testing results with the chart that comes with the gold testing kit to determine whether your item contains real gold.
The Magnet Test
If you can’t get your hands on a gold testing kit, you may want to consider using the magnet method to test your gold at home. To do that, you must invest in a strong magnet, preferably a neodymium magnet.
Once you’ve got a hold of a strong magnet, you can determine whether or not your item contains genuine gold by placing it next to the magnet.
Pure gold is not magnetic because it is a non-ferrous metal. If the gold piece sticks to the magnet, it’s not made from genuine gold.
On the other hand, if the gold piece does not stick to the magnet, you’re most probably a lucky owner of real gold.
The Float Test
Authentic gold is much denser than most of the other metals. One of the easiest ways of testing gold at home is the float test.
To determine whether or not your gold items contain real gold, you’ll need a glass full of water. Drop the gold accessory or piece into the glass.
Real gold is supposed to sink due to its higher density. If your gold item sinks to the bottom of the glass, you can take a sigh of relief, knowing that it most probably contains authentic gold.
However, if it floats to the top or hovers in the middle of the glass, the item could be fake gold.
The Bleach Test
One of the signs that a piece contains real gold is that it won’t react with most substances, including household bleach.
You can do the bleach test to determine whether or not the item is made from real gold or it’s gold-plated. However, it is essential that you use regular bleach instead of colored or perfumed bleach, as that can adversely impact your piece.
Here’s how you can test gold at home using the bleach test:
- Fill a glass to the brim with regular household bleach.
- Drop the accessory or item into the glass.
- Pay close attention to the reaction between the piece and bleach. You’re looking out for telltale bubbles or changes in the color of the bleach or the item.
If you notice any property changes in the bleach or the item, the piece is most probably gold-plated or fake gold. Remove the accessory immediately, rinse it properly under running water, and pat it dry with a soft cloth.
Make sure you do not carry out the bleach test on a piece of gold jewelry with a gemstone, as the bleach could severely damage the gem.
The Makeup Test
Although the makeup test is not a comparatively reliable method of testing gold at home, it is a quick and easy way to find out whether the jewelry you have contains real gold.
The following are the steps you must follow to determine the authenticity of your gold piece:
- Apply a liquid foundation on the top of your hand.
- Start rubbing the foundation and wait for it to dry completely.
- When it dries out, rub your gold jewelry, piece, or item onto the foundation.
If rubbing the gold piece onto the foundation leaves a black mark, it’s a sign that the item is authentic and made from pure gold.
However, the accessory is probably fake if there is no change to the foundation layer.
The Lemon Test
The acidic nature of a citrus fruit like a lemon can help you differentiate between real and fake gold.
Here is how to test gold at home with the lemon test:
- Squeeze a few drops of lemon on the gold accessory. You can use a dropper if you want to.
- Use a soft cloth to clean the item slowly.
- Observe any changes in the color of the gold piece.
Since real gold does not react to most chemicals, including the acidity in citrus fruits, it will maintain its lustrous sheen and stunning yellow color. However, if there is discoloration, it is a sign that your gold accessory is fake.
How to Test Gold at Home (Visual Inspection)
Some experts are able to differentiate between real gold and gold plating by simply inspecting the piece visually. There are four things that they look out for, and these include the following:
The Color of the Gold
Experts know that real gold has a bright yellow color that is easy to identify.
By using a magnifying glass, they carefully scan the gold accessory or piece. The item is probably fake if there are any gray or dull spots.
The Markings on the Gold
In most cases, real gold will have a hallmark stamp at the back. When examining gold, the experts will often scan for the hallmark.
Signs of Wear
When carefully examining gold items, experts look for any signs of wear and tear. New pieces or accessories should not have any scratches.
It’s important to note that this is not an accurate way to differentiate between fake and authentic gold. This is because gold is a soft metal and is prone to wear and tear. If not properly maintained, it could have signs of damage, which is why old jewelry might not pass the visual test.
The Weight of the Gold
A gold expert or dealer can tell whether a gold piece is real or fake by simply holding the item. Authentic gold is heavier than other metals. If the accessory has some weight, it may be the real deal.
Fun Facts about Gold
Here are a few interesting facts about gold that you may not know about:
Gold Is the Only Yellow Metal
Although there are many other yellow metals, gold is the only metal with a natural yellow color.
Other metals may develop a yellowish taint following oxidization or reaction with the different chemicals.
Gold Is Not Originally from Earth
When the meteorites bombarded the planet more than 200 million years ago, they left behind gold deposits that settled in the Earth’s crust.
Gold Is Extremely Soft
Since gold is an extremely soft metal, it is also ductile, meaning we can pull it out into a thin wire. Some designers use gold threads in fabrics (embroidery).
You can stretch a single ounce of gold into a gold thread that is five miles long.
Gold Grows on Trees
You may have heard the age-old saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Well, guess what? Gold does!
Australian scientists used the Maia detector to study the eucalyptus tree samples from the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia. They found traces of gold in the leaves of the plant.
Gold deposits can be found in underground water, and since the roots of the eucalyptus trees can reach 130 feet underground, they can absorb the microscopic gold particles.
Through the process of photosynthesis, the gold particles make their way from the roots to the tree leaves.
Gold Became a Cure in the Medieval Times
When the bubonic plague spread across Europe between 1347 and 1351, the community doctors developed a “cure” by crushing emeralds with gold and mixing it with water.
The rich would gulp the mixture down in hopes that they won’t catch the disease.
Testing gold at home is a great way to check whether your gold item is fake or real. If you have gold coins, bars, or jewelry, you can use any of the methods mentioned in this article to determine its authenticity.
However, it’s essential to understand that testing gold at home using toothpaste, lemon, or any other method comes with certain risks. It could harm your gold piece, adversely affecting its value.
Another key thing to note is that the chemicals in the gold testing kits are hazardous to humans. If not used properly, it could be detrimental to your health.
Although a gold testing kit can help you test gold at home, you should use it in conjunction with other methods, as it is not 100% accurate. It’s best to reach out to a professional appraiser to help determine the authenticity of your gold items!