March 1, 2023


How to Verify the Authenticity of Gold: A Simple Guide


As the market for fake gold grows more sophisticated, it can be challenging to distinguish the real deal from a counterfeit. 

In this article, we'll share some expert tips and insights on how to verify the authenticity of gold, so you can confidently buy precious metal with peace of mind.

Visual inspection

Visual Inspection is the first step in verifying the authenticity of gold. Real gold has a distinctive yellow colour and a bright, shiny lustre. If the metal appears dull or has a greenish or reddish tint, it may be fake. Another way to test gold is by rubbing it against a rough surface, like a ceramic plate. Real gold leaves a yellow mark, while fake gold leaves a black or grey mark.

Magnifying glass

Using a Magnifying Glass can provide an up-close view of markings and characteristics that can help identify real gold. Real gold is typically marked with a hallmark, which denotes the purity of the metal. Look for marks such as 10K, 14K, or 18K, which indicate the percentage of pure gold in the piece. Authentic gold also has significant density and weight, so if a piece feels lightweight or hollow, it could be fake.

Magnet test

Since gold is not magnetic, if a piece of jewellery or gold item sticks to a magnet, it is likely fake. However, it's important to keep in mind that some gold pieces may contain small magnetic components, so this test is not always conclusive.

Acid test

The acid test is a reliable way to determine the purity of gold. This test involves scratching the gold onto a stone and applying nitric acid to the scratch. If the gold turns green, it's likely fake. If it turns milky, it is likely real gold. However, handling dangerous chemicals means that this test should only be performed by a professional.

Density test

Since gold is a dense metal, it should sink when dropped into a container of water. Fake gold, on the other hand, will float. Performing this simple test can provide quick and easy verification of the authenticity of gold.


Can gold be fake even if it has a hallmark?

Yes, some counterfeiters may mark fake gold with a hallmark to make it appear more authentic. Always perform multiple tests to determine the authenticity of gold.

Is it safe to perform the acid test at home?

No, the acid test involves handling dangerous chemicals and should only be done by professionals.

Can fake gold turn yellow over time?

No, fake gold will not change colour over time. If a gold piece changes colour or tarnishes, it is likely not real gold.

Can gold-plated jewellery be considered real gold?

No, gold-plated jewellery is not considered real gold, as it only contains a thin layer of gold over a base metal.

How can I be sure that the jeweller I'm buying from is reputable?

Look for jewellers that are certified by reputable organizations, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA). You can also check online reviews or ask for referrals from friends and family.

Determining the authenticity of gold is a crucial step in avoiding scams and protecting your purchases. Remember to perform multiple tests to ensure authenticity and always exercise caution when buying from unknown sources. 

Avoid purchasing gold from street vendors and instead choose to buy from certified jewellers or dealers with a strong reputation, or a reputable online exchange like Matador. This will not only guarantee the authenticity of your gold but also safeguard you from potential fraud. With these tips in mind, you can buy gold with peace of mind, knowing that you're making a wise and informed decision.

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