Gold is always a popular jewelry material and is often used as an asset. Unfortunately, it is also an indisputable fact that the market is full of fakes. Forgeries are becoming more sophisticated and ingenious year by year, and it is often difficult for ordinary people to easily judge the authenticity.
However, as long as there is knowledge about the nature of gold or pseudo-species, the risk of being deceived can be reduced.
This article will use examples to illustrate the pseudo-types of gold products and provide practical information to help distinguish the authenticity.
Types of fakes
Firstly, I will explain various types of gold products to you based on actual cases that often occur during the appraisal.
There are mainly two kinds of fakes: “plated” and “the seal does not match the actual material”. The following is a more detailed classification example. Please refer to the description below:
Example 1: Double coating structure
Bars sometimes appear to be fraudulent, with a copper-plated layer under the deep gold-plated layer, and a base made of tungsten under the copper-plated layer. This method of fraud cannot be accurately judged by touchstone inspection alone, and other methods such as specific gravity inspection must also be used.
Example 2: Misreporting purity
It is K10, but engrave is K18. This is the most common technique in Malaysia. Because it is still a gold product, although the purity is falsely reported, it cannot be 100% fake, but it does deceive consumers. And while falsely reporting purity, the following example 3 is usually used.
Example 3: It is clearly a gold-plated product, but “K18” engraved on the gold product
The unit of purity of gold is karat, and the purity of 18 will be marked “K18”. On the other hand, for gold-plated products, “GP” (for example: “K18GP”) must be added. However, some of the fakes are actually gold-plated but are not marked with “GP” and only write “K△△” in an attempt to make people think they are gold products. According to many appraisal cases, most of them use “tungsten” which has a specific gravity similar to gold and plated with a layer of gold to confuse the customer. Please pay attention to this situation.
One of the most irritating methods is that no gold is used at all, only gold-plated copper processing is applied to tungsten, but the “K18” representing gold is also engraved.
Example 4: Partial use of non-gold material
Although there are engravings of gold products, some non-gold materials or plating are mixed in the buckle or the buckle connecting the chain. This is a common method of fake jewelry.
This method of using fakes on small parts is not easy to distinguish at first glance, and it is easy to be overlooked and missed for inspection.
Counterfeit products are often rough in workmanship. If they are handed over to gold acquisition or appraisal experts, they can usually be seen at a glance.
You can do it yourself! Teach you how to easily distinguish real and fake gold products
Identify your own accessories. Then I will introduce to you what methods are available to distinguish the authenticity of gold products. If we can take a multi-pronged approach, the accuracy of identification will be higher.
Firstly, confirm the engraving.
The unit of purity of gold is karat, and the purity of 18 will be marked “K18”. In foreign countries, there is also a mark of the thousandth method. K18 and K14 are marked as 750 and 585 respectively. The thousandth method is also very common in the Japanese, Taiwanese or Malaysian markets.
The bar (Ingot) is engraved with 999.9 or “FINE GOLD”, these words are all pure gold (K24). Gold will change in tone with the mixture. The engraved words such as “K14YG” (ie K14 Yellow Gold) or “K18PG” (ie K18 Pink Gold) should be familiar to women who like jewelry!
In addition, gold-plated products are marked with the words “GP”, “GP” is the abbreviation of Gold Plated, and the engraved words of 18K gold plated are “K18GP”.
Attract with magnet
Gold has no magnetism and cannot be attracted by magnets. However, there are other metals such as silver or tin that do not react to magnets, so it cannot be determined arbitrarily that “not attracted by magnets is gold!” Although it can be easily tested with a magnet at home, this method is only suitable for judging whether an object may contain iron!
Measuring specific gravity
Remember the story of Archimedes measuring the crown? Since ancient times, there has been a method of using this value to confirm the authenticity of gold. The origin of this method can be traced back to the Archimedes era before AD. Sink the object you want to confirm in the water and measure the specific gravity. Compare the specific gravity value with the specific gravity corresponding to the purity of the engraving of the inspection object to confirm whether the two match.
However, this method also has disadvantages. If the inspection object is a gold-plated product made of a material with a specific gravity similar to that of gold, the measured specific gravity may not be much different from that of gold, so other inspection methods must be used at the same time. In addition, if you mix and match different materials such as gemstones in the design, or a design with holes in the middle, you cannot get the correct value.
Different purity will present different tones, and the difference in tones is also an indicator of distinguishing authenticity.
In comparison, the difference in tones between the fake and the real can usually be clearly felt. Pure gold (K24) is golden yellow with orange. When the purity decreases, the orange color also turns lighter, showing a relatively bright yellow; when the purity reaches about K10, the color tone begins to become dull due to the increase in the copper content.
The touchstone test method is an identification method that has been used since ancient times. Rub the metal surface on a black stone called the “touchstone”, and determine whether it is gold based on the traces of friction on the slate, the color tone, or the touch during rubbing. When rubbing some rough gold-plated products, the non-gold material inside will be exposed, and you can see that they are fakes at a glance.
How to test
1. Observe the hue of the streaks on the touchstone (according to the previous hue criteria).
2. It is judged by the difference in the feel of friction or the softness of the streak. (Compared to gold, the fake feels harder and weird when rubbed.)
3. Pour nitric acid on the streaks and observe the reaction
• Pure gold or gold: will not react with the nitric acid
• K gold: higher purity than K18: there is no reaction even if it is topped with nitric acid. However, when the purity drops below K10, a discoloration reaction can be observed after a period of time.
• Metals such as iron: will produce melting, discoloration and other reactions. (Caution! Since nitric acid is a very dangerous drug, skin contact with nitric acid can cause chemical burns, so it is not recommended to use this method without training.)
In addition to the above methods, there are many simple methods that can be immediately noticed. “Careful observation” may be the basis for everything!
It’s like using a magnifying glass to check the details. The surface of the alloy is rough, uneven, or black, which can be observed through a magnifying glass.
The above introduces the pseudo-types and distinguishing methods of gold products. Is it helpful to you?
To avoid being deceived by fakes, it is recommended that you have the background knowledge described in this article. Of course, “Go to a reputable store to assist in the appraisal”, then you can rest assured!