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How To Tell If Gold Flakes Are Real (or Fake!)

real gold flakes in gold pan

Even in the ancient times, gold was valued above currency, same as it is right now. It is one of the most treasured metals on planet earth. Some tests can be used to tell whether gold flakes are real or fake.

The two main ways to identify whether gold flakes are real or fake are the caustic methods and non-caustic methods. They are discussed below:

The Caustic methods

1. Use of acid

This method is prevalent and is precise. Many acids may damage or cause harm to artificial materials. The original gold materials will not be harmed or scraped by acids.

You can only carry out this test if your specimen was recognized as non-magnetic. This will elude any preventable actions and expenses.

You should also consider doing this acid test only on the specimen that you will not be bothered by if they get destroyed or scraped, and any objects that cannot be sold for artistic value. After carrying out this test, make sure to dispose of the acid used.

2. Elasticity

The elasticity of gold is very high. A small bit of gold can be twisted or dent with force from a sharp piece of wood or a pin and can be as thin as paper. Pieces of fake gold cannot withstand this type of pressure and will break.

3. Sectility

Gold is a soft metal, and therefore, to contest its softness, it must amalgam with other metals like platinum, copper, silver, or nickel. Real gold flakes can be cut using a sharp knife, while fake gold cannot be cut.

4. Rigidity

Fake gold has got a Mohs hardness of 6.5 or 6, while real gold has got a Mohs rigidity of 2.5. For instance, fake gold can scrape a surface made of copper, while real gold cannot scrape a surface made of copper. Copper’s Mohs rigidity is 3; therefore, it is harder compared to real gold.

5. Streak

The streak test is another method that is used to determine the color of a mineral. A mineral’s color is an essential property that is used to recognize the mineral being tested.

The streak test is conducted by scratching a sample of the mineral across a section of unglazed ceramic recognized as a streak plate.

This procedure can create a small quantity of pounded mineral on the exterior of the plate. The color of the produced powder of the tested mineral is referred to as its streak.

The Non-caustic methods

1. Float test

It is one of the primary tests done on gold. It requires water and the gold specimen that is being tested. You only need to drop the specimen in the water. If the gold is genuine, it will sink to the bottom-most part of the bowl containing water.

This is because genuine gold is very dense. Therefore, if your gold floats or lingers around the bottom part of the bowl, it is fake gold or has been gilded. Conversely, this method is not 100% perfect as gold that contains extra heavy minerals will make the gold sink.

Also, when placed in water, gold does not discolor or rust.

2. Skin staining test

Hold your old object in your palm for some minutes. If it is fake or plated gold, then the sweat on your palm will produce a chemical reaction with the gold metal. Your skin will then have a green or black color.

This is due to your skin reacting with other amalgam metals and not gold. Genuine gold does not tint your skin lest you are allergic. Nevertheless, wearing plated or fake gold jewelry, or handling fake gold bars can stain your skin.

If you do this test on the part of your skin that has been applied with powder or foundation, genuine gold will leave a black smudge. It is recommended that you remove powder and or foundation from your skin before carrying out the test.

3. Magnetic test

This method is one of the most suitable gold tests, especially at home. For this test, you need a magnet with very high strength and a gold specimen. The magnet should then be placed close to the gold specimen. If the specimen is attracted to the magnet, then it is an alloy of gold or fake gold.

To attract the magnet, the metal has to have a small percentage of gold or entirely not made from gold. Gold metal does not contain any iron, thus, non-ferrous. Therefore, the gold will never be attracted to a magnet if it is pure.

If the specimen is somewhat magnetic but does not cling to the magnet, it has been glided with other minerals. This is most common in forged coins that look like gold. They are only plated on the surface, but beneath, they are fake.

4. Color

Fake gold has got a brassy color, while real gold has got a yellow to golden color. Most inherent gold is amalgamated with silver metal. If the amount of silver metal is sufficient, the sample, in this case, gold, will have a whitish-yellow color.

5. Discoloration

Most of the samples of fake gold found in the environment have some discoloration on their exterior. Small shavings of gold usually are not discolored and are bright.

6. Gravity

Gold metal has got a gravity of approximately 19.3. Fake gold’s gravity is approximately 5. All the gold found in the environment is an amalgam with other kinds of metals. They have a certain amount of gravity, which can lower the precise gravity of the gold samples.

However, it is never nearly enough that it can approach the precise gravity of fake gold. Samples encompassing a requisite amount of gold will continually have two or three times the precise gravity of fake gold.

7. Use of electronic machines

This method is one of the most precise ones for testing fake or real gold. Gold proprietors and even professional evaluators can utilize this method to tell the particular composition of your gold specimen.

If you opt to use electronic or XRF Thermo testing machines, make sure that they are in good condition to work so as not to end up with false results. Follow all the guidelines, as indicated by the manufacturers.

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