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How Can I Tell If My Gold Is Real Gold?

Gold is a precious metal that has been used in jewelry for centuries. It is known for its luster, durability, and resistance to tarnishing. However, even the most well-cared-for gold items can sometimes develop discoloration or tarnish. If you’re wondering what could have gone wrong with your gold item, here are a few things to consider.

Have you Given it a Clean or Polish?

Firstly, have you given it a clean or polish at all since you’ve had it? It may just need a bit of surface cleaning to bring back its luster. Use a non-abrasive cleaner for this. You can read more in our cleaning guides for tips on cleaning specific metals and gemstones.

Has it come into contact with chemicals, alcohol soap, swimming pool chlorine, or another cleaning or beauty substance?

Unfortunately all of these substances and more can degrade and damage metal jewellery and gold.

Chemicals can damage gold in several ways. One of the most common ways is through exposure to chlorine. Chlorine is a powerful oxidizing agent that can react with the alloys in gold and cause discoloration or even corrosion. This is why it’s important to remove your gold jewellery before swimming in a pool or hot tub that has been treated with chlorine.

Another chemical that can damage gold is mercury. Mercury can react with gold and form an amalgam, which can cause the gold to become brittle and break. This is why it’s important to avoid wearing gold jewellery when working with mercury or other chemicals that contain mercury.

Acids are another type of chemical that can damage gold. Acids can react with the alloys in gold and cause discoloration or corrosion. This is why it’s important to remove your gold jewelry before working with acids or other corrosive chemicals.

Finally, some cosmetics and personal care products can also damage gold. Products that contain alcohol, such as hairspray and perfume, can cause discoloration or corrosion of gold jewellery. It’s important to avoid spraying these products directly onto your gold jewellery.

In conclusion, while gold is a durable and long-lasting metal, it can still be damaged by exposure to certain chemicals. To keep your gold jewellery looking its best, it’s important to avoid exposing it to chlorine, mercury, acids, and certain cosmetics and personal care products.

Has it gone a coppery colour?

If your gold has gone a coppery colour, there are a few possibilities to consider. Firstly, if you’ve been sent a 14K gold-filled piece of jewellery, then this wouldn’t go copper as the 14K has a brass core not copper. The other possibilities would be that chemicals have made contact with your gold and discoloured it (this includes alcohol hand-wash, hair products, etc.). You would usually identify this by the outside of the gold becoming darker or discoloured (where it’s made contact with a product), whilst the inside retains most of its colour.

Do you know that skin PH can affect Gold?

Another possibility is that you have a skin pH that turns certain metals dark. This will usually result in the darker areas being where your jewellery has made skin contact. For example, the part of the metal where a hoop has gone through the pierced hole and had the most contact with your skin.

In the first instance, I would give your item a wipe and shine while checking if there’s a noticeable difference between the outer edge and inner edge or the part that’s gone through your pierced hole.

If in doubt, get back to your supplier and ask what could have gone wrong. They may be able to offer some guidance to help you in future.

Is it gold plated?

A gold-plated metal will usually discolour on the inside first and where it’s had contact with a pierced hole. This is due to the wearing down of the micro gold layer to reveal the base metal underneath. 

Gold plating is a process of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, usually copper or silver. Gold plating is often used to make jewellery look more expensive than it actually is. If you’re wondering whether your gold item is gold plated, there are a few things you can do to find out.

One way to tell if your gold item is gold plated is to look for a hallmark. A hallmark is a stamp or engraving on the item that indicates its metal content. If your item has a hallmark that says “GP” or “GEP,” it means that it’s gold plated. 

Note: Not all real gold or silver items are hallmarked as each country has its own specifications of what weight limit these metals must be before a hallmark is needed, or if it needs one at all. 

Another way to tell if your gold item is gold plated is to use a magnet. Gold is not magnetic, so if your item is attracted to a magnet, it’s not solid gold. However, keep in mind that some other metals, such as copper and nickel, are also not magnetic.

You can also use a magnifying glass to examine the surface of your item. If you see any signs of wear or discoloration on the surface, it’s likely that your item is gold plated. This is because the thin layer of gold can wear off over time, revealing the underlying metal.

Finally, you can take your item to a jeweller or appraiser who can perform tests to determine whether it’s solid gold or gold plated. They may use acid tests or X-ray fluorescence tests to determine the metal content of your item.

In conclusion, there are several ways to tell if your gold item is gold plated. You can look for a hallmark, use a magnet, examine the surface of the item, or take it to a jeweller or appraiser for testing.