If you've ever broken a gold necklace, then you are probably familiar with scrap gold. Scrap gold is made up of gold fragments that are no longer usable in their original form. Usually, these fragments will be refined and then used to make new jewelry or other gold items.
If you would like to buy scrap gold, you need to be able to identify if the gold is authentic before you claim it for refining. Below you will find some simple tests you can run to find out if your gold is real or fake.
1. Run a Magnetic Test
While a negative magnet test doesn't definitively prove that scrap gold is fake, a positive test is a red flag. Place a magnet near a piece of gold and watch to see if it moves, if it does, it's failed the test and saved you money.
2. Look for Discoloration
While real gold is constant throughout, fake gold will tend to have abnormal splotches that resemble darkened spots.
3. Run the Water Test
This test is easy to remember if you think of it as the egg test. When eggs go bad, they float to the top of the surface, but if they drop to the bottom, they're fresh. Similarly, real gold is heavy, so if it feels lightweight and flimsy, it's unlikely to be real. By dropping it in water, you can see if it's light enough to have some buoyancy that can tip you off to it being a fake.
3. Bend It
Real gold is soft and can be bent with tools, while fake gold isn't as malleable. If you can't put a small mark on it, it's a sign you should pass.
4. Does It Look Cheap?
As a general rule, if a gold piece looks inexpensive, there's a good chance it is. If it looks like the jeweler didn't put the time and attention into perfecting the piece, it's likely because they didn't feel it was worth the effort. After all, it won't provide enough compensation for their efforts. But if you notice delicate, fine details and special finishes, it's likely that it' real and the jeweler did their best to enhance its worth and reduce flaws in the piece.
Buying scrap gold can be a challenge, especially if you don't know if you have the real deal. Contact local experts if you're ready to sell or buy scrap gold.