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  • Kian Smith

Do not let the bling fool you: How to differentiate original gold from fake

People love to shine, some more than others, that's why many go for gold jewellery and accessories but don’t let the bling fool you. The English proverb, all that glitters is not gold would not exist if this were not true and given the fluctuating value of gold, the precious metal is susceptible to counterfeiting. Therefore it is important to know how to spot fake gold to ensure you don’t cry foul at the expense of your money.

Recently, fake gold bars stamped with the logos of major refineries flooded the global market. These illegally branded fake gold bars were also discovered in the vault of American multinational investment bank and financial services holding company, JPMorgan Chase. If these slightly reddish yellow counterfeit metal can escape scrutiny and be found in one of the world's top investment banks at the heart of the market in bullion. How much more the ordinary eye which is not trained to detect fakes. With that said, here are the ways to differentiate fake and illegally mined gold from real ones.

Over time, a stamped mark of purity was used to determine the authenticity of gold but with the level of dedication and finesse used in producing these counterfeit gold these days, a stamp isn't the best certification the purity of gold. This is because some gold products of low quality may have a higher fineness marking while some gold bars may be gold-plated copper contents.

By nature, a person cannot remember what he does not know. For that reason, the first thing a person should know about real gold is its properties. Gold neither tarnishes nor rusts because it is resistant to oxidation. It also is non-magnetic and only gets dissolved using nitro-hydrochloric acid.

For those who cannot go for proper testing and just want a quick deciphering at home, all you need is a magnifying glass. This test is pretty straightforward and requires just your gold and a magnifying glass. While looking at the gold from the magnifying glass, check for any signs of decolouration and extreme shine. Real gold is slightly reddish yellow and does not overly shine, so, If your gold bar or jewellery is too shiny or a bit discoloured when it comes in contact with your skin, then it’s not pure gold.

Another quick test to undergo is the weight and size test. The density of gold makes it very hard to replicate, making it one of the most precious metals in the world. If you know how many Karat gold your piece of jewellery is, this test is really easy as the weight and size test automatically reveals what you already knew. That is if it is genuine. Real gold will be less compact and small compared to its weight.

The float test is another effective way to test for gold authenticity. By placing your gold in a bowl of water, the density of gold can be determined. Pure gold is heavy and has a high density of 19.32 g/ ml while fake gold has a density between 14K-17.8 g/ml. Mathematics and big terms aside, genuine gold will immediately sink to the bottom when placed in a bowl of water while fake gold will float.

Despite the fakes flooding the market, it is still very important to check for a stamp. Gold will be stamped with the karat weight and the manufacturer’s name. counterfeit gold violates global rules that have been set in place to prevent funds from going to organized crime groups or to supporting illegal mining practices as well as hurt the gold industry.

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