‘Fool’s Gold’ is often thought of as the popular 2008 Matthew McConaughey movie, however, it also refers to the mineral iron pyrite, which has a resemblance to gold. This is a material that is used in various pieces of jewelry. Often times, people think they’re buying gold, when they really aren’t.
The only way to make sure what you have is really gold is to take it to a certified, reliable jeweler or pawn shop for testing. However, there are a few things you can do yourself that can give you clues.
- Look carefully for markings that indicate 10K (417), 14K (585) or 18K (750). This indicates the percent of gold in the piece (41.7%, 58.5% or 75%) respectively. While this test may not indicate authenticity, it can tell you more about your piece.
- Using a magnifying glass, look for signs of wear or flaking that may occur at various spots. Plated pieces may start to show different color metal in these spots, indicating what you have is not solid gold.
- A quick and easy test is to use a magnet. Gold (and silver) are not attracted to a magnet. You need to use a strong magnet, and if it attracts the metal, it is likely not gold. Beware though, some jewelry may have other magnetic metal inside (springs in a clasp, wire inside a bracelet) that will make it look like it’s attracted. This is because the metal inside is doing the attracting, not the gold.
- A Porcelain Scratch test can be performed by using an unglazed tile or ceramic plate and scratching the object on the tile. If it leaves a black streak, the item is not gold. If the streak is gold in color, the item is likely gold. This may scratch the piece, but should not cause much damage, if any at all.
If these tests still leave you questioning whether what you have is authentic gold, it’s time to turn to the professionals.
The experts at Empire Loan will use an acid test. Using nitric acid, as well as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, the tester will carefully put a drop of acid on the item and watch for a reaction. If the item bubbles or starts to turn green, it is not gold. Often the tester will lightly scratch the item on special stone, similar to the scratch test listed above, and place the drop of acid on the gold to test for a reaction.
To test the authenticity of your gold, or to get cash for your gold, visit one of Empire Loan’s 8 New England Pawn Shops.
Don’t be fooled this April Fool’s Day by fool’s gold.