Look for Hallmarks

Most gold jewelry or pieces will have an engravingon an inconspicuous part, such as the inside of a ring. If the engraving says 24K, that indicates that it is pure gold. Beware, though, as some gold pieces may be engraved with an incorrect hallmark in order to pass it off as pure gold.

Magnet Test

Real gold is not magnetic, but many other metals are. If you have a relatively strong magnet (something stronger than a fridge magnet), you can easily test if your gold is real by placing the magnet near the piece and seeing if it is attracted to the magnet.

If it is, then it’s likely not pure gold, but rather some form of cheaper metal that has been plated gold or a gold-like substance. If your piece is not attracted to the magnet, then it’s likely gold!

Vinegar Test

This test uses a simple pantry item—vinegar! Simply take a few drops of vinegar and drop it onto your gold item. If the drops alter the color of the metal, then it’s not real gold. If your item is real gold, the drops will not change the color of the item!

Skin Test

This test requires a little more time than some of the other tests, but is especially helpful for jewelry. It will also reveal if a piece of jewelry is fake over time, that you thought was real and maybe had no initial suspicions about! Real gold will never make your skin turn green. If your jewelry changes the color of your skin to a bluish or greenish tint, it’s not real gold.

Float Test

The float test is a quick test that will reveal whether or not your gold is real without damaging your piece. This test isn’t completely foolproof, as some metals that aren’t gold are also heavy, so they will sink and make you think it’s gold. It’s best to do another test to make sure.

Fill a clear glass or bowl with water. Gently drop your item into the water. If it sinks, it’s likely real gold. If it floats, it definitely isn’t real gold. Real gold will sink to the bottom because it’s denser than water.

Gold will also not rust, so if you see any signs of rust you know your piece isn’t real gold, and there’s no worry about damaging your item if it is indeed real gold.