How To Spot Fake Gold Chains

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
How To Spot Fake Gold Chains

If you are in the market for a gold chain there are some things that you need to know so that you can learn how to spot fake gold chains. That is why in this blog we will teach you the basics of gold and teach you how to test if your gold chain is fake or not.

What Are Fake Gold Chains Made Of?

A fake gold chain is called a fake for a reason, these chains are usually gold plated, not solid gold like a real chain would be. It basically means that real gold is coated on the outside with another, cheaper metal on the inside.

As the chain does have a thin layer of gold outside, it creates the illusion of it being solid gold in appearance. There is a major issue in the jewelry industry as many scammers or crooked jewelers will pass off a fake gold plated chain as a real one.

 Knowing what to look for is the key to identifying a fake gold chain.

What Is A Real Gold Chain Made Of?

While this might seem self explanatory, a real gold chain is a gold chain made from solid gold and must be at least 10 karats. This is because all gold must be greater than 10 karats in order to qualify as real gold. 

Simply put, if the chain is solid gold but not pure enough, it is still considered to be fake gold in the United States.

To be safe, ask questions before buying a gold chain.

How to Tell If a Gold Chain Is Fake?

There are plenty of ways to tell if a gold chain is fake or not so in this section we are going to list the best ways that you can tell a gold chain is fake:

The Price

It is a well-known fact that gold is extremely expensive. So if you see someone offering to sell you a gold chain for a price well below the typical price, it’s probably a fake.

Regardless of what they say, never believe anything that sounds too good to be true, even if it sounds like there is a special deal going on. 

Should you find yourself in a situation where someone offers to sell you a gold chain for a very cheap price, go online to see how much similar gold chains sell for. You should not buy anything that is more than 5 to 10 percent cheaper than other chains.

Compare The Size And Weight

Next, you should examine the chain’s size and weight to see whether it is real or not.

If the chain is very large in size, it should be extremely heavy. In real gold, the atoms are extremely dense, making it extremely heavy.

However, there is one catch to this weight test. There’s a catch, though. Some manufacturers produce semi-hollow gold chains. That simply means that the chain isn’t made entirely of solid gold, instead it has a hollow center, like a hollow PVC tube. Although they are made out of real gold, these chains tend to weigh a lot less than a solid gold chain. These chains are still not recommended because they are far more fragile than solid gold chains.

Magnet Testing

Using a magnet to determine if a gold chain is real is another popular method of testing it. This may seem like an incredibly easy way to test since gold is not magnetic. The problem is that this type of testing is actually very flawed.

One flaw is that some real gold may contain magnetic metals. Despite the fact that the chain is made of real gold, it may still be magnetic because of the other elements in it.

Another problem with magnet testing is that there are many other types of metals that are not magnetic. As a result, a fake chain manufacturer can use a different metal as the core and use gold plating on the outside to make the chain look realistic while retaining its non-magnetic capabilities.

Therefore, we do not recommend this type of testing.

Gold Markings/Hallmarks

Gold hallmarks, also known as gold markings, are an excellent way of determining if a gold chain is real or fake. 

The Gold Markings can help you figure out if the chain is in fact made of gold. As proof of authenticity, these markings are usually placed on jewelry and other valuables. But this is still not a surefire way to tell if it is real. 

There are many good fakes out there who will create a fake Gold Hallmark to sell you a bad chain.

However, this is still a good place to start when looking at chains.

Stamps That Mean Your Chain Is Fake

  • HGP – Heavy (Hard) Gold Plate
  • GF – Gold Filled
  • GP – Gold Plated
  • H.G.E. – Hydrostatic gold electroplating
  • G.E.P. – Gold electroplating
  • .925 – (This is a silver stamp)
  • 1/20 – 1/20 gold which is just gold-filled
  • .800 (This is a silver stamp)
  • .950 (This is a silver stamp)

Color and Discoloration

The color is one of the first things you will notice about a fake chain. This is because fake chains tend to have a yellow gold that seems way too shiny. This is because the so-called “Gold” on the chain is actually metallic paint of another metal.

With a genuine gold chain, you will notice that the color is less bright, but that it still has that gold-like shine.

Also, look for areas of discoloration in the chain or areas where the color is almost disappearing. This is an indication that a chain is fake.

Whenever you see any unusual color or discoloration, be wary and run a few additional tests before you buy the chain.

Acid Testing

The acid test is one of, if not the most reliable way to test gold. The process involves scratching some of the “Gold” onto a stone and adding nitric acid to it.

If the gold disappears within a few minutes, the chain is not real. 

As an alternative to using a kit at home, we recommend taking this to a professional.

Vinegar Test

To conduct an at-home test, try the vinegar test. Completing this test is very straightforward. To test jewelry for authenticity, all you have to do is put it in vinegar and immerse it in it.

Jewelry that is fake will start turning copper in color. If it does not, you can be assured that your gold is real.

Iodine Test

A second test you can perform at home is the iodine test. The gold is tested by adding some iodine to your jewelry and observing if the color of the iodine stays the same or disappears.

If the colored iodine stays, it means that the chain you are holding is fake.

Gold Testing Machines

The solution to every problem can be found in a machine nowadays. Even when it comes to jewelry, you can find out if your gold is real or not by using a gold testing machine. These machines can provide you with a good estimate of the gold’s composition. 

In terms of gold testing machines, there are two major types: electronic and XRF Thermo. These two machines will perform the same task and provide very accurate results.

If you need a gold test machine for a large number of different gold pieces, investing in one could be wise.

Take Your Gold Chain To A Jeweler

If you want the simplest solution of all the options, take your chain to a jeweler. In a matter of minutes, these types of professionals will be able to tell whether your gold is fake or not due to the equipment they use and the knowledge they possess.

Our top recommendation among these strategies would be this one.

Where to Buy a Gold Chain?

If fake gold chains can be manufactured in many different ways, how can you identify a real one? To answer this question it is pretty easy, start by visiting a top rated jewelry store in your area and see their inventory. 

While many of these stores may not carry a large number of chains, they will at least be able to tell you which brands make the best gold chains, or refer you to someone who does.

Can You Spot A Fake Gold Chain?

Now that you know everything about fake gold chains and how to test if they are real or not, get out there and start shopping for a gold chain with confidence. If you ever forget some of the different types of testing, you can always refer back to this blog or contact a professional jeweler for more help.

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