5 Tests To Confirm Whether Your Gold Or Silver Bullions Are Fake Or Not

| December 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

As long as gold has been a precious metal, there have been unethical people who try to counterfeit it. As long as they’re manufactured by approved refiners and sold by reputable dealers, you’re assured of their reliability and quality. However, fake bullion does exist, and it’s more common than you may think. Below, you’ll learn a few ways to tell if your silver or gold bullions are the genuine article.

Test Its Size and Weight

This test is primarily for bullion coins that are made to precise specifications; it gives you a reference point by which the gold or silver’s authenticity can be tested. Gold is an extremely dense metal, and its physical properties are very hard to duplicate. Any metals used to counterfeit gold coins will undoubtedly be less compact, which means it will take more to replicate a certain gold weight. Knowing the proper diameter, thickness, and weight of gold coins makes it easier to spot a fake.

The Magnet Test

This simple test can be done at home with almost no equipment. Gold and silver aren’t magnetic, unlike most metals, and real bullion won’t be picked up by a magnet. Use any reasonably strong magnet to attempt to pick up the piece; if it sticks, there’s more than gold in that bullion. It’s important to use this method cautiously, as gold and silver aren’t the only non-magnetic metals. We suggest using this test alongside one or more of these other tests, just to be safe.

Testing by Sound

Commonly referred to as ‘ping’ testing, the sound test allows you to tell if bullion is real or fake by listening to the sounds it makes as it’s struck. Gold and silver will make a high-pitched ringing noise; base metals will emit duller, shorter sounds. Balancing a coin on the end of a finger and tapping it with a different coin should yield a ringing sound, and there will be an obvious difference between coins made of silver online sold here and those made of non-precious metals.

Ceramic Testing

Dragging gold across a piece of ceramic is another easy, no-fuss way to test it. Simply draw it across unglazed ceramic, using slight pressure. If the piece leaves a gold mark, it’s real; if there’s a black mark, it’s fake.

Using Nitric Acid

This test is the most complicated of those on this list, mostly because of the risk of damage to the pieces in question. The idea behind the nitric acid test is that gold is corrosion- and oxidation-resistant, so it won’t be affected by the acid solution. Different acid strengths are used for different karats, and if a piece doesn’t react, it’s at least as pure (if not purer) than the suggested karat rating.

In Closing

There are numerous other ways to tell whether gold and silver are real. For instance, with jewelry, you’d notice a fake piece leaving marks on your skin with extended wear. Biting a gold piece is a time-honored tradition; the softness of 24-karat gold would make it easy to leave bite marks. However, this isn’t the most accurate (or the safest) method and it’s not recommended. The best way to know if a gold or silver piece is genuine is to buy it from a reputable, honest dealer.

Note: This article originally appeared at EconMatters.com. The views and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters


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Category: Precious Metals

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The author of the article is a contributor to EconMatters.com.