As long as gold has been considered a precious metal, fake gold has been sold. Scan the headlines and you will find reports of fraud involving gold. Counterfeiters have always tried to scam and exploit their way to an easy fortune, and nothing can wipe out your investments (and confidence) like finding out you have been soldfake gold jewellery. That is why, as an investor, it is vital for you to know what you are paying for and be able to spot the difference between fake gold and real gold. Keep reading to find out what you can do to protect yourself.

 

How to Tell if Your Gold is Real

 

1. The Price

Price is the greatest indicator of whether your gold is fake or real. Remember, if the price sounds too good to be true, it generally is. If you find what is being presented as a genuine piece at a suspiciously low price, be careful. Obviously, no one wants to knowingly sell real gold at a price lower than they could reasonably expect to get on the open market.

2. The Seller

Be careful when shopping for gold online, especially when browsing second-hand products. While you may find great deals, most online sites aren’t moderated, meaning anyone and everyone can sign up to buy and sell. Be sure to check the seller’s background and reviews left by other buyers. Also, pay attention to whether the listing is new or old and if the seller is using stock images or real pictures of the item. Unmoderated sales sites are ideal for scammers, so be cautious. Better yet, only buy from a reputable gold seller.

3. A Professional Appraisal

This is a sure-fire way of finding out if your gold is genuine or not. A reputable dealer will use a specialized testing kit, while some jewellery stores charge a small fee to test products. However, be sure to conductthorough research to find a dealerwho will give you a fair assessment of the jewellery you are buying.

4. The Hallmark

Check the gold for a hallmark or stamp. This certifies the metal’s purity, meaning you can rest assured knowing you are purchasing a genuine item, whether it be silverware, gold jewellery,orsome other product. Since you can’t just see or hold a product to know its authenticity, an official hallmark guarantees its quality. Different precious metals have different hallmarks that vary by locality, so make sure youknow the standards in your city/state.

5. Colour/Discolouration

The colour of gold can be a big clue to its authenticity. Ironically, a piece which is yellow is unlikely to be gold as gold-filled or gold-plated pieces are covered with a 24-karat layer as gold is too soft to be used as jewellery. So, if an item has a colour that is too close to 24-karat gold, this may indicate that the piece is plated. Also, if the item has a 24K mark but is being sold for a relatively low price, you are most likely dealing with a non-gold piece plated in gold.

Discolouration is an even stronger sign of fraud. Look closely to see if you find any spots where the plating may have worn off and the underlying metal become visible.  Usually, when a gold-plated item is scratched, the non-gold core is visible.

Purchasing gold isn’t as easy or straightforward as it sounds, and with so many options available, it is easy to get confused between what is genuine and what is fake. But by knowing how to differentiate between the two, you can make an informed decision and protect yourself against counterfeits. Remember, when buying gold, always search for a reputable seller to ensure you only get authentic products that are worth your investment.

Published by Eric Foley