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How to know if gold is real or fake

How Can You Know If Gold is Fake or Real?

Table of Contents

Gold coins and bars may come with stamps, purity marks, and serial numbers, but this doesn’t mean the bullion in question is real gold. For example, cases of low-quality gold products that have falsified high fineness levels have been reported. Furthermore, gold-plated fake bullion coins and bars filled with heavy metals like lead underneath the plating. So, how to know if gold is fake or real?

To know the actual value of the bullion coin or bar you’re buying, you must test gold’s authenticity. We have created this guide to help you secure your investment, know the exact value, and make sure you’re getting the exact amount of gold you’re paying for. Read about straightforward tests you can perform at home to answer your question: How to tell if gold is real?

Testing Size and Weight

How to test a gold is real or fake

This test is suitable for gold coins because it involves checking the size and the weight of the coin you have purchased. Gold is one of the heaviest metals on earth with unique properties that are difficult to replicate. This means that fake bullion coins made from other metals will be larger compared to real gold coins with the same weight.

How to test gold Size and Weight? For instance, a fake Britannia one-ounce gold coin would have to be wider and thicker to have the same weight as the real coin. On the same note, a fake Britannia coin with the same thickness and diameter as the real one would be a lot lighter. This means that knowing the exact weight, diameter, and thickness of the gold coin you’re buying is crucial in helping you to identify fake gold.

The Ping/Sound Test

How to tell if gold is real with the sound test? Genuine gold makes a pinging high pitched sound when struck with another metal. To perform this test, place the gold coin in the pit of your index finger. Strike it with another metal or currency coin. Gold coins make a lengthy high-pitched sound when struck. On the contrary, base metals make a dull, heavy, short sound when struck.

How to Tell If Gold is Real with a Magnet? – Magnet Test

how to test gold with magnetThe magnetic test is another simple authentication way to test gold at home. Gold is non-magnetic as opposed to other metals. Real gold bullion coins, bars, and jewelry don’t stick-on magnets. If you have a strong magnet at home, try using it to pick any golden item. Gold coins, bars, and items that stick to magnets contain a high percentage of other metals.

Nevertheless, gold is not the only non-magnetic metal because counterfeits can also pass the test. So, it shouldn’t have any movement during the gold testing. If it shows any indication, you must realize it is not real gold but a fake gold, which contains limited gold on the product’s surface. So, how to know if gold is real? Experts recommend that the magnet test should be used alongside other tests.

The Nitric Acid Test

The nitric acid test gold is one of the riskiest of the test because you can damage your gold if it’s mixed with other metals. This test is only suitable for pure gold bullion coins and bars.How to tell if gold is real or fake with the nitric acid test? Testing gold is based on the fact that it is resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Pure gold is not tarnished or dissolved by strong acids like nitric acid.

Nitric acid is sold in different concentrations depending on the purity level of the gold bullion you’d like to test. For example, if you buy nitric acid marked 24-carat gold and use it to test your 24-carat gold bullion, and it melts, it means it is not real gold at all, or it’s mixed with other lower metals.

The Magnifying Glass Test

how to test a gold with magnifying glassThe magnifying glass test is another simple test you can perform at home if you want to know whether your gold is authentic. To perform this test you only need a magnifying glass and the bullion coin or bar to be tested. This test requires you to closely examine gold items with a magnifying glass while looking out for special markers. The signs you should look for include:

  • Signs of Discoloration: Gold doesn’t react with any chemicals. Therefore, when authentic gold bullion coins and bars are observed under a magnifying glass, you don’t see signs of discoloration. If there’re spots and discoloration on your gold bullion, then it’s a sign your bullion coin or bars may be fake.
  • Luster and Color: Real gold is soft with a beautiful yellow color that is not shiny. Gold coins and bars that are too shiny, too yellow, or reddish in appearance are not pure.
  • The Purity Hallmark: This is one of the most important marks you should look for when evaluating the value of your gold. Purity levels are normally inscribed on gold coins and bars in terms of millesimal fineness or the karat system. For instance, 4 carats or .999 fine gold should have a mark of fineness somewhere on the coin, bar, or jewellery.

How to test gold is real or fake? Engraving of fineness levels can be found on the back of gold coins and bars. For jewellery, the 24K mark or the .999 fineness levels can be found on inner parts. It’s noteworthy that the engravings found on bullion coins and bars could also be fake. This is the reason further testing is necessary even after locating purity hallmarks.

Additional signs you should look for include country-specific hallmark standards. These include things like Assayer’s number, Assayer’s mark, and the hallmarking center’s mark. A hallmark can sometimes indicate that a gold item is not made entirely of pure gold. GP, GF, and GEP are common letters used to indicate gold plating. You should also look for the year of marking which is normally expressed in purity grade. The year is inscribed in alphabetic letters approved by the BIS and the producer of the jewel.

When examining purity markers, you should avoid products with the following stamps:

  1. HGP-Heavy (Hard) Gold Plate
  2. GF-Gold Filled
  3. GP-Gold Plated
  4. G.E-Hydrostatic Gold Electroplating
  5. E.P-Gold electroplating
  6. .925-Sterling Silver
  7. 1/20-1/20 gold-filled gold

Knowing the Source

There’re many companies out there selling precious metal bullion coins and bars which they claim to be from internationally trusted sources like the US Mint, the Austrian Mint, the Australian Mint, the Shenyang Mint, the South African Mint, and the Royal Canadian Mint.

Buying gold bullion coins and bars from trusted sources like the ones mentioned above eliminates major security concerns. Before buying bullion coins and bars from a private company or in the brick-and-mortar world, there’re key factors you should consider. These factors include:

  1. Can the company be contacted easily?
  2. Do the representatives talk to customers first to understand their financial needs before engaging them?
  3. Do the representatives push customers to buy?
  4. How long does the company you intend to deal with been in operation?
  5. Does the company have positive reviews online?

The Scratch Test

how to test a gold with scratch testCeramic scratch test is another way you can use to determine the authenticity of your gold bullion coins and bars. To do the test, you need one of the following; a jeweler’s stone, an unglazed ceramic plate, or an unglazed porcelain tile. Ceramic plates and porcelain tiles can be bought easily online or at a maintenance store.

This test should be performed carefully because if you’re reckless you could damage your gold. Take the golden item you want to test and carefully rub it against a ceramic plate or porcelain. Press the item with enough pressure to leave a scratch without causing serious damage to the item.

Next, examine the color of the mark on the material left on the gold item. If the gold bullion coin you’re testing is real, then you’ll see golden, yellow color. Scratch marks that produce a black streak are an indication that you dealing with fake gold.

The Skin Test

The skin discoloration test is another easy way to tell the purity levels of gold. Real pure gold doesn’t stain or discolor your skin. On the contrary, wearing fake gold jewelry will discolor your skin after a while. To perform the skin test, all you need to do is to hold the gold item in your hand for a few minutes.

If the gold bullion coin or bar is fake, it will react with the sweat on your skin. Your skin will respond by turning black or green. This is an indication that your skin reacted with other alloy metals that are coated with gold. Authentic gold with a decent purity level doesn’t react with the human skin. Before doing the test, make sure you don’t have any makeup on your skin.

The Makeup Test

Most of the people seeking answer for how to know gold is real or fake. To be clear, make up test is another method to check whether it is fake gold or not. To test gold, you’ll need liquid powder and foundation. Apply a thin layer of foundation on your forehead or at the back of your hand. On top of the foundation apply a thin layer of powder. Wait until the foundation dries. Then press the gold on your skin while rubbing it against the foundation lightly.

If the item leaves a black trail on your skin, then it’s more likely that it’s authentic gold. Failure of the black streak to appear is a sign that your gold is fake or probably made of another metal, or gold plated.

How to Test Gold is Real or Fake ? – The Vinegar Test

Performing the vinegar test requires you to have some white vinegar and a glass container or a dropper. Place the gold bullion you intend to test on a clean white towel. Using a dropper, sprinkle some vinegar on the gold. If the color of gold changes, then it’s not pure gold. The color of gold remaining the same after the vinegar is added is not considered to be a fake gold. If you are thinking of testing in a cup, then, firstly, fill it with white vinegar, hold it for around 10-15 minutes, replace the gold, and clean it. If the gold started shining, then it is absolute gold. Otherwise, it is fake gold. 

The Float Test

The float test is another very simple test that can help you establish the authenticity of gold bars at a glance. Place your golden item into a cup of water or bowl. If the gold is real, it will sink to the bottom of the container immediately. Pure gold is heavy because it’s dense with a density of (19.32g/ml).

If the golden item you testing floats or hovers above the container, then it’s a gold-plated item or a fake. The reason is that the density of gold items varies with the karat or purity levels. For instance, a 14K gold item contains 12.9 to 14.6g/ml of gold. An 18k gold bullion coin or bar contains 15.2 to 15.9g/ml of gold, while a 22k item has 17.7 to 17.8/ml of gold. The float test is not 100% accurate because fake gold may contain other metals that sink.

Take a Bite Test

How to test a gold with bite test This test is not the best way of testing whether your bullion coins and bars are real or fake gold. However, it’s a very simple test you can perform at home quickly. The take a bite test involves biting the golden item to see whether your teeth will leave bite marks. If your teeth leave a bite mark, then the golden item is real.

The bite test is not recommended for two main reasons. First, even plated gold items show marks when bitten. Second, biting into gold can cause damage to your teeth. If you’ve to perform the test do it with precaution.

How to Test if Gold is Real – Test Templates

Most popular investor coins like the American eagle and the Krugerrand have specific Frisch coin detectors. This test can be used even with laypeople to quickly and easily verify the authenticity of the gold coins and bars they have purchased. Test templates can be bought for approximately $50. The precious metal verifier tests verify the authenticity of the coin by examining its dimensions and detecting even the slightest deviation. One major problem with this test is that good counterfeits pass.

Let’s examine more ways to avoid scams through a real What-Not-To-Do story that happened to my friend X. One day X told me that he planned to buy a bag of Krugerrands (a South African coin, you can read more about the coin by clicking here on the link) from a random dealer. The dealer who came directly into his office with a bag of coins, gave X a coin to examine upon his request. X promptly headed to my office for gold authentication. As an expert and professional gold trader, I don’t necessarily have to go through all the above-mentioned steps to determine if gold is real or fake. Upon examining the coin, I’d established that the coin was, indeed, authentic. Unfortunately, little did my friend know about the true intentions of the dealer. Unknown to my friend, the dealer handed him the bag with fake Krugerrands. The crooked dealer had even replaced the single authentic coin with a fake one upon the completion of the transaction.

This story is a bitter reminder of taking additional steps and precautions to avoid costly scams. Besides choosing a legitimate dealer, do your research! Do your due diligence, and bring a third party who has expertise in similar transactions. Having an experienced third party present at the transaction will give you more confidence and peace of mind. Finally, gold testing machines can come in handy to detect counterfeits ( i.e sigma metalytics machine).

What are Fake Gold and Fool Gold?

“Let’s know the actual meaning of fake gold or fool gold. Fake gold is not considered pure gold but still is gold because it contains a bit portion of gold. Here The product’s gold plating gives it a magnificent look. At the same time, the gold is mixed with other various metals and determines fake gold. So, to identify real gold, there are several processes, and most importantly, real gold is not readily corroded or discoloured.

On the other hand, fool’s gold is quite peculiar than fake gold. In contrast, pyrite has a misconception about gold because of its brass-yellow color, which is built of crystals. “

Buy Authentic Gold At Bullion Trading LLC

Bullion Trading LLC, a trusted bullion dealer with over twenty-year of experience, is conveniently located in the heart of New York City, 20 West 47th Street Lower Level #24, New York, NY 10036. We will give you a step-by-step introduction to gold authentication of Krugerrands or American Eagles. We will personally guide you through the variety of bullion coins and bars. We want to give you some fun facts about the double eagles to wrap it up. The most popular is the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, a 21.6 Karat twenty-dollar coin commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. A genuine Double Eagle coin needs to be precisely 33,43 grams and has a diameter of 34 mm. Unlike the real one, the counterfeit uncirculated version looks mottled because the gold and copper alloys have not been thoroughly blended, and the letters of the coin will appear flat on top of the coin.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Is there an easy way to tell if something is real gold?

Drop your gold item into the water with care. Real gold is a hefty metal that does not float, so it isn't genuine if your gold object floats. Also, if the thing rusts or tarnishes after being submerged in water, this is a clue it isn't real gold, as gold does not rust or tarnish.

Does gold turn black when burned?

When gold is burned, its hue can change based on some conditions. When actual gold is burned, however, it usually turns black. This is because 24-carat gold is made entirely of gold, whereas other varieties of gold contain other metals.

Does real gold stick to a magnet?

Real gold does not stick to magnets.

How do you test for real gold at home?

You can test for real gold at home by putting a jug of water and gold inside it. If it floats on water or you could recognize some color change, then consider it fake gold. And there are various other methods like a magnet, density, nitric acid test and many more. Please find it here!

How can I test gold without a gold tester?

There are a few ways to test gold without a gold tester, i.e., Acid Test, Bite test, Ring test, and others. While in the bite test, after biting a gold, if you see any mark on it, then it is not pure gold for sure.

Can you test gold with water?

Definitely, You can test gold with water through a floating test. After you drop gold in a glass of water, Immediately, if it floats and starts decolorizing, it is not real gold. Read More!

Does real gold rust in water?

Gold is a precious metal that is not impacted by air, water, alkalis or anything. So gold will not rust as it doesn't contain iron, so that it won't react with oxygen and water.




Terms & Conditions

Trading in gold and other precious metals is risky because the market is volatile. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. This is why we encourage you to read Our Terms and Conditions carefully before making purchases, selling, or placing orders with BULLIONTRADING LLC. Refer to Safety Tips from the CFTC (Commodity Future Trading Commission). These terms and conditions apply to all orders, all purchases, and all sales made through our website, telephone, or other channels.

In the event you do not fully understand the terms of this agreement, BULLIONTRADING LLC strongly encourages you to consult with your own experts. BULLION TRADING enters into transactions with customers on the reliance and belief that clients are aware of, understand, and agree to these terms.

These terms and conditions are effective as of March 11, 2022, and are binding to all new and existing customers and users.


The prices for gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins and bars keep on fluctuating because of the risk factors that cause price volatility. The risk factors include political development, war, pandemics, demand, and supply. It is important to keep this in mind when transacting with BULLIONTRADING LLC.

The Ordering Process

BULLIONTRADING LLC. Does Not speculate on the prices of precious metals. This means that we don’t make profits by buying gold when the prices are low and selling when prices go up. BULLIONTRADING LLC generates revenue through premium spreads. This is the difference between what Bullion Trading LLC pays & sells these items for.

Orders and inquiries can be made through our website, phone, or other suitable channels. Contact Us for information.


Inquiries are made by customers who are not ready to transact immediately. Customers can contact us or go online at to get current market prices. The price quote and quantity available are subject to change. They can also contact us for guidance on buying and selling bullion coins and bars. You should note that the Price Quotations you receive when inquiring are Estimates because the prices of bullion coins and bars fluctuate daily, and the number of our stock changes all the time.

For example, The U.S Mint sets premium and minimum prices for American Eagles. Prices for American Eagles are determined by the current price of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. The mint also charges a modest premium to cater to the cost of distribution and marketing. Consequently, the price of bullion coins and bars changes daily as the markets for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium fluctuates. Refer to the United States Mint’s Charges for Authorized Dealers.


Orders are made when customers are ready to transact immediately. The prices you get when ordering bullion coins and bars from us are an accurate reflection of the current market prices. Note that once you place an order, the prices are locked and are no longer subject to market conditions.

An order is placed when you finalized negotiations with our agents and an invoice is generated, not when the payment is made. Ordering and then bailing out or canceling after an invoice is generated makes BULLIONTRADING LLC incur losses. We incur losses because when you place an order, we consider the bullion coin or bar sold and will have hedged ourselves accordingly.

Disclaimer: To protect our company from losses, BULLIONTRADING LLC has implemented a Market Loss Policy.

Market Loss Policy Explained

An order starts when you finalize the deal with our agents, not when the payment is made. We generate an invoice immediately the deal is sealed either through our website or phone. We also count the bullion coin or bar as sold and will have hedged ourselves accordingly.

Customers who place orders, have invoices generated, and then cancel thereafter make us incur losses. To protect ourselves we have implemented a market loss policy. This means that you will incur penalties for ordering, having an invoice generated, and then bailing out. Once an order is placed, prices are locked and not subject to market conditions.

The moment you place an order an invoice is generated. If you cancel, and then gold prices decline you make us incur a loss. It is your responsibility to offset this loss if your order is canceled and your funds are returned. If this happens you will pay for the loss caused by a decline in the price of gold after a sale is made plus a cancellation fee of $35.00. This is our market loss policy.

To remain transparent and protect ourselves from risk we might require credit card information from every customer even if payment will be received through a different channel. We also will ask for immediate confirmation of the amount locked in. This gives us an avenue to compensate ourselves for losses in the event a customer places an order and then fails to pay.

However, if the price of bullion coins and bars stays the same, we usually don’t enforce our market loss policy because we don’t incur losses. If the price goes down we charge a market loss fee which is equal to the amount BULLIONTRADING LLC would have lost because of the unpaid order.


Bullion Trading LLC only accepts payments in the form of bank transfers, certified checks or personal checks. The method you use to pay us is determined by the number of bullion coins and bars you are willing to buy from us as follows:

  • Orders ranging from $1,000 to $5,500 should be paid via any option listed above and must be received within 2 business days from the time the order was made.
  • Orders ranging from $5,500.01 to $10,000 should be paid by bank wire, certified check, cashier’s check, money orders, or personal check, and must be received within 2 business days from the time the order was made.
  • Orders ranging from $10,000.01 to $25,000 should be paid by bank wire, certified check, and must be received within 2 business days from the time the order was placed.
  • Over $25,000.01 should be paid by bank wire and must be received within 1 business day from the time the order was placed.

If Using A Credit Card You Are Agreeing To The Following Terms:

  • I understand and agree that should I dispute the credit card charge through my credit card provider, I will have breached the contract as well as committed a credit card fraud.
  • I waive any charge-back rights. In the event of a dispute, and I request for a refund it must be made through the Bullion Trading LLC Arbitration Procedure described herein under Bullion Trading LLC.
  • Dispute resolution: I understand that all sales are final. There are NO EXCHANGES or REFUNDS.
  • I cannot receive a refund from Bullion Trading LLC, nor can I request the funds from my credit card company.
  • I also agree to waive any charge-back rights in the event of a dispute.


You agree that you have sufficient experience and knowledge to make informed decisions to purchase from and/or sell to BULLION TRADING LLC. You openly acknowledge that you are making all of your decisions in connection with purchases and/or sales. BULLION TRADING LLC is not making any decision on your behalf concerning purchases and sales.

You also openly acknowledge that you are subject to a variety of risks that are beyond the control of BULLION TRADING LLC. You openly acknowledge that BULLION TRADING LLC is not liable or responsible for the risks you incur while trading with us. Those risks include, without limitation, risks associated with the price volatility of bullion coins and bars. Market conditions or other disruptions such as technical problems may make it impossible for you to liquidate bullion coins and bars bought from us. You have the freedom to liquid the coins and bars at market prices acceptable to you.


All investments involve risk – bullion coins and bars are no exception. The value of bullion coins (e.g., American Eagles or Maple Leafs) is affected by many economic factors. The current market price of bullion coins and bars is determined by perceived scarcity and other factors. Some of these factors include quality, current demand, and general market sentiment.

The price of bullion coins and bars keeps on fluctuating and this means that they are not a suitable investment for everyone. Since all investments, including bullion coins and bars, can decline in value, you should make an informed decision. It is a good idea to have adequate cash reserves and disposable income before investing in bullion coins and bars.


You shall indemnify and absolve BULLION TRADING LLC and its affiliates, directors, officers, and shareholders collectively. You agree to compensate the indemnified parties for and against any costs, damages, expenses, liabilities, and obligations. They include without limitation to reasonable attorney fees that the Indemnified Parties may incur as a result of, or in connection with:

(a) Any breach of any representation or warranty made by you to BULLION TRADING LLC or,

(b) Failure to comply with these terms and conditions or the policies adopted by BULLION TRADING LLC.


You acknowledge that you are subject to the limitations of liability contained in these terms and conditions, the disclaimer, and other policies adopted by BULLION TRADING LLC.

If you suffer indirect, punitive, or speculative damages BULLION TRADING LLC is not liable to you. Any transaction between us and you pursuant to these terms and conditions, and any liability of BULLION TRADING LLC to you shall be limited to:

(a) The amount, if any, that you paid in such transaction or,

(b) $100 compensation. We are not, in any event, liable for any indirect, punitive, or speculative damages.


BULLION TRADING LLC has adopted a Privacy Policy that is included in these terms and conditions. Our privacy policy protects your identity and credit card information.

BULLION TRADING LLC privacy policies are found in the Disclaimer, Ordering Policy, and the protection of credit card information. These terms and conditions may be updated from time to time depending on the market forces and the legal landscape.


Upon any failure by you to comply with your obligations to BULLION TRADING LLC, the company shall pursue the rights and the remedies available to us. Either by law, through equity, or otherwise. It includes without limitation rights and remedies under these terms and conditions.

Breaching our rights may make BULLION TRADING LLC turn your account over to a collection agency, or a lawyer for collection. BULLION TRADING LLC will not fail in exercising any rights or pursuing any remedies in the case we suffer losses or damages.

Note: Failure by you to comply with these terms and conditions, may make BULLION TRADING LLC charge the credit card on which you have provided. This includes without limitation any and all market losses incurred by BULLION TRADING LLC, including cancellation fees, for ordering and then canceling at the last minute. You openly authorize BULLION TRADING LLC to charge your credit card for all losses caused by you violating our ordering policy.


BULLION TRADING LLC is an authorized dealer and a professional organization. We maintain a professional relationship with all our clients. We don’t enter into relationships such as agent-principal relationships, employee-employer relationships, franchisee-franchisor relationships, joint venture relationships, and partnership relationships with our clients.


You cannot forfeit these terms and conditions, your rights, or your obligations as they apply without the prior written consent from BULLION TRADING LLC. You may be granted permission to forfeit your rights or it may be withheld by BULLION TRADING LLC at its sole discretion. These terms and conditions shall be binding to all parties that trade with BULLION TRADING LLC.


If you violate these terms and conditions BULLION TRADING LLC will take action against you. It may include without limitation, turning your account over to a collection agency, or a lawyer for collection. You shall pay all of the costs and the expenses incurred by BULLION TRADING LLC, including without limitation to reasonable attorney’s fees.


BULLION TRADING LLC maintains professional relationships with clients. This is why we make sure that any grievances are resolved expeditiously. We agree that all disagreements and disputes with our clients should be resolved in accordance with the provisions below.

Because we value the relationship with our clients, we opt for arbitration or mediation as a channel for dispute resolution instead of going straight to state/federal courts. However, if arbitration or mediation fails, we may be forced to take legal action in state/federal courts in the State of New York.


These terms and conditions are governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. These terms and conditions do not take into consideration the possible violation of laws in other jurisdictions.




If BULLION TRADING LLC cannot perform any obligation hereunder as a result of any event that is beyond its control, the company shall be excused and shall not be liable for any damages as a result of, or in connection with, such delays, or such failures.


You shall sign and avail other documents, or take actions that assist BULLION TRADING LLC in enforcing the provisions of these terms and conditions.


Except as provided in these terms and conditions, all notices, and other communications to BULLION TRADING LLC shall be directed to it at 20 West 47th Street Lower Level #24, New York, NY 10036. All notices and other communications to you shall be sent by BULLION TRADING LLC, to the address that you provided to us at the time of your registration, or to the email address that you provided to us at the time of your registration.


BULLION TRADING LLC may record phone conversations between you and company agents or representatives. You consent to the recording of such phone conversations.


A decision or a failure by BULLION TRADING LLC to take action with respect to any non-compliance with these terms and conditions does not affect the ability of the company to enforce the terms and conditions with respect to other violations. Whether the violations are similar or dissimilar in nature.