If you’re wondering whether or not your gold engagement ring is made of real gold, there are several at-home methods you can use to try and ascertain the validity of your ring’s materials. While not all these methods are perfectly conclusive, they will allow you to get an idea without having to pay the high fees of a certified jeweller’s services.
To start, look for an official stamp indicating the karat amount. It should be located on the inside of the band of your gold engagement ring. Anything less than 9 carats is not considered real gold in the United Kingdom. Older rings may not have a visible stamp because of wear and tear or previous repairs. Another easy visual check is simply to look for discoloration. If the gold is wearing off and exposing another material underneath, then your gold engagement ring is only plated gold and not real.
Gold is not a magnetic element, but many of the other metals often used in gold plating or fake gold are. If you can feel the magnetic force pulling your ring close to the magnet, then it is not pure gold.
The chemical nitric acid can tell you if your gold engagement ring is made of real gold based on the reaction or non-reaction it has with the metal. When nitric acid comes into contact with real gold, no chemical reaction occurs. However, nitric acid does react with other common metal alloys such as sterling silver, copper, and zinc. If you witness a light greenish coloured reaction, then your gold engagement ring is not made of real gold. This is the method most commonly used by professional jewellers, but you can go pick up a test kit at your local chemist. Be sure to read the instructions and take all necessary precautions (gloves, goggles, proper ventilation, etc.) before dealing with the acid.
For this test you will need a balance and a piece of pure gold jewellery of approximately the same size. Gold is an especially heavy and dense metal, so if two pieces of about the same size weigh the same amount and you are certain that one is real gold, then the other may be as well.
These various at home methods can be used to determine whether or not your engagement ring is made of real gold. While they are not one hundred percent accurate, they will not cost you the service fees of a certified jeweller. However, if you want to be certain, take your ring to your local trusted jeweller.