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How Do Professional Jewelers Test Gold’

September 30th, 2020

Gold has been utilized for jewelry as early as 4000 B.C. in Eastern Europe. Today, gold jewelry is an extremely popular choice across a wide variety of jewelry styles. A quick Google search of "gold jewelry" will result in pages on pages of results. But not all gold is the same quality, so how do jewelers determine the quality? Our jewelry store in Valparaiso, IN has a team of experts dedicated to this exact question.

Determining the Purity of Gold

The purity of gold is measured through karats. Gold jewelry operates on a scale of 0 to 24 karats. For example, if a piece of gold jewelry has one karat, it is one part real gold, 23 parts other metals or alloys. Or maybe you have an 18-karat gold ring; this means there are 833 parts of real gold for every 1,000 parts of jewelry.

How to Determine the Karat Rating

As you can guess, determining the makeup of a piece of jewelry simply by looking at it can be difficult to the average person, but jewelers are typically able to tell by using a small indicator on the pieces that they produce. Keep in mind that European jewelry has a different scale that indicates parts per thousand, so keep an eye out for a three-digit number instead of a scale from 0-24.

Pull out a piece or two of your gold jewelry and take a look. For example, if you see a stamp on your jewelry that has the number "300," this means that every 300 parts per 1,000 are real gold. If you want to know the two-digit representation of your jewelry, take the listed number and divide it by 1,000 and multiply it by 24.

What if I Don't See a Karat Mark’

In the US, it's mandatory for jewelers to notate their karat rating on each piece they produce. But some pieces of jewelry from other countries don't include any sort of markings. In this case, a nitric acid test is usually the most common.

Nitric acid is a colorless, corrosive acid. The purpose of using this acid is that it reacts with different materials such as copper-based alloys. The reaction is higher in counterfeit gold pieces, so finding out what pieces aren't real is a relatively fast and easy process.

Sell Your Jewelry with Us

If you have gold jewelry that you haven't reached for in quite some time, consider selling it to us! We are happy to give you top dollar for your unused jewelry.

For more information about the composition of your gold jewelry, please reach out to us today!