Jewelry is a personal adornment worn for ornament or utility, to show rank or wealth, or to follow superstitious custom or fashion. The most universal used forms of jewelry are the necklace, bracelet, ring, pin, and earring. Its use antedates clothing, and it has been made of a variety of materials including berries, seeds, perforated stones, teeth, bone, shells, ivory, and metals. Although bronze and silver have been used by primitive peoples and in modern hand wrought jewelry, gold has usually been the preferred metal.
A piece of jewelry may look like solid gold, but it might be gold filled. Gold-filled jewelry is made by wrapping a very thin sheet of gold around a base made of another material such as nickel or brass. Heat is used to attach the gold coating on top of the non-gold core. Gold-filled items are similar to gold-plated pieces in that they are not solid gold where gold-plated jewelry, has a much thinner gold coating whereas, solid gold jewelry is made entirely of one material usually, an alloy that contains gold mixed with other metals to make the compound harder and more durable.
Therefore, there are number of ways to determine if your jewelry is gold-filled or solid-filled as follows;
1.Acid Testing(nitric acid)
This is the most reliable way to find out the gold content of jewelry is to do an acid test. Although you can buy an acid testing kit and perform the test at home, interpreting the results can get tricky depending on the gold alloy examined. The jeweler will take some sample material from your jewelry and then apply acid to it to observe if there is a color change, which will indicate what metals the sample contains. Check here !
Acid testing is used mainly to determine the number of karat of solid gold jewelry, but it can also indicate whether the piece is plated.
- Place your piece of gold in a small stainless steel container.
- Put a drop of nitric acid on your gold and watch for any resulting reaction to the acid.
A green reaction indicates your item is either a base metal or gold plated. A gold reaction indicates your item is gold-plated brass. Where if a milk colored reaction would indicate gold plated sterling silver and if there is no reaction, you mostly likely are dealing with real gold.
Since gold is not magnetic, if your jewelry is attracted to the magnet, the piece must contain some other metal. This test however may not be conclusive for a couple of reasons.
- While a reaction of your jewelry to the magnet indicates that the piece is not made solely of gold, this does not necessarily mean that it is plated, it can still be a solid gold alloy that has low purity and contains a magnetic metal.
- A piece may be gold plated without being attracted to a magnet if the core metal, which is covered with gold, is non-magnetic.
3.Gold Color as an Indicator
The color of your jewelry can also be used as a clue to whether the piece is solid or plated. Gold-plated jewelry is sometimes covered with 24 karat gold whereas, solid gold pieces are not made of pure gold as it is too soft; they are instead made of a gold alloy that contains metals that give the mixture hardness. So, if your jewelry has an intense yellow color similar to that of pure gold and is relatively cheap, then it may be gold plated.