The desire for gold jewellery is one of the most deeply rooted instincts for women around the world. However, one of the most common concerns is if the gold piece is solid or plated. Let’s see how to find out if the jewellery is gold plated and learn to shop like a pro.
Gold Plated Jewellery Hallmarks
One of the fastest ways to distinguish if the jewellery is gold plated is to check hallmarks and stamps on it.
The most common stamp used to mark gold plated jewellery is GP (gold plated).
Other hallmarks you may see are GEP, meaning “gold electroplated” and EGP which means “rolled gold plate”. HGE is another stamp meaning “heavy gold electroplate” and HGP which has the same meaning as HGE and indicates gold plating as well.
It is important to mention that not having one of these markings does not mean that your jewellery is made of solid gold. It may simply not be stamped.
Acid Test for Gold
The acid test for gold is the most reliable way to tell if the jewellery is made of solid gold.
Usually, acid testing is used for finding out gold karat but it can also indicate if the jewellery is gold plated.
You can buy a gold testing kit and do the test at home, but for the high accuracy of the results, it is recommended to have such a test done by a professional jeweller.
During the test, the jeweller will take some sample material from your gold piece and apply a drop of acid on it. The change of gold colour will indicate what metals the sample contains.
Since most gold plated pieces are coated with 18, 20, 22 or 24 karat gold, the acid test will indicate one of these purities. If the price of the jewellery is too cheap for such gold purity, you are dealing with a gold plated piece.
Besides, if you scratch the piece deep enough, you will see the base metal. This will confirm that you are dealing with gold plated jewellery. However, you should be very accurate with this.
Magnet Test for Gold
Another way to tell if your jewellery is gold plated is to use a magnet.
Pure gold is not magnetic, meaning if your jewellery is attached to a magnet, it contains some other metals.
However, this method is not 100% accurate.
On one hand, the reaction of your jewellery to the magnet indicates the presence of other alloys in the gold piece. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the piece is plated. It can still be a low purity solid gold alloy which contains magnetic metals.
On the other hand, a piece may be gold plated but won’t attach to a magnet because its core metal is nonmagnetic.
Gold Colour as an Indicator
The colour of your jewellery may be used as an indicator of whether the piece is made of solid gold.
Gold plated jewellery may be covered with 24 karat gold, while solid gold pieces are not made of pure gold as it is too soft and not durable as a result.
If your jewellery has an intense yellow colour and is relatively cheap, then it is most likely gold plated.
You can also check if the colour of gold is even throughout the surface of your jewellery. In case the plating is worn off in some places, the core metal will be visible there.