Sunday, September 8, 2013

Is Your Gold Fake?

Many times people will bring in heavy gold chains, usually marked 14K, to sell at Atlanta Gold and Silver. Even with a mark, we always test the metals in one or two ways to ensure its authenticity.  First, we do a scratch test with acids for the various Karats.  However, sometimes this may not be fool-proof method, especially when their is heavy metal plating involved. Second, we put the jewelry in our x-ray machine and it gives us a full report of the metal composition.

Here's the bad news...sometimes a chain or piece of jewelry that someone has purchased is not what it appears to be.  Just like counterfeit Louis Vuitton or Gucci handbags, jewelry counterfeiting with hallmarks is a serious problem.  We always feel badly when we have to tell our customer that we can't buy the piece from them, especially when they tell us how much they originally paid for the item.

So, we always try to tell our clients to be very wary before purchasing jewelry (precious jewelry such as gold, silver and diamonds) from an unauthorized source or person via eBay, craigslist or even a flea market.  Many times if a deal is too good to be true, it generally is.  Not to say that you won't find some hidden treasures around town, but when you are investing in something like gold to resell, make sure to look for a few factors. 

- Is it magnetic?  Magnets, unlike acid testing, are an easy thing to bring around with you.  They are also the easiest way to rule out fake metals (ones that are not pure gold or sterling).  If the piece is drawn to the magnet (and it says 14k or even 18k), it is fake. 
-The hallmark: Look closely at the Hallmark on the item and where it is placed. If it looks like the mark is cut off or says something else, that is also a tell tale sign to walk away. 
It's fake!  How do we know?  The acid test created a green color. 
-Another easy way to spot a fake is to look closely at the metal. This is especially true when it comes to used jewelry such as pendants and rings that are marked 14k. If closely and see peeling of any sort, like the gold is fading off, then it is not correctly marked. 

In this industry sometimes, taking risks can end up making you a fortune, but beware because there are a lot of counterfeit pieces of jewelry floating around. 

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