Saturday, September 22, 2012


We're seeing this often nowadays - gold jewelry that is marked 14K or 10K or other Ks... When it's in actuality gold plate or a compound with a minor amount of gold. Case in point is this ring that a gentleman brought into the shop last week. Take a look at the photos. The "diamonds" are brilliant and beautiful, and the inside of the ring is clearly marked "14K." Due to its weight (or lack thereof) I suspected a forgery when I first picked it up. A quick test with my diamond probe indicated that the "diamonds" were probably zirconium dioxide. Testing for gold requires a bit more effort - the application of varying strengths of nitric acid, after notching the item in order to remove a possible plating, to determine the quality of the gold. I tried 14K acid first, only to witness the green bubbles that indicate the presence of copper. I then tried 10K acid, with the same result. It's possible that the metal of which the ring is made contains some gold, but there's certainly not enough to render it 14K, nor even 10K.

Buy your gold and diamonds from a reputable source. If you have doubts about its authenticity, require the jeweler to either prove that fact, or place in writing a guarantee that you're getting the gold or diamonds you're paying for.

My book, How to Hunt Treasure, has a chapter on testing and grading gold and diamonds. If you desire to learn a bit more, take a look at it.

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