A gold necklace is a wonderful addition to any woman’s jewelry box. Unless we are talking about a fake gold chain necklace, of course. Just to be clear from the beginning, we are not referring to costume jewelry which you buy knowing that it is not made of gold. There are many beautiful jewelry metals and if you want a chunky piece to wear on a night out, you can choose any metal you want. As long as you know you are buying fashion necklaces.

However, the problem appears when you think you are buying a gold necklace and pay the price of a gold jewelry piece only to discover later on that you’ve just bought a very expensive piece of nickel. To help you avoid this situation by spotting a fake gold chain, we have decided to let you know what to look for. Read further to find out how to distinguish between a fake gold chain necklace and a genuine one.

What metals are in a fake gold chain?

A fake gold chain will, most probably, contain an alloy of non-gold metals and top of which they paint a gold-resembling layer. In the best case scenario, instead of a special paint, they use actual gold to plate the piece, in which case you will get a gold plated piece of jewelry. Of course, gold plated jewelry is great and can be very high-quality, but you should be aware that you are buying gold plated instead of solid gold.

The worst-case scenario and the most common one is when your new piece of jewelry has been nowhere near gold. Just a regular non-precious metal or alloy with a special paint layer. Sometimes, shady jewelry sellers use brass they pass off as gold because brass has a similar look and color.

The 1st step in identifying a fake gold chain necklace

Before buying any piece of jewelry, check its markings. Solid gold jewelry shows markings that indicate the purity of gold in the alloy. These markings are usually 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, but the letters can also be “kt” or “kp” (e.g. 14kt). 10k or 10 karat represents the lowest amount of gold in the alloy, while 22k the highest. European gold markings are different from the ones about and they can be only numbers: 416, 583, 750, 916.

Gold plated or gold filled jewelry pieces usually have one of the following markings: GP, GEP, HGE, RGP, GF or HGP. If you notice on the clasp of your gold chain necklace the marking 18k GP it means that you have a chain plated with 18k gold.

The 2nd step in identifying a fake gold chain

Of course, sometimes, a fake gold chain can have the hallmark of a solid gold piece of jewelry. This doesn’t happen too often, but it can. In this situation, how can you tell whether you are a buying a real or a fake gold chain? There are several methods, but the most accurate one is the one you cannot try in a jewelry shop. But let’s take a look at all of them firstly.

The magnet test

As you know, gold is not magnetic, so a fake gold chain could be attracted to a magnet. There are two problems with this test, though. 10k solid gold pieces contain a large amount of non-gold alloy and it could be magnetic. The other problem is that there are other non-magnetic metals like copper and zinc (and brass, the result of a copper and zinc alloy).

Consider this test reliable only in the following situation: A 22k or 18k marked gold chain gets attracted to the magnet. This means that you are dealing with a fake gold chain.

The discoloration test

A solid gold jewelry piece should not have any discoloration. It can have scratches, of course, because gold is a soft metal that scratches easily. But if you notice any discoloration on the piece of your jewelry you are buying, know that it is a fake gold chain.

The acid test

This is by far the most reliable test but, unfortunately, it involves scratching the jewelry piece on a testing stone and using nitric acid on the scratch mark left on the stone. The chemical reaction will show how much gold is in the jewelry piece or whether there is any. The only problem with this method is that no jeweler will let you scratch a brand new chain on a scratching stone to test it.

Of course, you can try persuading them by letting them know you intend to buy it if the test reveals it is a solid gold piece. You can also buy your own gold testing kit and have it with you when you plan to freshen up your jewelry collection. We can’t however, guarantee that you will manage to convince the jeweler to let you test a jewelry piece. This is why we recommend buying jewelry only from reliable vendors.

If you want to check out our designer jewelry collections, visit Ana Luisa online jewelry shop and discover an exciting selection of limited-edition pieces.

Shop jewelry online

Others interesting posts about this topic :

Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.