If not for its appealing luster, then it’s for its high value and rarity. If not for its versatility, then it’s for its malleability. There are a lot of reasons why gold is a favorite for many when it comes to metals. For starters, it’s the only metal whose value is known to resist inflation. Not only does it make exquisite jewelry pieces but it is also a great investment.
Given how rare and highly-priced it is, authentic gold can be hard to find with the many fake gold pieces circulating the market today. Luckily there are ways to test the authenticity of gold. You’re probably aware of some methods, but did you know that biting gold is also considered a test? How true and effective is this?
That is what we will be exploring in this post. We will also share with you a few other effective ways you can test whether your gold is real.
Can You Bite Down On Real Gold?
The answer is Yes, you can bite down on real gold. If you’re a sports fanatic then you’ve probably noticed athletes biting their gold medals on several occasions. This is not a type of game ritual but a test of authenticity and proof that it is possible to bite down on real gold.
As you know, gold in itself is a soft metal. That is why it needs to be mixed with other metal alloys to harden it and make it more durable. On the Mohs scale, real 24K gold has a 2.5 score on the scale. This is opposed to the dental enamel with a slightly higher score. That means that your teeth are the ones capable of scratching gold and not the other way around. As such, you should be able to bite down on real gold without harming your teeth. You may even be able to leave a slight dent on the piece of gold.
The term real gold is, however, relative. As we’ve mentioned hardening gold, it must be mixed with a certain percentage of metal alloy. The resulting gold alloy is still considered real gold. In the US, gold stops being considered real gold when it’s 10K gold which contains more metal alloy than actual gold. So, in this case, it may be more difficult to bite down on a 14K gold piece as opposed to a 24K gold piece. That’s because the lower the karat, the less pure the gold and the harder it is.
Can You Tell If The Gold Is Real By Biting It? How?
Now that we’ve established that it is possible to bite down on real gold, let’s explore how biting down on gold is a way of testing its authenticity. To begin with, you should know that the biting test, is a method that was used in the old days. Back then this crude and practical method was based on the fact gold was considered to be malleable. For that reason, people in the old days would bite down on gold items to confirm whether the gold was real. They especially bit gold coins which were used as payment for a service rendered. If there was a bite mark left on the coin or other gold item, then it meant that it was soft enough to be real gold.
There is however a downside to this test. While gold is a soft metal, it is not the only one. Other metals like silver and lead are also soft. Silver has a score of 2.7 on the Mohs scale, so it may feel slightly harder than 24K gold when you bite it. The difference may however be insignificant if it were 18Kor 14K gold since they are slightly harder than 24K gold. Lead on the other hand has a score of 1.5 on the Mohs scale, meaning it is significantly softer than gold. Therefore. if you were to bite on a gold-plated lead piece, you would be able to leave a mark. So, it would be difficult to tell the difference, especially for the untrained eye. That means, while biting gold is one way of testing it, it is not the surest test there is.
Other Ways of Testing If The Gold Is Real.
Over time, new methods of testing gold authenticity have been developed that are surer than biting gold. The following are three sure tests you can try to prove whether your gold is real:
1. Fire Test.
This is an easy test you can do from the comfort of your home. It’s a common one used especially in pawnshops. To perform the test, you would need a constant source of flame. A lighter is sufficient, avoid using powerful flames like a blow torch as that would melt your gold or damage it. To test, hold up or hang the gold piece, be careful not to burn yourself, or use something that wouldn’t easily burn. Place the flame under the gold and observe. Real gold will become brighter as it gets hotter. Fake gold on the other hand will become darker or begin changing color. If the piece was gold plated then the thin plated layer will melt away exposing the true metal underneath.
2. Ceramic Test.
Another easy test to conduct at home. All you need is a piece of unglazed ceramic, ensure it is unglazed otherwise the test will not work.
To test, take your gold piece and carefully drag it across the ceramic. Real gold will leave a gold streak behind while fake gold will leave a dark-colored or black streak behind.
This method will leave some scratches on your gold, but if done properly a good polishing should clear up the scratches. So, be careful not to seriously damage the gold.
3. Acid Test.
This is perhaps the surest test there is when it comes to testing gold. For this test, you would need nitric acid.
To perform the test, place your gold piece in a stainless-steel container and slightly scratch a section of the gold. Using a dropper, add a drop of the acid on the scratched section of your piece and observe.
If there is no reaction, then that means that your piece is real gold. If there is a green-colored reaction, that’s an indication that your piece is gold-plated brass. If it’s a milky-colored reaction then the base metal is silver. Due to inherent safety risks, we would advise that you do not perform this method at home. You can take the gold piece to a trusted professional jeweler and request an acid test.
Now you know why athletes and individuals in the past used to bite their gold. It’s a fast way of determining whether or not you have real gold.
We would however advise you to combine the biting test with any of the three tests we have shared with you just to be sure. Just be careful not to damage the gold.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.