Plated and coated gold is many times sold off as real gold, meaning that you may end up spending a lot of money on a cheap piece of ‘gold’ jewelry.
But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore because we are going to tell you how to tell if the piece of jewelry is really made of gold or not, and you only need a lighter for this test.
But can you really tell if something is made of real gold using just a lighter, and what is the logic behind this test?
Can you tell a gold is real with a lighter?
There are many tests documented that have been shown to be very effective in proving the authenticity of the real gold, including peering into the diameter and the thickness of the gold and also testing the density of the gold piece.
In many of these tests, items made of genuine gold will sink to the bottom of a cup filled with water, and this is not the case for pieces made of gold plating only.
But what about the use of a lighter? Is it an effective test for real gold?
Well, while this method is one of the more unconventional tests for real gold, it is also one of the most effective tests that work well. It’s also a very simple test that is affordable, and it will not damage the piece made of gold.
The science behind this method
The reason for this test is that pure gold is naturally unreactive to heat, and in its natural state, pure gold will not change color or appear darker or just have that darker shade, even in bright light.
Despite the degree of heat applied to real gold, it will not change color, which is why the real gold is melted and molded into different shapes of variable sizes to create jewelry. As a result, the lighter test is one of the most effective tests that allows you to determine if the gold piece in question is real.
However, fake pieces of gold jewelry like the fool’s gold, which is a pyrite or iron sulfide, pieces made of iron, brass, and other alloys of copper will change color or darken when exposed to the heat/ fire. Therefore, the lighter test is one of the most effective tests that you could use to test for gold and determine if it is a genuine piece or a fake.
How to tell if gold is real with a lighter?
- Color change or Absence of these changes
In this test, you are to look out for the effect that the gold piece will have on the flame or the absence of the reaction. Essentially, if there is no pull of the flame or you notice a very slight pull, then it means that the piece is made of real gold.
You should also take note of any changes in color. If the piece being tested darkens or changes color upon exposure to the lighter, it is likely a fake. There will be no changes in color if the piece of jewelry is made of real or solid gold.
Generally, pure gold pieces become brighter when exposed to the lighter and will never darken. So, if your piece of jewelry darkens, it is likely made of brass, iron, fake gold, or copper.
A milky or green discoloration on the piece of gold points to fake gold jewelry or perhaps a gold-plated sterling silver piece of jewelry.
- Melting gold is fake gold.
The other thing that you need to take notice of is terms of color and the behavior of gold pieces when exposed to the flame of the lighter. Essentially, a gold-plated piece of jewelry will show signs of the thin layer of gold melting as the material underneath is exposed.
To do this test, follow these simple steps:
- First, ensure that you have a lighter with a constant and sizeable flame and not the disposable lighter, especially if it doesn’t produce a constant flame. You also need to make sure that you have the lighter well fuelled with the lighter fluid and no other kind of fuel.
- Once the flame is ideal, you’d want to hang the jewelry from a metallic piece of any other substance that won’t burn or melt. You could also use pliers, as long as the ends are covered, to minimize the risk of damage to the jewelry.
- Now that you’ve set everything up, you should proceed to apply or hold the piece of gold jewelry next to the flame. Hold the flame to the jewelry piece for a minute, then observe and take note of any changes on the gold jewelry. If the gold piece darkens, it is probably a piece of gold-plated jewelry and not made of real solid gold. If it doesn’t change color or get a brighter yellow sheen, then it’s made of real gold.
Keep in mind that for gold pieces with a purity level below 18k, the results may be a little inconsistent, and you will see that it is slightly drawn to the flame, and there will be a slight change in color.
Because this creates uncertainty, you may want to get the piece of jewelry tested by a professional, for example, using the nitric acid test, among other tests that are more reliable and accurate.
That said, when conducting this test, you shouldn’t expose the gold jewelry to a very hot or strong flame like the flame from a blow torch because gold melts comparably faster than other metals at a high temperature, and the blowtorch may damage the jewelry.
How the piece of gold jewelry reacts to the lighter’s flame will tell you if the piece of jewelry in question is made of real gold.
The color change in the jewelry points to its realness – fake gold pieces turn darker and darker over time and after exposure to the lighter flame, but the change in color is not to be expected from the real gold pieces.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.