Gold is a valuable and rare precious metal that has been prized for many years now, It is the favored metal when it comes to making high-end jewelry.
But since it is rare and the cost of acquiring it is high, there have been a lot of fake gold items that are increasingly being introduced to the market and passed off as real to meet the demand for gold.
That is why many methods were developed to help people test the authenticity of gold. Most of these tests can easily be carried out at home, including using bleach.
The use of bleach to test for gold has met with many contradictory opinions. While some would encourage you to use bleach, others cannot emphasize enough that you should keep your gold away from bleach.
So, what is the truth? Can gold be tested by bleach? Will the gold be damaged as a result? In this article, we will look into the reaction between gold and bleach as well as how one can use bleach to test for real gold.
Can You Tell If Gold Is Fake By Using Bleach?
Yes, it is possible to use bleach to test the authenticity of gold. Real and pure gold is unreactive. It does not rust, corrode, or get oxidized.
As a result, bleach should not have any effect on real gold. Fake gold on the other hand will discolor when introduced to bleach and get ruined.
In this case, bleach is used very similarly to nitric acid. Still, keep in mind that the test is not 100% accurate. While it can tell you whether or not gold is pure, it will not be able to specify how pure the gold is.
Also, if you leave the gold in the bleach for too long it could end up damaging the gold. A study done showed that a 14K white gold ring that was left in bleach for 36 hours resulted in gold completely disintegrating.
What If You Put Gold In Bleach And It Turns Black?
As we’ve already mentioned pure gold does not react nor is it affected by bleach. With that said, if the gold turns black when put in bleach then it means that the gold is fake.
It may just be a plating. It could also be an indication that the gold is not pure and contains traces of copper and silver. The discoloration can be removed using a jewelry cleaner, but it may leave the gold piece dull. As such you should let a professional jeweler deal with the discoloration.
A fact that most people overlook with this test, however, is that pure 24K gold is too soft to be used in making jewelry. What we consider as solid gold jewelry is a gold alloy, whereby the gold has been mixed with other metal alloys to make it harder.
These metals include zinc, copper, platinum, and silver. Platinum may not also react to the bleach but the rest of the mentioned metals will be oxidized. This can therefore not be a reliable test for gold, especially for Karats lower than 22K.
How To Tell If Gold Is Real With Bleach – Step By Step Guide
The steps to follow to perform this test are simple. They are similar to the steps followed when using nitric acid. They are as follows:
Step 1: Start by scratching a small part of the gold piece.
Choose somewhere inconspicuous like the clasp or the inner side of the ring. Use a sharp tool and scratch until you get past the top layer of gold and uncover a fresh layer.
This may also be a good way of uncovering the metal underneath in case the gold is only a plating.
Step 2: Add a drop of bleach to the scratched area.
Ensure you first put on gloves to protect yourself when handling the bleaching agent. Then use a dropper or something similar to drop some of the bleach on the scratched part of the gold.
Observe the reaction. If that area turns black or gets discolored it could be an indication that the gold is not pure.
Step 3: An alternative method.
Instead of using a dropper to add bleach to the gold, you can pour some of the bleach into a container and keep the gold in it instead. Observe what happens.
If the gold discolors and a film of black is formed it means the gold is not pure. Be cautious not to leave the gold in the bleach for long as it will weaken and disintegrate the structure of the gold.
All things considered, bleach can tell whether gold is pure or not. This test may, however, not be suitable for gold alloys like 18K,14K, and 10K gold, this is because the amount of gold and other metal alloy used is almost in equal parts if not more.
So, the gold will react with the bleach, which doesn’t make the gold fake, just impure.
We would recommend going to a reputable jeweler to have the gold tested and not risk damaging your jewelry using such DIY methods.
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.