How To Tell If Rose Gold Is Real? Rose gold jewelry is stylish, elegant, versatile, and easily the best kind of jewelry you could own today. Rose gold is used in all kinds of jewelry, from wedding and engagement rings to bracelets, necklaces, and all other kinds of fashion and fine jewelry.
But how can you tell if the rose gold jewelry is real or not? And with rose gold, a version of gold, what do you need to know about this gold alloy?
Rose Gold Basics
10K gold is regarded as the lowest purity gold, and it’s also the densest form of gold. On the other hand, 24k gold is 99.9% pure, very soft, and it’s just as close to pure as it gets. It’s worth noting that while the jewelry’s karat purity is often marked on the piece of jewelry, there still are fakes on the market, which means that you should be aware of the simple tests that you could run to determine the authenticity of the jewelry.
Also, you need to keep in mind that because of the softness of gold, it’s alloyed with other metals, resulting in different karatage gold pieces. The gold alloy incorporated into the gold determines not only the strength and the durability of the gold but also the type of gold alloy formed. Rose gold is alloyed with copper and maybe some silver or palladium to tone done on the level of redness of the rose gold.
Now that we have the basics out of the way let’s look at some of the tests for authentic rose gold.
How To Tell If Rose Gold Is Real?
Method 1 – Run a Visual Inspection and check for Hallmarks
First, you need to look at the markings engraved on the piece of jewelry. Essentially, gold jewelry will have the letter K along with a specific number next to it. The letter K stands for karatage. 10K rose gold will have the 10k hallmark, while the 24K gold will have the 24k hallmark.
You’d also want to look at the official number marked on the gold. The marking on the gold, also known as the hallmark, will tell you more about the percentage of gold in the piece. Generally, the hallmark would be printed around the clasp or along with the inner bands of the ring. The hallmark would be visible from the surface of the jewelry. The stamp number will range from 1-999, and in karats, from 0K – 24K.
You’d want to use a magnifying glass to identify the hallmark. You need the magnifying glass because it may be tough to make out the hallmark using your naked eyes, especially on the smaller gold pieces like rings.
In older pieces, there may be no visible hallmark signs, but these may wear out over time. In other cases, the jewelry may not have even had a stamp – while hallmarking jewelry became the norm in the 1950s, in other parts of the world like India, hallmarking only became a mandatory requirement in 2000.
- Using Number Markings
Since most coins, as well as jewelry, aren’t made of pure gold, and they are actually made of mixed metals, you’d need to use the number rating system to test authenticity. In Europe, the number rating system is from 1-999, with 999 used for pure gold. In the US, for example, the number rating system ranges from 0-24K, with 24K used for pure gold.
Note that using the number rating system, the number 375, for example, means that the piece is made of 37.5% gold. In the US, however, 37.5% gold is equivalent to 9K gold.
- Letter Markings
Sometimes, your rose gold jewelry will not have numbers or specific karatage but letter markings. Often, the letter markings are used to show that the gold piece is impure. Some of these letter markings include GP that stands for gold plated, and GEP, meaning that the pieces are gold electroplated.
In most cases, the markings wouldn’t vary very much, even when they come from different parts of the world.
- Look out for color discolorations.
You’d want to look out for noticeable discolorations in the areas where the gold has worn off. Examining these spots will tell you whether the jewelry is made of pure gold or plated.
You should also look out for color discolorations on your skin.
Method 2 – Testing Properties and Magnetism
Water Test – Drop the gold piece into a jug with water, then see if it sinks. Real gold is dense, meaning that it falls to the bottom of the jug, unlike plated or imitation gold, which floats because it’s lighter.
Rusting Test – Jewelry made of real gold won’t rust or tarnish when exposed to moisture, while plated pieces will rust or tarnish.
Magnetism – Gold isn’t magnetic, and it won’t stick to the powerful molybdenum magnet. Unfortunately, this is not a foolproof option since some genuine gold pieces may have iron, which would make it magnetic.
The Scratch Test. In this test, you’d have to rub the piece of gold against/ on unglazed ceramic – if it leaves a nice gold streak, then it means that the piece is made of authentic gold. You need to make sure that you are using a piece of unglazed ceramic. To get the streak, you’d have to drag the piece across the plate until you see fragments coming off from the gold. If you notice a black streak, however, the piece isn’t made of real gold – fake gold will react with the foundation of the ceramic tile, leaving the black or green streak. Keep in mind that this scratch rest will scrape off some gold, but it’s a very safe option. You can buy the unglazed ceramic tile online.
Method 3 – Density Test
- Weigh the gold piece on a scale – a digital kitchen scale would work.
- Fill a cylinder (graduated) with water halfway.
- Read the stating water level in your cylinder.
- Drop in the gold piece, then record the new water level.
- Subtract the two measurements to find the difference in the water level. The answer will be in cubic centimeters or cubic milliliters.
- Next, divide the weight of the gold by the difference in the water level obtained above. The answer you’ll get represents the density of that piece of gold. The density of real gold is 19.3g/Ml – if the number is off, then you have fake gold.
That said, authentic 18K gold will have a density of between 14.7 and 15.9g/ml, while 22K gold records a density of between 17.7 and 17.8g/ML
Method 4 – The Nitric Acid Test
You could easily test the rose gold jewelry using a gold testing kit. This kit makes use of certain acids to determine the percentage purity of the gold.
The best part is that there are gold testing kits for different gold alloys, which means that you will have to buy the gold testing kits depending on the hallmark and the description of the rose gold jewelry.
To use the gold testing kit, the first thing you’d have to do is to scratch the piece of jewelry on the stone that comes as part of the kit. Make sure to scratch the protected areas of the jewelry, specifically the inside of the clasp. This step is important because the acid test tends to be destructive.
Also, the test kit comes with instructions on exactly how to use the jewelry. You should also be careful not to run the test for too long because exposing the piece of gold for too long could be damaging.
These are the top recommended methods for testing rose gold. If the suspected piece passes two or more tests, it’s likely to be an authentic piece.