Gold chains are an essential accessory to have. They are suitable for both genders and any occasion. Whether you want a simple chain that complements your outfits or one that makes a statement, there are gold chain designs that fit the bill.
Gold, however, is a highly valuable metal and expensive to acquire. As such you’ll find merchants passing off fake gold chains as real ones. Telling the real from the fake can be difficult but it is not impossible.
In this post, we’ll walk you through what real and fake gold chains entail and how to tell them apart. We’ll also walk you through the pros and cons of each and which one is worth buying.
What Chain Are Consider as Real Gold Chain?
When using the term ‘real’ to describe real solid gold chains, let’s keep in mind that the gold used in making jewelry is not 100% pure gold. In its purest form, gold is too soft and malleable and therefore cannot be used to make jewelry. For that reason, gold has to be mixed with other metals to form a gold alloy, measured in Karats (K).
The higher the karats the more the percentage of gold in the alloy. For example, 18K gold alloy contains about 75% of gold whereas 14K gold alloy has about 58% of it. These two Karats are the most popularly used gold alloys when making gold jewelry including gold chains. It’s because they have more gold content than the metals used to form the alloy but still have high durability.
The common metals mixed with gold are silver, zinc, palladium, and copper. They are used to add strength, hardness, and durability to the gold. Depending on the metals and amounts you mix, you’ll end up with different colored gold alloys. These solid gold alloys are what are used to form what we identify as real solid gold chains.
What Chain Are Considered as Fake Gold Chain?
As for fake gold chains, these are chains that appear to be real solid gold but are just gold-plated metals. So, fake gold chains aren’t entirely fake, they have a small proportion of gold added to them. The gold plating is however usually thin, so it easily wears off over a long period. Sometimes, when the gold plating is too thin, you’ll notice green marks around your neck when you wear the fake gold chain.
People making these fake gold chains are looking for ways to cut production costs and maximize profit. As such they use cheap and available metals like iron, nickel, brass, steel, and bronze among others. The majority of these metals oxidize easily hence the green coloring on your skin when you put on the fake jewelry. Some metals like nickel are also highly allergic metals that could be dangerous for individuals with mental or skin sensitivity.
In some countries, some gold alloys are also not considered real gold. In the US for example, 10K gold is the lowest acceptable Karat gold, anything lower is not considered gold. Still, when it comes to commercial use, 10K gold isn’t traded as much in the US. Therefore, gold chains made of low Karat gold are also considered fake.
Pros And Cons of Real Gold Chain.
Real gold chains have their appeal, but just as there are two sides of the coin, they also have their downside. The following are the pros and cons of real gold chains:
- They are an investment.
The beauty about real gold chains is that they’re not just great pieces to wear, but can also be great investments for the future. Their value doesn’t depreciate even during inflations. You can choose to sell the chain in the future and even end up with a profit.
- They require less maintenance.
Real solid gold chains are durable and do not tarnish or corrode. Therefore, you don’t have to constantly take it to the jeweler for polishing. If properly kept, the chain can last a lifetime before wearing off.
- They are hypoallergenic.
Gold is a hypoallergenic metal. Real gold chains are often made with 14K gold and above. That means the chains contain more gold content, hence lower chances for traces like nickel or other metals that could cause an allergic reaction.
- They are costly.
As mentioned earlier, gold is a highly valuable metal. Therefore, gold chains cost quite the penny. Not many people can afford them. You’d have to be rich, royal, or have a lot of savings, to buy an authentic gold chain.
Pros And Cons of The Fake Gold Chain.
Fake gold chains may have their shortcomings, but they also have a few advantages to consider. The following are the pros and cons of fake gold chains:
- They are affordable.
Unlike real gold chains, fake ones don’t cost as much to make, therefore, their selling price is significantly lower.
As such, you don’t need to be rich or break the bank to be able to afford it.
- They are aesthetically pleasing.
Despite not being the real deal, fake gold chains are still beautiful to look at.
Some of them are made so well that it’s difficult to tell whether they are fake or real even when you’re up close.
- They have no real value.
Unlike real gold chains that can be used as an investment, fake gold chains have no value. You’d be lucky to get a decent amount for the chain if you decided to sell it after a few years.
- They wear easily.
The thin coating of gold used on the chain, rubs off easily, especially if not taken care of. The base metals also often corrode. As such, the chain requires constant maintenance, of polishing and replating it.
- They aren’t good for sensitive skin.
The base metals used in fake gold chains could cause an allergic reaction on the skin, especially for those with metal and skin sensitivity.
What’s The Difference Between the Real Gold Chain and Fake Gold Chain?
Aside from physical qualities like the weight of the chain, many things differentiate between real and fake gold chains. To begin with, the making process of the chains differs. To make a real gold chain, the preferred karat gold is melted and turned into a gold wire that goes through a chain-stitching process done by special machines.
Once the chain has been weaved, it’s placed in a furnace to solder the chain links and finally cleaned and polished. Fake gold chains, on the other hand, the chains are weaved out of non-gold base metals and then plaited with a thin layer of gold in the end to give it the gold appearance.
Another difference is in the metals used to make the two chains. Real gold chains are made up of high karat gold alloys. The alloys contain gold in higher percentages and metal alloys of either silver, copper, zinc, or palladium to make the gold more durable. Fake gold chains on the other hand are made of cheap metals like iron, brass, or nickel among others. These metals are used as the base metals that are then covered in a thin layer of gold and passed of as real solid gold chains.
Lastly, but most important, is the price difference between real and fake gold chains. It’s the easiest way to tell them apart. The cost of producing real gold chains is high, given the high value of gold as a precious metal. Therefore, the selling price of an authentic solid gold chain will be higher given the content of gold used. As for fake gold chains, there is a minimal amount of gold used to make it. The main materials used are cheap and easy to come by, so, the producers can afford to sell them at a cheaper price.
How Tell the Real Gold Chain from Fake Ones?
Given the differences between real and fake gold, it shouldn’t be difficult to tell them apart. Some, however, are so well done that it can be difficult to point out the fake one at face value. The following are some tips that can help you quickly identify which gold chains are real and fake:
1.Check the Gold Hallmarks.
As a rule, authentic gold jewelry is required to have hallmarks. These are stamps made on the jewelry, that indicate the content details of the piece. In a gold chain, the hallmark is placed near the clasp. It contains a number followed by the letter K (karats) and other letters that indicate whether the chain is solid or not.
For example, a 14K solid gold chain would often have the following markings, 14K, 14KP, or 14KT. If the chain is gold plated or filled it will have the following markings, 14K GP, 14K GF, 14K HGE, and so on.
Note, however, that some old authentic gold chains may not have the hallmarks if they were produced before the hallmarks were introduced. Additionally, some producers also put hallmarks on fake gold chains which can be misleading. So, you need to conduct further tests to be sure.
2.Check the color of the gold and for any discoloration.
Pure 24K gold is yellow. Compared to gold alloys this yellow is much brighter. For gold plating, 24K gold is what is often used. Therefore, if you happen to come across a very intensive yellow gold chain, chances are that it’s fake since 24K gold is too soft to be used in making durable solid gold chains.
Another color tip to tell a fake gold chain apart from the real one is the discoloration. Often the layer of gold used to coat the fake chains are thin. Because 24K gold is soft, it wears off easily. So, you’ll be able to see the base metal underneath if you scratched the chain. Some base metals also corrode and tarnish, leading to a green discoloring on your skin when you put them on. So, if you notice the skin on your neck turn green after putting on your gold chain, it means that it’s fake.
3.Use the Acid Test.
This is the surest way to know if the chain is made of gold, and how much gold was used. Most jewelers offer this test, so you can ask for it when purchasing your gold chain. How it works is, a small sample of the chain is scratched on a touchstone and nitric acid is applied to that area. The resulting chemical reactions should be able to tell you the amount of gold used in your gold chain.
Real Gold Chain Vs Fake (Which One You Should Buy?)
When it comes to the question of which gold chain is worth buying, it may seem like a real gold chain is the obvious choice.
In as much as its pros outweigh its cons, authentic gold chains are too expensive to acquire, and because of their high value, you would need to take up an insurance policy in case of theft or damage.
Fake gold chains on the other hand may not be as valuable or as durable, but they are affordable. If well maintained you can wear them for more than a year without anyone ever telling the difference.
So, which one is worth buying? If you have the money and can afford it, then it is better to invest in real gold chains, especially if you have sensitive skin or metal sensitivity. If you don’t have the money but still want to rock a gold chain, then there’s no shame in buying a gold-plated chain. Just be ready for the constant maintenance.
Gold chains are a great piece of jewelry to have in your collection. Whether fake or real, all you need is to take care of your chain for you to enjoy it long enough.
Be careful, however, not to be ripped off by a jeweler passing off fake gold chains as real gold. That is why it is important to know how to tell the two apart.
Also, ensure you buy your authentic gold chains from a reputable jewelry store.
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.