How can I tell if my gold is real?
Testing a piece of gold or platinum jewelry to see if it is real is generally done with acids, and is not something that can be done at home on the kitchen table.
Today most jewelry is karat stamped, inside the ring, on the clasp of a chain etc. While these are usually correct, it is possible for unscrupulous jewelry dealers to stamp something that is fake as gold, or stamp the item as 18k when it is only 10k.
Below are a number of photos of jewelry stamps and what they mean, both for gold and platinum. There are all types of markings on jewelry, the following are simply a few examples so you know what to look for.
Platinum, 90% pure.
Platinum, it may be 80, 90% or 95% pure.
Platinum 90% pure.
This stamp is on the same ring as the 90% PLAT stamp shown above. How can a ring be both platinum & 18K gold? Testing confirmed the ring is platinum, with 18K yellow gold plating, which can also be seen in this photo.
18K = 75% pure. As you can see the stamp is not always easily read. When stamped by hand, the jeweler may move slightly and you get a difficult to read stamp.
14K gold = 58.5% pure. This stamp also shows the jeweler stamp, which indicates the company or designer of the piece.
14K gold = 58.5% pure. Another 14K gold stamp and jeweler stamp. 14K gold is very common in North America.
14K gold = 58.5% pure, stamped with company name on chain clasp. Stamps can often be so small you need magnification to read them.
10K gold = 41.7% pure, which is the lowest level of purity legally allowed in North America and still be called gold. Other countries (especially the UK) legally produce gold jewelry that is even lower in purity.