Estate sales often offer a treasure trove of items that have been secretly tucked away for many years and you never really know what kind if things you will find or how valuable they could be, especially when it comes to jewelry. If you enjoy browsing estate sales to find jewelry pieces that you can resale for extra cash (at an outlet such as Atlas Loan & Jewelry Co), one of the biggest pieces of knowledge you can have is how to spot real gold among the fakes and costume jewelry. Tracking down real gold is actually easy if you use this simple ABC guide to test a piece that you suspect to be real gold.
Always look for markings first, but don't use a marking as the only determining factor.
When you first get your hands on a piece of estate jewelry, you should immediately be looking for markings. Although not every piece of authentic gold jewelry will have a stamp or marking, most of them will. A marking will tell you the purity of the gold you are inspecting, but cannot always be fully trusted because counterfeiters commonly use stamps to make a piece of jewelry look like authentic gold. Plus, stamps can wear off on older pieces of gold as well.
Be on the lookout for color discrepancies.
Gold is a uniform and solid material when it comes to color tone and hue. Make sure that you visually inspect any piece of gold jewelry you are considering buying closely for signs of discoloration or irregular color tones. Pay particular attention around the edges and corners of a piece that are more prone to wear. If what you have has only a thin gold coating, the other metal beneath may show through with age.
Check the magnetic qualities of the piece.
Every good estate buyer carries a small magnet in their pocket because it can be useful to check the authenticity of gold and silver. Pure gold is not a magnetic material and simply checking to see if a magnet will stick to a piece can be enough to tell you that a piece is not real.
Determine if the piece is an appropriate density.
Gold is a highly dense material, much more so than many other metals usually used in making costume jewelry pieces. Pick up a gold ring and measure it against a fake and you can feel a noteworthy difference. It is helpful if you have a small scale on hand for weighing a piece that is suspected to be gold. Even though it can take some experience to be able to spot the difference, over time having the exact weight will help you determine if a piece is actually real gold.