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  • 5 min read

Lots of people wear chains and pendants to try to make their outfits look better. But some people like to wear these same pieces as status symbols to try to make themselves appear more influential, wealthy, and powerful.

While some stars and celebrities are definitely wearing the real deal, others might be trying to fool you. Learn how to tell when someone is wearing a legitimate gold chain or when they’re wearing a fake with these tips.

1. Check for Markings

If you have a suspicion that someone near you is wearing a fake gold chain, you might be able to play detective if they ever take it off for a moment. There are several markings that individual the quality of a golden chain.

You might find letters like K, KP, or KT, which are then followed by a number, like 10k, 14k or 20k. This indicates the gold content of the piece. A 24k gold piece is one that is 100% entirely made of gold. If it’s 14k, for example, it is 14 parts gold to 10 parts of a different metal alloy. This contains pure gold, but just not as much as 24k.

You can usually find these markings on the clasp of the chain. Other letters like GP, RGP, HGP, HGE, and GEP are also significant because these are used for pieces that are gold-plated or gold-filled. These are not solid gold and are not considered to be real gold.

Of course, they can still be pretty convincing at first. In most cases, you really can’t tell whether or not a piece is real gold unless you can get up close and personal.

2. Color

The color of a gold chain can usually help you determine the quality of the gold that it uses. For example, 24k gold has a deeper color than lesser karats, which can usually make it clear when someone is wearing solid gold.

24k gold has a shine and a polish that alloyed gold just can’t really match. The color is a bit more bronze in hue compared to those that contain other types of metal.

The tricky thing with this is that many gold-plated pieces use 24k gold on the outer layer. Since gold plating uses a thin layer of gold rather than solid metal throughout the piece, jewelers can charge lower prices for pieces that look exactly the same.

Gold-plated pieces have their place when the price is right, but be careful. You can sometimes tell when a piece is plated because it will start to wear away in places, leading to inconsistent coloration throughout the chain.

3. Magnet Test

The magnet test is a popular method to test for gold. However, you need to proceed with caution. The thought is that since gold is not magnetic, a gold chain should not adhere to a magnet.

Since any other types of metal in the piece would adhere (like in 18k or 20k gold items), it can only be used to determine if a piece is made of 100% pure, 24k gold.

4. Acid Test: Ask for Professional Assistance

An acid test is an advanced test that is one of the only foolproof ways to tell if a piece of jewelry is the real deal. However, it is complex and usually a lot more work than it needs to be. This is only something you should do if you feel like you’ve been scammed by a jeweler and paid a lot more for a piece that you believe might not even be real gold.

With an acid test, a small sample of gold alloy is taken from the chain by scraping it against a hard stone. Then, nitric acid is added to the stone. If the mark dissolves, then the piece is not made of gold. 

If the mark remains, an added chemical is used called aqua regia. If the mark is removed from this reaction, then it proves the item to be genuine.

This test can be done at home, but the materials can be pricey, and you could cause some real damage to your piece. It’s best to enlist the skills of a professional jeweler.

Is “Fake” Gold Bad?

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding gold-plated or gold vermeil pieces because jewelry aficionados act like these pieces are not actually legitimate. While a gold-plated piece is not a legitimate buy if you thought you paid for a 100% pure gold piece, gold-plated pieces are as great as solid gold.

Pure gold has an essence and power that is unmatched, but you usually cannot tell a gold-plated piece from a solid gold piece from looks alone. This is because gold plating does use real gold — just in smaller amounts over top of the base metal.

This makes gold-plated pieces much more cost-effective and accessible for people who are trying to deck out their style but might also be on a budget. Importantly, they’re as durable as real gold as long as you take care of them properly.

Gold plating and vermeil can allow people to have access to more jewelry at a lower price. And if you’re in the market for cost-friendly versions of the same pieces that you’re seeing some of your favorite celebrities wearing, then there’s nothing wrong with getting yourself some.

Make sure you’re getting your pieces from places you can trust. 6 Ice is the finest purveyor of high-quality hip-hop jewelry. From chains to watches, from bracelets to pendants, you can have confidence that your next purchase will take your outfits to new heights.

In Conclusion

Jewelry scams are more common than you might think, and often, a jeweler will mark up prices on gold-plated pieces to make them seem like real gold. But there are some ways you can spot a fake piece to make sure you’re not getting scammed.

Looking for a dark, toned color or checking for markings before you buy are two of the most effective methods. If you got a piece that you feel might not be genuine, you could try the magnet test at home to see.

Either way, you can avoid a lot of trouble and hassle by getting pieces from retailers you can trust. 6 Ice is the finest purveyor of hip-hop jewelry, with both solid gold, gold plated, and gold vermeil options.

Browse our newest drops today and start taking your look to a whole new level.


About Gold Jewellery | World Gold Council

Bench Tip #9: Use the Touchstone Method for Testing Purity in Karat Gold | GIA

Magnetism | National Geographic