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How do I know if my jewelry is gold?

gold jewelry

The great gold story

Gold is a precious metal composed of the chemical element "Au", from the Latin "aurum", and has an atomic number of 79. It first appeared on planet Earth around 4 billion years ago.

Where it came from on Earth remains a mystery. However, a few years ago, scientists formulated an interesting theory: the collision between two neutron stars would be at the origin of the appearance of gold, but also of other heavy metals such as platinum. A hypothesis that seems to be the right one!

It's hard to recognize gold on jewelry, so here are some tips to help you tell if your jewelry is gold:

A few tips to check if your jewelry is made of gold

Check for the presence of a punch

The hallmark is the official mark affixed by jewelers or customs authorities. It identifies both the origin and the purity of a piece of gold, silver or platinum jewelry. The hallmark is applied at the time of manufacture or when the jewel enters France.

There are two different types of punch:

  • The master hallmark or responsibility mark is that of the artisan jeweler who makes the jewel. It generally takes the form of a rhombus with his initials.
  • The title or guarantee hallmark, which is affixed by customs (or by authorized jewelers) and varies according to the metal used and its quantity:
gold jewelry

The vinegar test

A very simple test with a product found in everyone's home! All you have to do is place your jewelry in a glass containing vinegar, let it stand for an hour or so and then wash it with water. If the color changes, your jewelry is not gold.

At the end of this test, you can follow all our tips for cleaning your gold jewelry.

The magnet test

Science is everywhere! This test is quick and easy. Gold is not a magnetic metal. If your jewel is attracted to the magnet, it's not made of gold.

The ceramic test

This test is a last resort, as it can damage your jewelry.

Take an unglazed ceramic and rub your gold jewelry over it. If it leaves a golden trace, your jewel is made of gold; on the other hand, if it leaves a black trace, it's not gold.

Test with a polishing cloth

This method requires the use of your jewelry cleaning cloth. Take the cloth and rub your jewel. If the gold layer has tarnished or changed color, your jewel is not real gold, but gold-plated.

Test without equipment

Don't have any of the above items to hand? No problem, it's possible to do a test without any equipment. 

However, this test takes more time. Just wear your jewel as much as possible, or even every day, to test the material's endurance. This test will reveal the weaknesses of non-gold jewelry, such as discoloration or the appearance of greenish marks on your skin.

Why does gold change color?

Yellow, white, pink... Gold jewelry can be adorned in a whole host of colors! But how is this possible?

In reality, it's the jewelers who change the color of the gold. Gold's natural color is yellow, and it's by altering the proportions of silver and copper in the alloys, or by incorporating other metals, that the color of the gold changes. 

White gold is usually created by adding whitening metals. Simply apply a thin layer of rhodium to the jewel to transform it into white gold. Modern rose gold contains more copper than yellow gold, which explains its color. There are a multitude of combinations, which can make all the difference from one piece of jewelry to another. For example, rose gold contains less copper in its alloy than red gold, which creates nuances. The only condition for an 18-carat gold appellation is that the jewel must be composed of 75% of gold.

Here are some examples of common alloys:

18-carat yellow gold is an alloy composed of :

  • 75% d'Or
  • 12.5% d'Argent
  • 12.5% Copper

18-carat white gold is an alloy composed of :

  • 75% d'Or
  • 18% d'Argent
  • 1% Copper
  • 5.5% Zinc

18-carat rose gold is an alloy composed of :

  • 75% d'Or
  • 22.25% of Copper
  • 2.75% d'Argent

 

Here are some examples of our collections in yellow, white and rose gold:

 

Extracting gold from mines generates heavy pollution. You may not know it, but little of the gold in circulation today comes from mines. Find out how gold is becoming a sustainable material: 

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