The Jewelry Box Blog

How to Tell if Gold Jewelry is Real

How to tell if gold is real

You’ve been given a pair of gold-toned hoop earrings—and you love them! But you suspect the metal isn’t real gold, but perhaps brass or some other alloy. How can you be sure either way? Use these tests to find out if your glittering jewel is genuine gold.

How to Tell if Gold is Real

Gold Isn’t Magnetic

Toi Et Toi Greenwich St

If that new “gold” ring is attracted to your most powerful kitchen magnet, it’s not real gold. That’s not to say that if your piece doesn’t cling to the magnet, it’s 100% real (silver and other metals also aren’t magnetic). The magnet test is simply one way to test for gold content. 

Gold Sinks in Water

Here’s another easy one: gold is one of the densest metals, so a gold piece will almost always sink in a bowl of water.

Learn how to clean gold jewelry! >>

Buy Some Nitric Acid

Jewelers often use nitric acid to test their gold. Basically, gold won’t react to nitric acid, but all other metals will turn greenish. Don’t douse your jewelry in the acid—just put it in a stainless-steel dish and use a dropper to drop or Q-tip to test a tiny section. If your jewel doesn’t react to the nitric acid, you have a real gold piece (14k or higher). But procuring nitric acid may be more trouble than it’s worth when you can simply…

Ask Your Local Jeweler

If you ever have a question about jewelry, ask your local jeweler! Jewelry retailers can tell you definitively what those hoops (or ring, or necklace, or bracelet, or candlesticks) are made of. Many professionals use expensive, specialized equipment to do so, including electronic or thermo-testing and X-ray fluorescent analyzers that can detect every element in a piece of jewelry, from copper to platinum. Happy discovering!

If you do have real gold jewelry, make sure that precious piece is insured! Jewelers Mutual covers every day life, such as loss, theft, damage and disappearance, which means you can wear your jewelry without worry. Check your rate by clicking the button below. 



Photo: Greenwich St. Jewelry Moi et Toi gold and gemstone ring (courtesy of brand)


Contact Us

If you have a media-related question, please email us at [email protected].

About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit