Quick Checks to Suss Out Fake Gold

As a refinery, we deal with high volumes of gold in all manner of shapes, weights, and purity levels. We're able to leverage several types of assays to authenticate the melt-value of anything a customer may bring us. However, if you plan on purchasing gold, the types of assay equipment we'd recommend may not be available. Fortunately, there are several quick and easy ways to catch fake gold before you commit to a purchase.
   
Discoloration: Pure gold does not tarnish, so carefully check for any discoloration. Even slight shade variations can reveal fake gold.

Magnets: Gold (and other precious metals) are not magnetic. If the piece in question reacts to the magnet, it can only mean two things: 1) the piece is completely fake, or 2) the piece contains a lot of magnetic impurities (such as nickel or tungsten) and may be a lower karat than advertised. Make sure to use something stronger than a refrigerator magnet.

Scratching: Even without acid, a simple scratch test is enough to uncover many types of fake gold. Most counterfeiters don’t have the time or resources to plate a counterfeit thicker than what a scratch can uncover. The streak left behind by a scratch can also tell you something. For example, fool’s gold will leave behind a greenish grey streak, but gold will leave a shiny and bright streak of yellow. For best results, scratch against basalt or unglazed ceramic.

Float test: Check the buoyancy of the item by dropping it in a glass of water. Real gold is dense and will sink, but many counterfeits will float. Of course, this test is more effective on small samples, such as jewelry or alluvial flakes. Be aware that many metals designed to look like gold are still dense enough to sink, so even if the piece passes the float test, you should still try additional assays.


New Underwater Drone makes Gold Exploration more Accessible

Whether you are searching for an enormous cache of gold, or just a good spot to dig for some, the ocean floor is a notoriously challenging and expensive place to explore. However, that could change later this year with the Trident – which is being called “the world's first low-cost underwater drone.”
   
While searching for gold off the California coast, engineers Eric Stackpole and David Lang were disappointed when they couldn’t dive deep enough to explore an underwater cave. They wanted to use a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), but there was nothing affordable and accessible on the market. This inspired them to start their company, OpenROV, and sell an underwater drone of their own design. Since the company’s inception, OpenROV has sold more than 3,000 ROV kits that contain parts and open source software that customers can use to build a functioning underwater drone.

This year, OpenROV plans to launch the Trident – a prebuilt drone that is more affordable and simpler to use out-of-the-box. It goes on sale this summer for $1,499. Although the cost is much higher than most metal detectors, the Trident opens up a whole new frontier for prospectors to explore. We won’t be surprised to see an uptick in underwater gold discoveries peppering the news this year!


Gold Prices Jump after US Missile Strike on Syria

Gold experienced a jump in value on April 6 after the United States launched a cruise missile strike on military targets in Syria. New York spot prices rallied to their highest point in almost five months - $1,270.87. Overall, gold's value has increased by 10% since the start of 2017.
   
Although the U.S. has mostly utilized military force against ISIS in Syria, this missile strike marks the first major move against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the region. Additionally, the strike was an executive order that was enacted without congressional approval. In other words, the time between decision, action, and announcement was swift - catching the markets by surprise.

With an unforeseen international conflict making the headlines, Gold's uptick in price can be attributed to a surge in demand for safe-haven assets. If you want to be alerted to price swings as these events develop, don’t forget that you can use our mobile app to receive alerts via email or push notifications on your phone.