Gold chains came into mainstream fashion in the 1960s’ thanks to Jimi Hendrix and since then it seems they are not going anywhere, becoming only more popular by each day. Gold chains became the basic jewelry to wear with formal or casual outfits. They create great looks and make perfect investments. Modern gold chains have so many variation of styles its hard even to remember all of them. The main popular gold chain styles today are: rope chain, Cuban or Miami Cuban, Franco, Figaro, cable and many more.
To be able to find the best chain to buy you need to know how to pick it right.
We are happy to live in a time when there’s such a great amount and variety of types and styles of gold chains. But the more the choice, the harder it is to find the gold chain of a good quality. To get a real gold chain you need to know what you should pay attention to while buying gold jewelry.
The first and the most important sign that the gold chain is real is the hallmark. If it is present on a jewelry piece it’s already a good sign. But if you know how to read a hallmark and what information the stamp provides you may get even more details than the seller is willing to give.
The hallmark gives information about the purity of gold used in jewelry. There are standards that mark the percentage of gold that the alloy used in jewelry contains. They may be stamped on the gold jewelry piece either in carats or with a 3-digit number. The most common hallmarks are:
- 9K or 375 (37,5% of gold in the alloy)
- 10K or 416 – (41,67%)
- 12K or 500 – (50%)
- 14K or 585 – (58,33%)
- 18K or 750 – (75%)
- 22K or 917 – (91,67%)
- 24K or 999 – (99,99%)
You may also find stamps like GF, RG or RGP, GP or GEP, HGP or HGE and Vermeil. The thing is that the seemingly real gold chain may appear not as “real” even containing a hallmark. What do these stamps mean?
GF or 1/20 14K mark means that the jewelry is gold filled. It means that the jewelry of metal was coated with gold alloy. The gold filled chain should contain not less than 5% of the whole jewelry’s metal weight.
RG or RGP or 1/40 14K stamp indicates that the jewelry piece is rolled gold plated and the amount of gold alloy it is coated in is only 2,5%.
GP(GEP) or HGP (HGE) marks define the jewelry as gold plated (gold electro plated) or heavy gold plated/electroplated. The metal the gold plated jewelry is placed on is usually cooper or brass.
Vermeil or .925 It is the sterling silver jewelry plated with gold alloy.
The other thing you should be aware of if you want to buy real gold chains, especially if you want to buy real diamond chains, is whether the gold is solid or hollow.
While solid gold is what it is, hollow gold chains may be empty inside. It may be made hollow to make the jewelry lighter in weight or less expensive while still looking fancy. The gold chains of hollow gold may lose in durability, aren’t advised to wear with heavy pendants and are more likely to deform than the once made of solid gold.
The presence or absence of the hallmark is not convincing enough to tell if the gold chain is real or not. If the producer was able to fake the gold jewelry, why shouldn’t he be able to fake the hallmark? You may want to try some additional tests to know how genuine is your gold chain.
The most reasonable and right thing to do to know if your gold jewelry is real is to take it to the jeweler for a test. No one could tell the fake more precisely than the professional jeweler. But if you want to try and distinguish the authenticity yourself, you are welcome to try.
Before making the experiments on your gold chain try looking at it closely. Look for the changes of the color. If you see some lighter or darker spots on the metal of your gold chain, then there’s a chance it isn’t real. If the “gold” seems too reddish or too yellow, it may also mean it’s fake. If your gold chain seems too shiny for you, don’t be too overwhelmed, it’s another sign that you were deceived and got the imitation. Try the weight of your gold chain. If it seems that it is lighter than it should be, then probably you have the right to doubt its authenticity.
Of course, those tests are not accurate. Even the best professional jeweler with many years of experience won’t be too sure of the originality of the golden chain just by looking at it.
If after the inspection of the hallmark and the gold chain itself you still feel uncertain and are ready for experiments, then here are few tests. But keep in mind that neither one of them, nor all of them together are not accurate enough to tell 100% sure the gold chain is real.
Take a glass of water and try to put your gold chain into it. Gold jewelry will certainly hit the bottom. On the one hand, other metals can do the same, but on the other, if your “gold” floats, it’s definitely fake.
You may also fill the glass with white vinegar instead of water. Try putting your gold chain into vinegar for 15 minutes. If you see the jewelry changing its color, it’s fake, but if it became as shiny as new, our congratulations, the gold is real.
Try the magnet. Real gold shouldn’t react to the magnet, while some other metals might.
The next test is a bit harder. First, you should be aware of the risk of damaging your gold chain so think twice. Second, you need to find a porcelain tile or an unglazed ceramic plate. Scratch your gold chain firmly but carefully on the plate or the tile. If it leaves a yellow or gold trace, then it’s real. If the mark left on the tile or the plate is grey or black, then the chain is fake.
The real diamond chains are even easier to distinguish than the gold, because you can add the test of diamonds to the test of gold. If you’ve already discovered that the gold is real and of a high end quality, then most certainly the diamonds are real as well. Real diamonds are rarely set into something other than fine jewelry and precious metals.
But to be sure that your diamond chain is real you may try some tests on them too.
The most popular test for diamonds’ authenticity is also the scratch test. Try scratching the mirror or a piece of glass with your diamonds. The diamonds are very hard so they should leave a visible scratch on the glass or the mirror. Be careful, because if the stone is not real it may be damaged.
To test your diamond chain you may use the same water test as with the gold. If real, the diamond will drown in the glass of water. Some simulants may stay afloat, though.
Try to observe how your diamonds react when you breathe on them. If they stay fogged over 3 seconds, then probably they are fake, but if the fog clears up after a couple of seconds, the diamond chain may be real.
Of course it’s a great thing to be inquisitive, but we are sure that fine high end jewelry was made for other causes. Exquisite gold chains and sparkling diamond chains were designed and created by qualified jewelers to bring beauty and joy into your style and looks. And if you have the doubts about their quality and authenticity it’s better to check your jewelry with the help of a professional. But to avoid all the troubles of checking and double-checking the gold or diamond chain you’d better buy the jewelry at the stores and sellers with good reputation and reviews. It will save you nerves, time and money and bring only positive emotions if your desired gold or diamond chain is 100% real and just the way you’ve wanted.