How To Spot Fake Gold Chains

How To Spot Fake Gold Chains

Hello, dear friends and valued customers! When it comes to jewelry, especially gold chains, we at Martin Busch Jewelers believe in helping you make informed decisions. Today, we'd like to share a few essential tips and tricks that can help you distinguish between a real gold chain and a counterfeit one.

Understanding Gold Purity

To spot fake gold, it's crucial to comprehend the karat system. In simple terms, karats represent the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 karats, but because it's too soft for most uses, it's usually mixed with other metals for strength. 

This mix results in different karat ratings like 18K (75% gold), 14K (58.3% gold), and 10K (41.7% gold). Remember, gold-filled, gold-plated, and gold vermeil chains aren't solid gold and will have different markings.

Visual Inspection: Your First Line of Defense

Hallmark Inspection

Every genuine gold chain will have a hallmark, a tiny imprint representing the karat value. This might be 10K, 14K, 18K, 24K, or another number followed by 'K', 'KT', or 'KP'. This tells you the purity of the gold.

Color and General Appearance

Gold has a distinct, rich color. However, variations exist depending on the alloy mix. Fake gold chains often have colors that seem either too shiny, too dull or have a green or reddish tinge.

Craftsmanship and Details

Real gold chains often have a high level of craftsmanship, while fakes may show signs of poor quality like uneven surfaces, or visible seams.

Physical Tests: Confirm Your Suspicions

The Magnet Test

Real gold is not magnetic. If your chain is attracted to a magnet, it's likely, not real gold.

The Float or Sink Test

Pure gold is dense and will sink in water, whereas many fakes will float.

The Skin Test

Some fake gold chains can leave a green or black mark on your skin when worn for a long period. This is due to the metal corroding and reacting with your skin.

The Scratch Test

This should be your last resort as it could potentially damage the chain. It involves scratching the chain against a ceramic plate and observing the streak color. Gold leaves a gold streak, while fake chains leave a black streak.

Professional Assessment: For Complete Peace of Mind

If you're still uncertain, you can always bring your gold chain to us at Martin Busch Jewelers or another trusted professional jeweler for an assessment. They will use specialized tools and techniques to determine the authenticity of your chain.

Tips for Buying Gold Chains

  • Always buy from reputable sellers. If you're uncertain, feel free to reach out to our team at Martin Busch Jewelers for advice or suggestions.
  • Don't be shy to ask questions before making a purchase.
  • Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. Remember, real gold is valuable and will be priced accordingly.
  • It is also good to ask for a certificate of authenticity when buying a gold chain from a source you're unfamiliar with.


We hope that this guide helps you in identifying real gold chains and avoiding fake ones. Remember, when in doubt, consult a professional. Feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment at Martin Busch Jewelers if you have any questions or require further assistance.

For more insightful articles on custom jewelry design, heirloom jewelry redesign, and jewelry repair services, do explore our blog. Remember, we're here to serve you with personalized service, decades-long expertise, and a passion for jewelry that's been part of our family tradition for generations.

Martin Busch Jewelers, making the Financial District shine, one gold chain at a time.