How do you test gold?


Quick Answer

One of the most effective ways to test your gold is to use gold testing acid. You need nitric acid, a dropper, rubber gloves to protect your skin, safety glasses, a plastic plate and a piece of gold. The process takes a few minutes.

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Full Answer

  1. Protect yourself, and set up the apparatus

    Because you're dealing with a highly corrosive nitric acid, wear rubber gloves to prevent your skin from coming into direct conduct with the acid. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from poisonous gases that may be emitted during the reaction. With those precautions taken, set the piece of gold on the plastic plate. The plastic plate does not react with acid.

  2. Test your gold

    Using a dropper, drop one or two drops of the nitric acid onto the gold, and observe the reaction. If no reaction occurs, the gold is pure. If there is a reaction, then the item is probably coated with gold or only contains some quantity of gold. If you want to know the exact percentage of gold contained in the item, purchase an acid test kit that is specifically designed for gold. These kits generally contain a testing stone and different concentrations of acid for different karat values of gold. You need to scrape a bit of the golden item by rubbing it on the testing stone, and then use the various acid concentrations to figure out the amount of gold content in your item.

  3. Unset the apparatus

    Unset the apparatus, and dispose of the acid. Rinse the plate with soap and a lot of water if you plan to use it for other purposes.

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