Before organised retailers like Tanishq became a household name, gold jewellery was bought through small independent shops. The problem with these shops was that they were overtly focussed on profit margins, which invariably meant compromising with the purity of gold. Jewellers have little control over gold prices or the making charges, and the only way to squeeze out more profits is to increase the percentage of other metals in gold. What made it easier is that gold is a soft metal and to increase its longevity it is mixed with metals like silver copper and zinc. It is standard practice. But to add 25 percent silver in a piece of gold jewellery, while claiming it to be 100 percent pure gold is cheating. Though things have changed for the good, it is important to know ways to check the originality of gold.
The government has taken several steps to prevent unscrupulous jewellers from fleecing customers. The Bureau of Indian Standards came out with BIS mark for gold articles. If a piece of jewellery has a BIS hallmark, it means the article has been tested for purity in a BIS licensed laboratory. The BIS marking is, however, a voluntary scheme. Some jewellers have their own purity hallmarks, but they may necessarily comply with BIS standards. BIS mark is not restricted to jewellery, it can be found on gold coins also, which is helpful for people who buy gold as an investment.
Purity in Karats
The purity of gold is measured in karats, written as KT. If you see the clamp or the back of a gold jewellery item you will find 22KT or 18KT written on it. Pure gold is very soft and is not fit for long term use, which is why you will not find 24KT jewellery easily. For instance, 22KT gold means that if the entire piece is divided into 24 parts, 22 parts will be gold while two parts will be other metals. A typical gold article will have the purity number and a BIS hallmark, which means BIS has certified it to be of the purity that is embossed on the article. Even after all these measures, some sellers fleece customers. If you use gold as an investment, opt for digital gold to avoid hassles of checking the purity of the yellow metal. Digital gold is backed by physical gold of the same quantity and can be bought easily from Finserv MARKETS, a user-friendly portal for all financial products.
Nitric Acid Test
One of the easiest methods to check the purity of gold is through the nitric acid test. If you want to check the purity of gold makes a slight scratch and apply a drop of nitric acid. Pure gold doesn’t react with the acid and the colour will remain unchanged. Other metals will turn green on the application of the acid, while silver will leave a milky white substance. Please ensure that the scratch is made at a spot which is not visible, and also avoid testing expensive jewellery through the nitric acid test. Most importantly, use proper protection like gloves, goggles and ensure proper ventilation and handle the acid very carefully.
Heaviness and Magnetization tests
These are simple do it yourself tests but are not highly accurate. To test the yellow metal by its weight, drop it in a jug of water. Real gold is a heavy metal and will sink instantly, while electroplated gold may float in the water. Similarly, the magnetization test uses the physical properties of the precious metal to detect fake metal. If you place real gold near a magnet it will not be attracted by the magnet, but if it is a gold-plated item, with iron or nickel as the base metal it will react to the magnetic force. However, you will not be able to tell the exact quantity of gold through these tests as failing these tests does not mean that there is no gold in the item.
Various steps taken by the government over the years has curtailed the adulteration of gold to a large extent, but you should always be extra cautious while buying gold. High gold prices and the potential appreciation it offers often lure people into tampering with the purity of the metal. If you want to invest in gold or save it for the future, buying digital gold is a better option. The purity of the metal is assured and you have the freedom to get physical gold delivered whenever you need it. At Finserv MARKETS, you can buy digital gold in two simple steps without any hassles of testing the purity or negotiating with the jeweller.
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