When Gold is not Gold!

When a customer makes an initial enquiry regarding selling gold prices they often state they are not sure if some of their items are gold or not! My typical reply is that if your jewellery contains no gold, silver or platinum, it is certainly made of something else, probably copper or a copper-based alloy i.e., an alloy being a mixture of metals.

Copper is a dull yellow metal which tones to dark brown with age and to an untrained eye possibly gold? If you add other metals to the copper you get the following alloys. Brass (copper and zinc), bronze (copper, zinc and tin), nickel-brass (copper, zinc, tin and nickel), or gun metal (copper, zinc, tin and lead). In most cases most of the alloy is copper.


Copper jump rings - Often mistaken for Gold!


Back and Front' (e.g. '9ct B&F') is found mostly on lockets. It means that back and the front of the locket are solid 9ct gold but the remainder, the rims, catches, frames, loop and jump ring are not gold. The standard and fairest way for me to purchase such items is to offer half the weight of the whole piece as it is difficult to separate the gold from non-gold without undertaking in this instance un-economical assay testing.


Back and Front locket - You can see the non-gold rim's inside the two halves


Rolled gold comprises a sandwich made of two very thin slices of gold a sheet of brass or steel in the middle. Gold Filled means the outside shell is gold and the 'filling' is not. Watch bracelets are marked 'RG' for Rolled Gold. Although the layer of gold is very thin, itis thicker than the heaviest plating and must be filed quite firmly before testing with acid but if you see it is marked RG you will be aware that it is not solid gold.


An example of the rolled gold process


Gold plate - Items can be plated with gold. 'Flash' electroplating is deposited using a container containing a gold solution. The method is known as plating because it's very thin quick layer, like a 'flash" - but it does tend to rub off 'in a flash' too, especially when worn as jewellery and rubs clothing or skin. Another plating process ('hard' plating) uses a vacuum process which is more durable, often guaranteed to last a few years.




Gold plating


When you are looking at selling your scrap gold we offer a free testing service and will return all items to a customer within 2 working days whether non-gold or whether it is decided not to sell actual gold itself.

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