Storage Auction Tips: How to Tell if Gold is Real

stainless-878370_960_720If you've been in the business of buying and reselling property from storage auctions for long enough, you'll eventually encounter jewelry. Many tenants store their jewelry in these self-storage units, believing it's safer and more secure than storing at their own house. If the tenant fails to pay his or her rent for the unit, however, the facility may auction off the contents in an effort to recoup their lost revenue. But just because a ring or necklace looks valuable doesn't necessarily mean that it is. Some yellow-colored jewelry may actually be fake, in which case you'll have a difficult time turning it for a profit. So, how can you tell the difference between real and fake gold at storage auctions?

Check for Discoloration

One of the easiest ways to tell if gold is real is to look for discoloration. It's not uncommon for fake/faux gold jewelry -- and other fake gold items -- to contain noticeable discolorations, typically occurring around the edges. Closely inspect the item to see if there's a difference in color. If the item is primarily gold colored but contains tarnished, worn-looking edges, there's a good chance that it's fake.

Check for Markings

Of course, you can also distinguish genuine gold from fake gold by identifying its markings. Most jewelers and gold makers mark their products with its respective fineness or karat, such as 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K or 24K. This is done to indicate the concentration of gold used in its production. An 18K gold ring, for instance, contains other alloy metals in addition to gold. A 24K gold ring, on the other hand, is virtually pure gold (99.9%). Therefore, items with a higher karat marking are not only genuine, but they are also worth more than items with a lower karat marking.

Ceramic Test

A third tip to help determine if gold is real involves running it across a piece of ceramic. You can use a ceramic plate or dish, or you can purchase a special ceramic testing strip designed specifically for gold. Regardless, real gold leave behind a gold-colored streak on the ceramic. If it's fake, however, the streak will be black.

These are just a few ways to tell if gold is real. If you are still skeptical of whether or not a piece of jewelry or other item is genuine, take it to a local jewelry shop. Most jewelers will gladly inspect your item free of charge, giving their professional opinion on its authenticity.


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