Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Gold authentication

  1. #1
    Skirnir
    Guest

    Gold authentication

    As the gold price increases, greater efforts will be required by the wise hoarder to make sure he holds gold and silver, as opposed to something of nominal value. If this does not persuade you, I do not know what will:

    http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/en/alloy11.htm

    Tungsten has a density within one-quarter of one percent of gold.

    To counter this, I am using the scale and Mitutoyo callipers that are accurate to 0.01 millimetre. - http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/4020/mitutoyo.jpg

    Does anyone routinely take additional steps? Any experience with fakes?


  2. #2
    Unobtanium gunDriller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    10,594
    Thanks
    4,336
    Thanked 1,606 Times in 1,108 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication

    Quote Originally Posted by Skirnir
    As the gold price increases, greater efforts will be required by the wise hoarder to make sure he holds gold and silver, as opposed to something of nominal value. If this does not persuade you, I do not know what will:

    http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/en/alloy11.htm

    Tungsten has a density within one-quarter of one percent of gold.

    To counter this, I am using the scale and Mitutoyo callipers that are accurate to 0.01 millimetre. - http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/4020/mitutoyo.jpg

    Does anyone routinely take additional steps? Any experience with fakes?
    well, i was going to say, "oh, yeah, i was going to buy a Salter Brecknell PB-500" to help with this, but it may not catch it by weight.

    i think gold and tungsten 'ring' at different frequencies so if you had a good microphone and a good digital storage scope, that allows waveforms from single events (as opposed to a sine wave) to be captured & saved ... my guess is, you would see 2 different waveforms.

    kind of complicated. i looked up "HP audio analyzer", but those are more for a continuous tone like if you're measuring a stereo amplifier.


    maybe it's not that complicated and there's an obvious difference in ring tone between a gold coin and the tungsten copy.
    i smell bagels.

  3. #3
    Platinum
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,088
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Gold authentication

    Put your fingertip on one side of a coin and an ice cube (or a fire) on the other side. Gold or silver will transmit the change in temperature almost immediately, a fake coin will take noticeably longer. For tungsten it would be almost twice as long.

  4. #4
    Electrum
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    229
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication

    They may cost a tad more but its why I enjoy the peace of mind these bring with their assay cards.



    Not to mention The Lady Fortuna is a real beauty.

    -Ironfield

  5. #5
    Skirnir
    Guest

    Re: Gold authentication

    Assay cards on bars are the low-hanging fruit, but they can be faked. On shanzhai (山寨, fake) products, my friends tell me the easiest part to fake is the tag (even including hologram), and I suspect that is the case for assay cards too.

    That said, I got a response from our tungsten-mongering friend in Fujian and he referred me to this article:

    http://www.ctia.com.cn/TungstenNews/2009/22285.html

    I noticed mention of electronic testers. Anyone had luck with those?

  6. #6
    Great Value Carrots iOWNme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Wise and Prepared
    Posts
    4,266
    Thanks
    1,636
    Thanked 2,023 Times in 904 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication

    Hey guys i am a newbie to this so bare with me...

    Is measuring for thickness and weight all it takes to verify if it is real? (Using the known basics of gold) Isnt there some type of electrical conducting method of some sort?

    Thanks again,
    Yes i have a DL. Yes i have a SS card. BOTH were issued to me under FRAUD. Does this legitimize or illegitimize the 'Government'?
    No, Im not an Atheist. Yes, i am an Anarchist.

  7. #7
    Silver
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    70
    Thanks
    9
    Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication


  8. #8
    Platinum
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,146
    Thanks
    337
    Thanked 324 Times in 178 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication

    If a counterfeiter has the ability to form tungtsen, plate it with gold and make the design look like the original, then making a fake COA is no big deal.
    I'm not saying forget what you lost.
    I suppose there's a purpose in pain.
    What we make of ourselves has a cost,
    and it's paid every time we take hold of the reins.

  9. #9
    Skirnir
    Guest

    Re: Gold authentication

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugginator
    Any idea what the Quickshot XRF tester costs? Also, have you used any of these gold testers yourself, and would you recommend them?

  10. #10
    Silver
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    70
    Thanks
    9
    Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Gold authentication

    Here is some more information on testing or assaying. From here: http://www.utilisegold.com/jewellery...logy/assaying/
    Assaying and Hallmarking
    Measuring the Gold Content (Fineness) of Jewellery.

    There are a number of methods for measuring the gold content - or ‘fineness’ - of carat gold jewellery. Measuring the gold content is known as assaying and many of the most commonly used methods are described in a recent World Gold Council technical publication ‘The Assaying and Refining of Gold - a guide for the gold jewellery producer’. This is available from your local World Gold Council office or direct from WGC, London al Publications). A more detailed technical review of gold assaying techniques has been published in the WGC technical journal, Gold Technology, issue no. 22, July 1997. A more recent overview is to be found in Gold Technology, issue no. 32, Summer 2001.

    Which method of measurement is selected depends on the accuracy of measurement needed and the speed and ease of measurement. The cost of the equipment (instrument) will also influence the decision.
    Fire Assay

    The most accurate method, with an accuracy of 2-3 parts per ten thousand (0.02%), is the Fire Assay (Cupellation) method. This involves taking a small scraping from the article, typically about 250 milligrammes, weighing it accurately, wrapping it in lead foil with some added silver, cupelling it in in a furnace at about 1100°C to remove all base metals and then placing the resulting gold-silver alloy button in nitric acid to dissolve out the silver (known as ‘parting’) and re-weighing the resulting pure gold. This is the standard reference technique used by the national Assay laboratories worldwide for Hallmarking and is covered in the International Standard, ISO 11426:1993. A good description of the process is given in an article in Gold Technology, No 3, January 1991.

    A simplification of this technique involves omitting the initial cupellation stage and just melting the sample with added silver and/or copper, rolling to a thin sheet and then dissolving out the silver and base metals with nitric acid. This is satisfactory only when there are no other impurities present, but will be less accurate.
    Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometry

    Fire Assay is closely followed for accuracy by Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectrometry, which involves taking a smaller sample of about 20 milligrammes, dissolving in acid and subjecting a sample to analysis in an ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) Spectrometer - an expensive instrument. This technique has an accuracy of 1 part per thousand but requires use of comparative standard reference alloy samples of known composition. This technique is accepted for Hallmarking purposes and has the advantage in that it also measures the other alloying constituents.
    X-ray fluorescence

    X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive technique that is suitable for normal assaying requirements such as in-house quality control in manufacturing or for ‘certifying’ gold content in retail outlets. It has an accuracy of, typically, 2-5 parts per thousand under good conditions, i.e. where the surface of the jewellery being measured is relatively flat and sufficiently large. On curved surfaces, the gold X-rays generated and measured are scattered and accuracy is reduced significantly. It is a quick technique, an assay taking about 3 minutes, and the results can be automatically printed out by the computer. It also measures the content of the other alloying metals present. However, it only measures the gold content of a thin surface layer, so accuracy is severely compromised where the jewellery article has had a chemical surface treatment (to enhance colour) or has been electroplated with a layer of pure gold.

    The more accurate XRF instruments measure the intensity of the generated gold X-rays by wavelength dispersion analysis. The use of energy dispersive analysers results in cheaper instruments but reduced accuracy. Reference alloy standards, of known composition close to that of the test piece, are needed if accuracy is required in XRF testing.

    There are several instruments appearing on the market developed specifically for gold jewellery assaying, such as the X-tester, and these are more reasonably priced. A major retailer in India has equipped each of their stores with such instruments. The gold content of each piece of jewellery is measured as it is sold, printing off a Certificate, thereby guaranteeing caratage conformance and providing consumer confidence in a country where national Hallmarking regulations do not exist.
    Touchstone testing

    Touchstone testing is an ancient method for measuring gold content whereby a rubbing of the jewellery is made on a special touchstone alongside rubbings of known reference samples and treated with acids. The colour of the reacted area is compared to that of the reference sample. It is not sufficiently accurate (about 15 parts per thousand at best) and is only useful as a sorting test to differentiate between different caratages. It is less accurate at high caratages and with white golds. A more detailed description of the technique can also be found in Gold Technology, No 3, January 1991.






    Other Methods

    The Electronic Gold Tester (or the so-called Gold Pen) is a cheap, although portable technique based on the capacitance decay principle. Accuracy is poor, being correct to only 1-2 carats (4-8%) and is compromised if the surface is gold-plated, for example. It is useful only as a sorting test.

    The density of carat golds reduces as caratage is lowered and this gives rise to density measurement as a possible method of measuring gold content, using Archimedes principle. However, density is also influenced by the other alloying constituents and so the accuracy of the method is poor. Jewellery containing defects such as porosity would further reduce the accuracy of density measurement. It is not recommended.
    Summary

    For high accuracy, consistent with marking/Hallmarking regulations, only Fire Assay and ICP Spectrometry are sufficient. These techniques involve taking a physical sample (a scraping) from the jewellery item.

    For good accuracy, X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis is suitable. Accuracy depends on the shape (geometry) of the item; it is best on flat surfaces. This technique is suitable for quality control in production and for certifying caratage conformance in a retail environment. It is a quick technique (3-4 mins) and does not require technical expertise to operate. Results are automatically displayed/printed out by the computer control. Suitable bench-top instruments developed specifically for jewellery use are available on the market. Reference standards are necessary.

    For sorting jewellery into different caratages, then the touchstone and electronic gold pens are suitable cheap, quick techniques.

    A summary of the techniques is given in the following table:

    Comparison of Assaying Techniques
    Technique

    Versatility

    Sample size

    Accuracy

    Limitations

    Equipment Cost
    Fire Assay

    Only gold

    ~ 250 mg

    0.02%

    Modifications for
    Ni and Pd

    Moderate $50,000
    ICP

    Complete analysis

    ~20 mg

    0.1%

    -

    High
    $150,000
    XRF

    Complete analysis

    Non-destructive

    0.1 - 0.5%

    Surface layer, flat samples

    Moderate $25,000+
    Touchstone

    Only gold

    Almost non-destructive

    1-2%

    Unsuitable for
    high carat and white golds


    Low
    $100
    Electronic Pen

    Only gold

    Non- destructive

    4-8%

    Not consistent

    Low
    $200
    Density

    Only gold

    Non-destructive

    Poor

    Only for binary alloys

    Low
    $500


    Marking of jewellery

    Most people refer to the ‘hallmark’ on their jewellery, but this term is often loosely used. It is important to differentiate between a ‘Mark’ and a ‘Hallmark’. They have different levels of guarantee of the caratage! A Hallmark is applied only by an independent third party, typically an Assay Office, after the item has been assayed for gold content.

    It is also important to recognise that, in many countries, the caratages of jewellery allowed to be sold is fixed by law. For example, one can sell 9, 14, 18 and 22 carat gold jewellery in the U.K, but not 12, 19 or 21 carat, which are allowed in other countries. For a list of these for different countries, see link at bottom of this page.
    Marking

    In most countries, national law requires gold jewellery to be marked with its caratage or fineness. This is done by physically stamping the jewellery with a punch, although laser engraving is also finding application (see article in Gold Technology, no 24, 1998). However, the caratage mark is no guarantee of gold content in some countries where there is no independent system of ‘Hallmarking’. In such countries, undercarating is not uncommon! The USA, for example, has laws that require jewellery, where marked, to be marked with both the caratage and the maker’s mark (for traceability) by the manufacturer or importer but they are not policed or enforced strongly. Hence undercarating is not uncommon at the lower end of the market.

    Marking of jewellery is usually done by the manufacturer without any independent check. Thus your caratage conformity is not guaranteed; you rely on the jeweller’s integrity. Unfortunately, undercarating of jewellery is not uncommon in some countries.
    Hallmarking

    In other countries, there is a legal requirement for all jewellery to be tested (assayed) by an independent third party (typically, an accredited Assay Office). If found to be within tolerance, then the Assay Office marks the jewellery with a number of marks including the caratage or fineness, the maker’s mark and the Assay Office mark. This is known as a Hallmark.

    Usually, the Assay Office guarantees its mark by law, so the consumer has legal redress against the Assay Office, if an item is subsequently found to be of substandard assay. This is a full guarantee of caratage conformance. A list of countries with independent Hallmarking systems is to be found in an article by R.W.E.Rushforth in Gold Technology, No. 27, November 1999 which discusses the various marking systems in use.
    What is marked?

    The marking of jewellery with its gold content varies from country to country. Some mark with the caratage, typically 18 or 18 ct (or 18K in USA and some other countries) and others mark with the fineness, e.g. 750 (e.g. in the U.K.). At 14 carat, the mark 14KP is found in the USA, the P indicating ‘plumb’ to differentiate between the US standard and the international standard for 14 carat.

    For a detailed summary of National gold jewellery caratages and marking requirements please click here (pdf 183kb)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •