How to Tell if the Gold and Silver You’re About to Buy is Fake

Posted on April 1, 2015 @ 11:49 AM EST

It’s not easy trying to tell the difference between real or fake gold and silverBuying gold and silver is very much like the art of picking fruit. You’ve probably rolled your eyes at people who scrutinize every spot and blemish found on an apple, banana, or pear. However, you have to admit that they’re probably the ones who recognize that quality is something you really have to search for. Likewise, not all the precious metals you see out there are quality material; in fact, much of it is fake. That’s why you need some expert advice when buying gold and silver for the first time. Doing so can save you from a ton of frustration.

All Shine, No Substance

We live in a world where discerning the phony from the authentic is getting increasingly difficult. And for that very reason, it’s more challenging to tell the difference between real and fake metals. There’s a world out there full of people who want to exploit others, by means of selling them phony materials. Unfortunately, among the heaps of fake clothing, insurance policies, and electronics, pseudo-precious metals in various forms have found a permanent resting place in the world.

Unlike some of the other items mentioned, however, gold and silver have intrinsic value that cultures all over the world appreciate. A piece of branded clothing, although fake, may turn into an object of laughter for some. For those seeking an insurance policy, they’ll generally look in the direction of a trusted company. And most people know exactly what they’re buying when it comes to electronics – it’s fairly obvious if a gadget originates from a particular manufacturer or not.

However, precious metals are little trickier. There are many vendors out there who sell gold and silver items that aren’t made of these metals at all. These criminals understand that their customers can’t easily distinguish the differences between real metals and the phony ones. It’s a side effect of inexperience. To make matters worse, the vendors of fake gold and silver often use wit and charm to “upsell” their products to unsuspecting customers. You could be among them if you’re not careful.

With that said, you need to have a basic understanding of precious metals and their qualities to save yourself from getting duped. The good news is that there are plenty of markers for you to see, so that you don’t inadvertently buy fake metals.

Warning Signs You Need to Look Away

When it comes to gold and silver, you want to avoid the fakes as if they were a disease. Fortunately, there are plenty of warning signs for you to take note of in your fight to steer clear of unauthentic metals. It’s important for you to pay close attention to them since they may go unnoticed.

Do a Double Take

Looking for physical faults can be tricky. What do you look for? How do you look for it? You might ask yourself these questions if you’ve never had to do so before, but there are a series of steps to take when looking at the item itself. You can do the visual tests listed below at the point of purchase.

Sharpening Your Eye

  • Pay Attention to Dimensions – When dealing with coins, it’s essential for you to double check their dimensions. This is something you can check in person. A Silver Eagle coin, for example, may have a diameter of 40.6mm (1.598 in), with a thickness of 2.98mm (.1193 in). If you were standing in front of a vendor, having such knowledge (and a ruler in hand!) would be beneficial since you could see for yourself how authentic the item really is.
  • How glossy is it? – Both gold and silver items – ones that are authentic – have a certain look to them. If they’re too shiny or too cloudy, then they could very well be fake. To make this test more effective, it’s good to use jewelry, coins, or bullion proven to be authentic as a reference. Compare it to the item you plan on buying. Striking differences are strong indicators that you are about to buy fake gold or silver, and need to look elsewhere.

Learn About the Vendor Beforehand

One of the first things you should do when considering a vendor, is to learn all you can about them in the first place. It’s vital to do so, especially when you know little about the individuals who are selling these items. Are they travelling along with a fair or carnival? Are they an established brand or recognized company? Keep your guard up if they are relatively unknown or mysterious. If possible, research your intended vendor to the fullest degree. You never know what you’ll encounter by doing a little detective work first.

Start Digging

  • Go OnlineIf possible, try to research a vendor before buying from themIf the vendor is a permanent seller, it’s important for you to do a thorough background check before buying anything from them. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to start, and more importantly, an accurate source to rely on. There are also reviews. Remember, people are typically blunt and honest about their experiences, and you can usually trust their word if they say a vendor is legitimate or not.
  • Drill them with questions – You might read this line of advice and ask, “what’s the point?”The vendor could lie to you. However, an answer is not the only thing you have to try to discern. Just hearing their tone and attitude can give you an impression of the people you’re dealing with. If they make you uneasy, then you probably want to stay away from them.

Listen to Your Gut

Trust your gut when buying gold or silver. A bad feeling isn’t something to ignoreWhen decision time arrives, you need to rely on that internal compass of yours – your gut instinct. It’s amazing how powerful your instinct can be. You can probably remember times when you trusted your gut and things worked out for you. On the flip side, you can probably remember times when you ignored a gut reaction, and missed out on something or faced some consequence. Likewise, it’s in your best interest to listen to your gut when buying gold and silver. A bad feeling could very well serve as a warning sign that the vendor you are about to buy from isn’t trustworthy.

Don’t Fall For It!

There’s no question that we’re living in an increasingly manipulative and deceptive world, where criminals make every effort to dupe us. It’s no different when it comes to precious metals. They’ll use their superficial speech to sell jewelry and coins that look so real, you won’t notice any difference if you aren’t careful. That’s why it’s essential for you to learn the subtleties for yourself if you plan on buying gold and silver in the near future. The ability to discern the phony items from the authentic ones will ensure that your money goes to the right people. In turn, you won’t have to sit and stare at a fake purchase in frustration or anguish.

Need more info on how to buy gold and silver items? Get in touch with us so we can help you out!