Metal, according to the law, should be marked by the maker. For instance, the numbers 925 (92.5% silver that is sterling) or a stamp with the words ‘sterling’ should be marked for jewelry made of sterling. The mark can be either near the clasp or on a small flat looking ring at the end of a sterling chain, so, remember to check it.
On some people, sterling silver jewelry tarnishes very quickly due to body chemistry while on some it doesn’t. In order to control sterling silver from getting tarnished, it is plated with another metal for protection. This plating is done with a metal known as ‘rhodium’ which is bright and looks very similar to the color of silver. However, a chain could be made of sterling and still have plating on the outside for protecting it from getting tarnished.
Other than the mark, testing is another effective method of telling whether something is made out of sterling silver or not. For instance, an acid test done by jewelers is one such method. You will have to spend some money for getting these tests done. If the chain is not expensive, the test may not be worth, but it can be effective for a large heavy sterling chain.
The best way to avoid buying fake jewelry is to approach a well known jewelry shop. An established shop would never sell fake sterling jewelry but still it is recommended to look for a sterling mark and the manufacturer’s symbol on it. If the marks are not there, the metal is not genuine.
There are many people who perform the bleach test in order to know whether the gold on their bracelet or ring is real or not. But this test can be very dangerous because bleach has chlorine that can spoil your real gold jewelry. Points where the metal (gold) has been hammered bent over or made by chain making machines are most likely to be adversely affected due to chlorine.
Even soldered areas can be get spoiled. White gold tends to get spoilt very fast due to chlorine as compared to yellow gold. A darkening is caused on gold due to this chemical and yellow gold becomes almost pale gray color. White gold sometimes goes darker. This kind of reaction due to chlorine happens in karat gold.
Other metals are also included in jewelry metal of 10 karat, 14 karat and 18 karat during the metal making process. Mostly copper and silver is mixed with pure gold. White gold is usually mixed with palladium or nickel. This mixing is done in order to provide strength to the metal so that it can be used for making jewelry. The mark of karat shows the amount of pure gold present in the mix. For instance, 24 karat is knows as pure gold. 10 karat will be having 10 parts of pure gold and 14 parts will be other metals and this mix will add up to 24 parts. Similarly, 18 karat gold will have 18 parts of pure gold and other metals will be 6 parts.
In case yellow gold comes in contact with bleach, it does not get dangerously affected and with some buffing it can be made ok, but this can happen only with real gold, so always remember this point. You can get your gold jewelry tested in order to determine whether it is real or fake. Your jeweler can either perform an acid test or use any new electronic gold tester for this test.