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Scrap Gold Blog

Gold And Silver - Making Sure It’s The Real Deal

Published Thursday 1st April 2021

As buyers of precious metals for many years now, Scrap Gold UK are experts when it comes to authenticity. We know that it’s certainly a seller’s market, as gold prices are close to record highs, offering a reward for those with some scrap gold they wish to finally sell today.

However, we’re noticing a number of sellers mailing in significant amounts of ‘false’ gold or silver - items which appear to be pure but are actually cheaper alternatives. This short-changes sellers, so we’ll give you some facts to help inform whether your item is indeed genuine and able to attract a fair price.

Gold and silver never fade

One of the most common ways you might be short-changed into having false gold or silver is through vendors having previously offered you items which are in fact electroplated. This electrochemical process gives metallic items the appearance of having that distinctive gold or silver shimmer, but scratch below the surface, and you’ll find they used copper as a base metal.

That’s because electroplating applies a thin layer of gold or silver over the cheaper copper base, but this layer degrades over time. One way to spot for electroplated items is to see whether the thin layer has worn through. True gold and silver are renowned for being resistant to oxidation. You may find the odd scratch or dent, but gold and silver should never look faded or worn through.

The issue with electroplating is simple - while the item looks golden or silvery and lasts for a time, it isn’t true gold, and just a cheap alternative. This catches many a gold seller out, when the time comes, and can be a great disappointment, which is why we strongly suggest you check your item carefully before making a sale.

Check for a hallmark

If checking for any signs of tarnishing is easier said than done, here’s another way of assessing whether your item is truly genuine - hallmarks. Gold and silver items above certain weights are legally required to bear hallmarks. These allow people to see how pure they are, as well as allowing them to see the Assay Office and Sponsor Mark they were given.

Purity is best identified on gold items in the form of three-digit numbers, counting up to 999. If you should find a number such as 375, that denotes the item as having 9 Carat, or a purity of 37.5 per cent. Any higher, and you can expect your item to be worth more, thanks to higher purity.

To see what your item could be worth if you sell with Scrap Gold UK, simply feed its purity and its weight into our Scrap Gold Calculator, so you can find a fair value for it without having to send a single gram. If you’re ready to sell, it’s time to fill in the Seller’s Form.

If you still have questions, regarding the quality of your scrap gold or silver items, feel free to give us a call on 01902 828 400 and we’ll do our best to help with any enquiry you may have.

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