Can it Be Done? How To Test Gold & Silver with a Magnet!

Since I have been anticipating a jewelry purchase recently, I wanted to make sure I was educated on how to tell real metals from the fakes. So, I did some very detailed internet research to find out if gold and silver can be tested with a magnet for authenticity, and you won’t believe the results that I came up with.

Can you test gold and silver with a magnet? Gold and silver can both be tested with a magnet by determining if each material will be attracted to the magnetic force. Since both metals are not supposed to be magnetic, you will be able to tell if they are fake based on the way they react to the magnet.

If you have ever considered making a large purchase on an authentic piece of gold or silver jewelry, you probably understand the anxious feeling that comes with not being sure if you are being sold a real product or if it might be mixed with other metals. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know in order to perform these simple tests.

Can You Test Gold And Silver With a Magnet?

Magnets are some of the most versatile objects tthat most of us will use in our every day lives, but most people would never think to use them for testing the authenticity of silver and gold objects.

Due to the fact that real gold and silver are not magnetic materials, the reaction to a magnetic field would be a clear giveaway that it was mixed with some other kind of metal.

How Gold And Silver Are Tested With Magnets:

  • Both materials not made of magnetic metal
  • Neither one should stick to magnet

The tests that we will be going over today involving magnets, gold, and silver, will be based on the concept that they are not supposed to stick to the magnet because the real elements would not react this way.

When it comes to purchasing rare jewelry that is advertised with these materials, it is very easy to fall into the trap of spending money on something that is watered down with less quality elements like iron or cobalt.

To avoid getting taken advantage of by someone who might think they can get one over on you in this aspect, read through the tips in this article and use them to your advantage before you make an expensive mistake.

How To Test Gold With a Magnet

The process of testing gold with a magnet is a very simple one with very straight forward results. With the use of a single magnet and a few minutes of your time, you will be able to walk away knowing whether your gold is real or fake.

What You Will Need:

  • A strong magnet
  • The gold in question
  • Metallic objects (ie. Paper clips, nails)

How To Test Gold With a Magnet:

  1. Acquire the materials that you need on a clean workspace
  2. Test your magnet with other metallic objects
  3. Place the gold in question on the surface in front of you
  4. Take the magnet in your hand and move it toward the gold
  5. Observe the reaction that is caused to determine the results

Once you have gathered all of your materials together and placed them onto a clean workspace, you should begin by testing your magnet with other metallic objects that you know will stick.

With the knowledge that most metal objects will be attracted to the magnet and real gold will not contain any of these substances, you will be able to get a concrete idea of what material you are working with.

So, before proceeding with testing the actual gold, you will want to use metallic objects such as paper clips or nails to confirm that your magnet is working properly. When you have done this and they are sticking to the magnet, you can go ahead with the test.

The entire test will consist of placing the gold that is in question on the surface in front of you and taking the magnet into your hand. The size of the gold will need to be equivalent to or smaller than the magnet for the most accurate test, because the magnet must be strong enough to pull the material.

With your hand, move the magnet close to the surface of the gold until it is almost touching. If the gold is attracted to the magnet and pulls toward it in any way, you will know that there are traces of other metals in the gold and it is not real.

Alternatively, if the gold does not move toward the magnet at all in reaction to it, you will be able to have more confidence that it really is pure gold.

How To Test Silver With a Magnet

What You Will Need:

  • Small magnet
  • The silver in question

How To Test Silver With a Magnet:

  1. Gather your materials together on a flat workspace
  2. Begin by placing the magnet on top of the silver coin or bar
  3. Observe the behavior of the magnet
  4. Perform an additional magnet slide test (for silver bars)
  5. Place magnet on top of the silver bar at a 45 degree angle
  6. Observe the way the magnet slides down the bar

In the event that you need to test the authenticity of silver with a magnet, you will want to use a small yet strong magnet. Ideally, you could use a Neodymium disc magnet or a similar bar magnet to carry out these tests.

Once you have gathered the needed materials and proceeded to your workspace, you can begin by placing the magnet on top of the silver that is in question, whether it is a coin or a bar. If the two materials stick, the silver is not real and is mixed with other metals.

To perform an additional test, which works best for bars of silver over any other form, you can place the magnet on top of the silver bar, while you are holding it in mid-air at an angle of 45 degrees.

Observe the way that the magnet slides down the bar. If it sticks and does not slide at all, this will be further confirmation that the silver you have purchased is not authentic. Additionally, if the magnet slides down very quickly before your eyes, it is also not real.

You will be able to come to the conclusion that your silver is more than likely authentic if the magnet slides down at a slow and steady pace.

Does The Magnet Test Always Work?

While it is true that the magnet test can be a helpful way to quickly eliminate a fake piece of jewelry in the event that it sticks, there are a few limitations to this theory.

When The Magnet Test Does Not Work:

  • Silver/gold mixed with stainless steel (non-magnetic)
  • Some real gold is mixed with iron on occasion

First of all, the metals that might be mixed into a fake piece of gold or silver might be non-magnetic materials to begin with. For instance, a gold watch that is combined with traces of stainless steel will be undetectable in the magnet test, because stainless steel itself will not stick to the magnet.

Additionally, some products that are made of real gold will be mixed with iron as well, which is a magnetic material. After failing the magnet test, you might disregard the contents of real gold in something that is combined with iron.

In conclusion, the magnet test method can be a convenient way to rule out an obviously fake piece of jewelry, but it should not be your only way of determining the authenticity of one of these materials due to the misconceptions that can arise from the results.

Related Questions

Can magnets be used to find studs in a wall?

If you are doing a DIY home improvement project, you can use any type of magnet you have on hand to locate wall studs before drilling.

What other kinds of objects can magnets find?

Magnets are actually used for an activity called magnet fishing, where a large magnet on a rope is thrown into water to fish out magnetic objects.