How To Test Gold With Vinegar (7 Methods to test Gold At Home)

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Vinegar is an extremely common household substance that has multiple usages.
But what is vinegar? It’s basically a weak emulsion of acetic acid and water. When produced by big, business enterprises, it usually includes a double fermentation in which ethyl alcohol is made by fermenting sugars made from yeast.

Vinegar is mostly used in the kitchen for cooking purposes, added to basic salads, sauces like mayonnaise or ketchup, brines and marinades, etc. The acidity or the sourness present in vinegar illuminates the taste of food as well as a certain steadiness or balance to a flavourful dish. Not only that, but vinegar can also alter the texture and consistency of foods.

Apart from kitchen and cooking activities, vinegar can also be used for cleaning purposes due to its acidic nature. It can be used to clean out ovens and microwaves, help in removing oil stains and grease, helps to get out that scummy mold and deposits in the washroom, can be used to clean window blinds, stainless steel, carpets, and other various kinds of household items. It can even polish brass and copper as well as clean CD disks. 

An Unusual Application of Vinegar on Gold

Now all the above-mentioned implementations of vinegar are pretty mainstream uses which, if not every then at least most people are aware of. This article will confer with you an unusual and quirky way in which vinegar can be used, unlike the standard ways in which it is usually used. 

Were you ever informed that vinegar can also be used to test gold? It definitely can do it, and let us describe how the process is done. But first, a little about gold.

Introduction to Gold 

I am 100% sure gold needs no introduction. Everyone’s aware of it and everyone wants to buy it. But still, let me give you some brief history and explanation about gold and its properties. This will help in better understanding why vinegar can be used to test gold.

Along the way, it’ll also be explained how the whole operation works and how you can perform it sitting at your home. Why and how gold reacts to vinegar the way it does, what will be your part in the experiment, and how to decipher the outcome. 

Gold (Au) is the element of the periodic table having an atomic number of 79. It’s a transition metal from group 11, period 6, and one of nature’s higher atomic number elements. However, all those chemical properties aside, the real reason for its fame is its physical properties.

Gold is a highly prized material that has a very high monetary value to human beings. It used to be the standard for value, against which money was measured (the Gold Standard).

In history and still today, it was used as a high-value commodity for bartering and purchase, as well as being used to produce jewelry. It is very impervious against most materials ( except for aqua regia) and is relatively rare, which add more points to it

Karat (K or kt) or Carat (C or ct) is the measure of the standard by which the purity of gold can be tested, i.e. in any alloy, how much percentage of gold is there?

24K is the measure of pure gold ( it is regarded to be 100% pure, but considering complete and utter purity is not possible, it is, in reality, approx. 99.999%) whereas 14K is set to be the lowest purity ( 58% to 62.5%).

Vinegar and Gold Testing

As has been mentioned, gold is an extremely resistant element, and it is precisely this very property that lets you check if the gold in your possession is real or fake. 

There are a lot of cheats and frauds out there who just tag gold-plated items as real gold and pass off forgeries for the real price. Although most of the time, the fabricated items are first-rate and might not be detected as forgeries immediately.

However, there are quite a few tests that can be performed at home to check if the gold is fake or not. One of them is using vinegar.

One of the simplest ways to test gold using vinegar is simply by dipping the gold into vinegar. The gold that you have kept at home, take it out and place it into the vinegar, then just wait and watch if the gold transforms.

Materials Needed:

You just need 4 easy to get materials to test gold with vinegar.

  1. A Cup
  2. Vinegar
  3. Water
  4. Piece of Cloth

Steps For Vinegar Gold Testing: 

  1. Rub your gold item with a piece of cloth to wipe away every and any trace of dirt and/or dirt. The gold needs to be clean to a fault as well as dry.|
  2. Transfer some vinegar into a cup and then dunk your piece of gold in it such that it’s completely submerged.
  3. Let the gold rest in vinegar for a minimum of 15 minutes. Let it do its thing.
  4. Take the gold out and wash it completely with water and pat it dry.

If the gold does not show any kind of color disfiguration and stays the same then congratulations, your gold is real. Otherwise, I’m sorry for your loss it’s a fake.

This vinegar experiment is one of the many experiments you can perform at the ease of your own home to see if the gold in your possession is real or fake. It’s extremely simple and won’t take up much of your time, just 20 minutes at the maximum. 


A small word of caution: This vinegar test should not be concluded with white gold due to the fact that its composition is slightly different from that of yellow gold. White gold contains an amalgam of other metals apart from just the gold. 

Why does the Vinegar Test work?

Gold has been mentioned as an extremely resistant element, due to which it will not wear away or show any response when it is introduced to the acid present inside vinegar (acetic acid). When compared materials that are not gold are not so resistant and wear down easily, which allows us to spot the fake gold very easily.

Hence, in a nutshell, if your gold keeps its color, you have the real thing. However, if any kind of discoloration pops us then, unfortunately, you’ve been duped and you do not have the real thing.
When the discoloration happens, keep an eye out for black or green, because fake gold is most likely is to turn into these when introduced to vinegar.

What kind of Vinegar can be used for testing?

After finding out how you can test gold with vinegar, you might wonder what type of vinegar can be used for this little experiment. In theory, most types of vinegar can be used, with the exception of those that have low acidity levels.

Regular white vinegar works best as its acidity level is at about 5% to 6% which makes it extremely strong. 

Apple cider vinegar can also be used but as it is not as commonly available and not so widely used for household purposes, it cannot be settled if it might work properly or not.

Is the Vinegar Test Safe and Secure? Will the Gold be damaged by it?

To answer the question, yes if you believe your possession is real gold then you have nothing to worry about. However, if it’s a dupe or a forgery then you should be prepared for the repercussions. 

Real gold as has been mentioned a lot of times is extremely resilient and the acetic acid of the vinegar can do no harm to it. In fact, vinegar is oftentimes used in the cleaning of actual gold due to the fact that it adds an additional small sparkle to it by removing all the apparent impurities.

Is the Vinegar Test reliable?

If you’re wondering about the authenticity of the vinegar test, then rest assured, the test is quite established and proven.

There might be a small off chance that it is a very excellent kind of counterfeit or imitation, in the case of which you might need to refer with a specialist. But, the majority of the standard dupes are not going to be able to pass the test.

Tests to check the authenticity of Gold?

While using vinegar is by far the easiest and most reliable method of checking whether the gold is fake or real, there are some other tests that can be used for this purpose as well, without the involvement of vinegar.

We are going to present to you an array of tests that you might perform at home if in case you run out of vinegar or just don’t want to use vinegar at all.

6 Easy Methods To Test Gold ( Check If Gold is real?)

Finally, we’ll show you some alternative techniques that you can use at home to check if gold is real or fake.

1. Test Gold by Discoloration 

Like the metal, gold’s color also happened to be exceedingly resilient and will not wane and wear away when it is introduced to various atmospheric influences. If there are any indications of any kind of fading or discoloration, make sure it’s not just a blemish or a mark. If there is actual discoloration, then your ‘gold’ is not real.

2. Test Gold by the presence of Stamp

There’s always a stamp on real gold somewhere that certifies its purity. The stamp has a series of numbers that shows the gold’s purity and might also hold some knowledge about the manufacturer. If there is no stamp or the stamp has no numbers, chances are the gold is most likely fake. 

A magnifying glass or something of the sort would be needed to read the stamps.

3. Test Gold with Nitric Acid

The science behind this test works similar to the vinegar test, however nitric acid is used here instead of vinegar (acetic acid).

  1. Scratch a little bit of the surface of the gold article.
  2. Pour a generous amount of nitric acid onto it.
  3. If the scratch transforms colour and becomes green, or if it disappears, then the gold might be a fake. There’s also a possibility here that it is real gold but of low quality. 

If the scratch transforms color and becomes white, then it is still not real gold. The item is just gold-plated.

On the other hand, if nothing happens, congratulations, your gold is real and most definitely not fake.

4. Test Gold with a Magnet

This test is very basic but keeps in mind it’s not always dependable.

If the ‘gold’ item you have in possession is magnetic, then it is in all likelihood fake or it contains a good amount of non-gold metals.

If your gold is not magnetic, it might still be a dupe as most forgeries are made with non-magnetic material so that they may avoid this test.

5. Test Gold with Ceramic

This test is an interesting one, but to perform it you will need a ceramic surface. Drag your piece of gold over the surface. If the marks are black, the ‘gold’ is fake, however, if the marks turn out to be golden, then you are the owner of real gold. 

Although, please do be careful, you might end up causing damage to the ceramic surface.

6. Test Gold with Human Skin

This test is the easiest and least expensive of all tests, you don’t even need anything but yourself for it. 

If a piece of ‘gold’ comes into contact with skin that has sweat on it, it changes color exposing its duplicity. Real gold however does not react in any way whatsoever with human skin.

To conclude, we’ve taught you how to check the authenticity of your gold using just vinegar, the whys and the hows all the science behind it. Not only that, but we also provided you with a list of various tests you might be able to perform in the safety of your own home.