Top 10 ways to distinguish brass from gold at home: the properties of brass, radical and popular methods of testing precious metals

In recent years, there has been a tendency to reduce the volume of gold-bearing rock mining. But so far this does not affect the number of jewelry stores. One of the reasons for such a contradiction is the supply of jewelry with altered composition. In order not to run into an unscrupulous seller, you should know how to distinguish brass from gold in at home. This will help to avoid trouble, and at the same time check out the quality of the jewelry available at home. A variety of ways, allowing testing to be done.

There are also indirect signs indicating a discrepancy in the parameters of products made of noble and simple metal.

The properties of brass and how it differs from gold. How brass is disguised as a noble metal

At a cursory glance, gold and brass may appear to be made of the same metal. In fact, upon closer examination, the difference between the materials will be apparent. To do this, you need to pay attention to the main parameters, learn the composition, density, etc. Brass is an alloy of copper with zinc, several alloying components. Zinc is considered the main one. The metal is represented by types: two-component and multicomponent. Its physicochemical characteristics:

  • density - 8.5-8.7 kg/cm3;
  • the metal is not ferromagnetic (but there are exceptions when ferromagnetics are incorporated during production);
  • temperature at which the metal melts: 880-950°C;
  • The color is yellow with a golden hue;
  • high degree of plasticity;
  • raw metal is oxidized by contact with oxygen;
  • resistance to corrosion.
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Brass exhibits different properties, they are determined by the content of alloying components. This determines the type of products made of such metal. The main type of raw material for brass production is copper. In terms of strength, this metal is inferior to many: bronze, but not gold (the latter is softer).

Because of its properties, brass is used in the manufacture of decorative items.

Brass rings
Two brass rings

When comparing with gold, there are many differences. But you can learn about them only with a closer examination of the characteristics. Distinctions gold:

  • higher temperature at which the metal melts, and density;
  • bright luster: in comparison, brass is also lustrous, often muted, but this characteristic appears differently, depending on the composition.

There are many similarities between the metals, which explains the high risk of buying a fake, because brass is easy to disguise as gold, for this use tricks:

  • A certain number of components are used in the production process, thanks to which the finished product acquires external characteristics that make brass look like a noble metal;
  • applying a decorative coating, for which they use gilding techniqueThe brass is polished beforehand.

Top 10 ways to distinguish gold from brass at home

Consider different possibilities to determine what metal the item is made of:

  • perform an inspection: check the external characteristics (evaluate the appearance of the product, the sound upon impact, etc.);
  • use methods to determine whether it is brass or gold that is being considered;
  • use improvised means, thanks to which you can verify the correct choice.
Brass and gold ring
Brass and gold ring

Ways to check brass jewelry by eye and sound

Before buying, it is not always possible to test with chemicals or to use another method for determining the authenticity of a piece of gold. In this case, you should rely on circumstantial signs and some of the characteristics that are characteristic of the precious metal.

Branding and hallmark

Different types of techniques are used to mark jewelry:

  • The assay: put on the product, confirms that the metal belongs to a particular group (common variants for gold: 583, 585, 750), the shape is always rectangular;
  • Name plate - contains information about the manufacturer;
  • stigma jeweler or the imprint logo of the manufacturing plant.
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If you need to determine how distinguish between gold from brass, it is necessary to know how the stamping is performed. This type of branding is placed on certain areas of the items:

  • rings - inner surface;
  • earrings - clasp or stem (stud earrings);
  • bracelets, like earrings, are punched from the inside;
  • jewelry with an English lock - on one of the elements of the locking mechanism;
  • the clock - inside, on the lid.

In addition, the precious metal is stamped in a special way: the branding is clear, regular in shape, and the numbers are clearly visible. Fakes often lack these features.

In this case, the test is performed carelessly.

Branding and hallmark
Gold ring assay

The cost of jewelry

If the seller provided the real product and the appropriate price, you can see a huge difference between jewelry made of precious and non-precious metal. With the same exterior features, you can be guided by the price. If a seller is trying to pass off brass items as precious, set the same price with identical characteristics of both types of jewelry, the buyer has little chance to buy a quality item. You should also pay attention to circumstantial factors.

Throw an ornament on the glass

If dropped onto a glass surface or into a glass gold ring or earring makes a unique sound. It can only be compared to the ringing of crystal. Brass will sound different because of the properties of the components, the structure, and the density of the material. You can do a little experiment - throw a brass object on a glass display case. You should make this action look random so as not to arouse the suspicions of the store staff. By the sound you can determine to which metal the ring/earring belongs more.

Important: The method of determining the quality of jewelry by sound is only suitable for small items.

Tooth Check

The way was often used earlier, when the gold content of the products was higher. As a result, softer pieces were produced. They were tasted "on the teeth", and distinctive marks were left behind. Nowadays, our jewelry has a higher hardness. This is due to the presence of different alloys. Therefore, it is possible to dent precious metals, but there is no guarantee that it will work.

For this reason it is used as an auxiliary measure.

Reaction test with gold chloride

In the home, you can use a special agent - chlorine gold. But a bottle of small volume worth is quite expensive. So, it is advisable to purchase this remedy if you have to deal with precious metals frequently.

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Chlorine gold: determination of the gold assay
A special agent - chlorine gold

When the substance is applied to brass, the components react, resulting in a change in the appearance of the product. However, the precious metal behaves differently. If chlorine gold is applied to such jewelry, there will be no change in the appearance and properties of the item.

Product shades

Based on the hue, you can get only a remote idea of the properties of the metal, because the color of gold is always different: it varies from light yellow to rich, almost red. This depends on the composition--the type of components. But still there is always a bright luster on gold jewelry. This is not always the case with the brass ones. The combination of these two factors allows you to assess the quality of the item upon external examination.

Radical methods of checking at home

If there is no certainty whether the item you buy is really gold, it is suggested that you consider more sophisticated techniques. But not all of them are safe for the item being tested; there is a risk of spoiling the item. In addition, they are mostly used in the conditions of a production site or laboratory. You don't have the right equipment at home.

To distinguish between brass and gold, consider methods of remelting, exposure to corrosive environments, etc.

Teagle Method

They are used for melting of metal products. They are used for the purpose of combustion, weighing, homogenization, among others. Crucibles are represented by a variety of forms, made of refractory materials. Such containers are an integral part of laboratory equipment.

Crucible remelting produces liquid metal that is used to make other items.

In this case, the determining factor is the physical and chemical properties of the material, in particular the temperature at which the metal melts. This parameter is used to determine the type of product: gold has a higher index than brass.

Teagle Method
Gold melting crucibles

Trick with a needle

The method is used to determine the metal sample: it is necessary to draw stripes with needles of different samples (2 samples are enough), between them the assay stone is placed. Then acid is applied to these areas. Conducted with a passing paper, which contributes to a change in the color of the materials. In this way determine whether the sample belongs to one of the metals.

If the item is fake (made of brass), there will be no result or it will differ significantly from what is expected, which will confirm the assumption of a fake.

There is another method based on the use of a needle. It is used for fine gold. Lines are drawn on the assay stone using samples. They will be different colors: pale, brighter. This depends on the properties of particles of gold, other metal, left by the samples. According to their appearance, they are able to identify the type of metal. This method gives an opportunity to know the approximate content of the alloying components, as the color of the finished item depends on the composition.

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Nitric acid

A drop of nitric acid is applied to various items. If the metal does not change its appearance on contact, you can say that it is gold. Brass takes on a green hue after an acid application.

Nitric acid
Nitric acid (HNO3)

Testing tools at hand

For checks authenticity The reason for this is the use of improvised agents acting as reagents and catalysts. The reason is the use of improvised means, which act as reagents and catalysts.

Ceramic Tiles

It is necessary to find a sample of unglazed facing material. The secret is that when you run a gold piece over unglazed ceramics, it will leave a streak of the same color as the metal.

Experiment with foundation

The method is based on the reaction of the cosmetic with gold. It is necessary to first apply the foundation to the skin. Then the product that is in doubt is swept over that area. Gold leaves a gray streak under these conditions. Brass leaves no trace.

Iodine test

When liquid remedies are used, sometimes it takes some time for the reaction to develop. But in the end, it is possible to verify the authenticity of the purchased jewelry or, on the contrary, to wonder about its quality: gold turns brown after contact with with iodineThe appearance of the brass will not change.

How to test gold at home with iodine for authenticity 09 1
Iodine test

Checking with vinegar


  1. Prepare a container of neutral material: ceramic, plastic.
  2. Add vinegar, then observe the reaction. Gold will not interact with this substance, no stains will appear on the item, and the general signs will remain. In comparison, brass can darken.

Black bread

Gold is not subject to oxidation (in its pure form), but the modern metal most often contains a substantial proportion of alloying components, so there is no 100% guarantee of the reliability of this method. But you can study the theory: if you put the gold jewelry in the bread pulp, it will retain its original color, while the brass, on the contrary, can be severely damaged (dark spots will appear).

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Lapis pencil

The product is sold at the drugstore. It serves as a catalyst for reactions with the components in the metal. If you stroke it on a pre-moistened gold chain, nothing will happen, the metal will retain its original appearance.

Lapis pencil
Flapper pencil for checking gold

Magnetic reaction

The method is based on comparing products according to their magnetic properties. Brass is most often not a ferromagnet, but can acquire the desired properties if a component with characteristic properties is introduced into the composition.

Gold does not react at all to an external magnetic field.

Solar baths

Pay attention to the properties of metals under certain conditions. One way is by exposing brass and gold to sunlight. In the first case, the intensity of luster will be different - in the shade, the metal is less bright than in the sun.

Gold, on the other hand, behaves the same way regardless of the environmental conditions.

Archimedes' law

Take into account the weight of metal products. For example, gold is much heavier than brass. If you submerge the item in water, then, according to Archimedes' law, a force equal to the weight of the water that has been displaced will act on the body submerged in the liquid. When conducting such an experiment, it will be found out that gold sinks because of its weight, but brass does not. It is possible to perform simple calculations yourself and determine the mass of the product.

Video: how to distinguish gold from brass at home and in the salon

Useful applications of brass in electronics

Brass is not a noble metal, but it is a sought-after alloy. Parts of various mechanisms are made of it. Products that are made of brass:

  • instrument pipes;
  • foil;
  • sheets;
  • bushings;
  • wire;
  • rods;
  • tape, etc.

Brass is used in the assembly of radio components, and is also used in radio equipment manufacturing (hardware, gears, printed circuits). The material is sent for remelting, after which it can be reused.

Use of brass alloys in electronics

Jeweler's recommendations on how not to buy fakes

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
Ask a question
First of all, you should pay attention to the price. If it is low, then do not consider buying. When the cost remains the same regardless of the composition of the material, you can examine it, touch it. In most cases, carefully examine the properties of the product. Brass is lighter than gold, which is due to its low density.


I once bought a ring in a small store and it was sold to me as gold. I liked it, so I wasn't looking for a catch (the price was below average for such items). I wore it long enough, nothing was questionable. Even then, when I was given another ring, I felt the difference - the latter is heavier. I used to have mostly silver, so I didn't find out information about the composition of the gold. Later I took both items to a jeweler, and the verdict was unambiguous - I had bought a fake. Perhaps there was gold, but in small quantities.

Zemfira Pronina, Kazan
Elena Rimskaya, St. Petersburg

When I buy gold jewelry, I throw it on the counter (I don't force it, I do it casually). I can tell the difference between gold and brass by the sound. If you look closely, you can see the difference in color. I do not usually rely on this method, because it is unreliable. Brass alloy has a different composition, which causes the color to change. I have not studied samples of all sorts of such items. Only an expert can say for sure if this or that item is gold jewelry by its color alone. I have already found an effective way, and so far I am satisfied with the results.

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