Is gold magnetic: check for authenticity, alloys that attract and repel the magnet

For centuries. gold attracts its value, its unique characteristics. An important property precious metal is considered to be the absence of reactions on the magnetic field. But sometimes one hears about the effect of a magnet on gold and jewelry can be magnetized. We will tell you how and why it is possible below. 

The concept of a magnetic field and the degree of magnetism

The magnetic field is the matter that exists around moving electric charges-currents. They attract bodies conducting electric current or repel electrically neutral conductors. Almost every natural body has magnetic properties. The force affects the electric charge in the composition of simple particles.

Therefore, most of the substances on the planet feel the attraction, and individual matter is capable of radiating it. 

According to the degree of magnetism, materials are divided into the following groups:

  • ferromagnetics: the metal of this group is not only magnetic, but it also retains its magnetism and independently magnetizes other materials.
  • Paramagnetics: exhibit a weak response to a magnet, their low level of electrons in their composition allows the magnetism to be recorded only with a special measuring device. Aluminum, oxygen and platinum are considered to be such materials.
  • Diamagnetics: are able not only to ignore the magnetic field, but also to repel it. Water, gold, copper, silver, and carbon have negative susceptibility. 
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The concept of a magnetic field and the degree of magnetism
Gold jewelry on a magnet

The magnetism of pure gold and the reasons for the reaction of jewelry to a magnet. Magnetically resistant ligatures in jewelry alloys

Pure Gold имеет 999 пробу, это значит, что на 1 кг металла приходится только 1 г примесей. Такой сплав не способен притягиваться магнитным полем.  Даже при использовании alloys Quality gold should not react, but instead can repel.

The alloys of high-quality metals are always used to make jewelry, ensuring the strength and hardness of the alloy. Therefore, whether gold is magnetic or not depends on the components of the composition.

375 are considered popular, 585 and 750 proof, which contain 37.5%, 58.5%, and 75% of pure noble metal, respectively. The remaining mass may consist of silver, palladium, copper, or other ligatures. Однако бывают ситуации, когда даже качественное изделие притягивается магнитом.  Почему это происходит:

  • The presence of nickel and cadmium alloy: used only by some countries in the manufacture of thick stamped chains;
  • quality gilding jewelry: there are methods of creating gilding jewelry, which can only be recognized by an expert. 
Magnetic-resistant ligatures in jewelry alloys
Search magnet for gold

What metals can cause gold jewelry to become magnetized

The following natural metals are known to react to a magnet:

  • gadolinium;
  • iron;
  • cobalt;
  • nickel;
  • steel.

Their alloys can be magnetized accordingly. Aluminum and copper can react weakly.  

Popular gold alloy fakes - test with a magnet

Magnetic properties of gold in jewelry jewelry depend on the composition of the ligature. The presence of ferromagnetics and paramagnetics in the alloy will cause the metal to react to the magnetic field. However, for most items, metal alloys with negative susceptibility are used. It is these properties that make high grade and quality items stand out.

Ideally with gold testing should not stick to the magnet. If, however, the opposite reaction is observed and the metal is attracted, you should think about its authenticity. 

Most likely, such jewelry is a quality imitation of a precious metal with a lot of magnetic copper, steel, iron, or cobalt. Pure gold in such jewelry may not be present at all.  

Gold alloy fakes - test with a magnet
Fake gold jewelry

The most common fake alloys are as follows:

  • aluminum bronze - contains 90% copper and 10% aluminum;
  • barto is a bronze alloy consisting half of tin;
  • Goldin - can consist of alloys in different ratios of aluminum and copper;
  • Platinor - most of the composition is copper with small admixtures of zinc, silver or platinum.

The price of such jewelry is often equal to that of high-grade metal. If the piece does not pass the magnetic test, you should contact jewelers to authenticate it using professional methods.

Question and answer section

I was given a set of jewelry, I checked with a magnet, and they attract. What do I do? How else can I check if it's gold or not?

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
As a rule, if an original ring, bracelet or other gold item attracts a magnet, this indicates the presence in the alloy of components with high susceptibility to the magnetic field. It is important to remember that home inspection methods cannot guarantee the originality of the metal.
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If the items have all the appropriate markings and hallmarks, this kind of test may also indicate counterfeiting. In such situations, the only proper solution is an additional authenticity test by a jeweler who will unmistakably identify gilding and counterfeiting.

Attracting gold to a magnet
Gold ring on magnet

Can I go shopping for earrings in a store with a magnet?

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
Some customers are used to checking expensive jewelry with a magnet before buying it. In some situations, such a check helps to identify imitation, but can not testify to the authenticity.  

Most bona fide manufacturers do not forbid such methods of verification to their customers. But we should not forget that a fake can be made of alloys that do not respond to a magnet. And the presence of the branding, the trial does not make the product authentic.

What is the best device to start looking for gold in the sand?

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
You can decide on a search device if you know what you need it for. For amateur searches, you can use neodymium magnets, which are able to attract metals lying shallow from the surface.

If you consider the search for gold as a hobby that brings profit, it is better to buy a special metal detector. There are models with different parameters, options, and price category. Such devices are capable of finding gold in sand, soil or water at great depths.

Search for Gold
Finding gold on the beach in the sand

What should I do if my purchased gold item is very magnetic?

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
If the purchased gold is magnetic, you need to establish the authenticity of the product. A master will be able to determine the fake as quickly as possible, thanks to the use of special equipment and reagents.

Video: checking gold at home

Magnets for metal search: design, types and principle of operation

There are devices whose operating principle is based on the properties of metals to accumulate a magnetic field. Such search magnets different the simplicity of design. It is based on the rare metal neodymium, which is placed in a metal frame. The device can have a design depending on the area of use:

  • rod - a device that facilitates searching in hard-to-reach areas, in small crevices, where even a hand cannot reach;
  • trawls - a deep-water device for effective bottom exploration;
  • single-sided device - its purpose is to lift objects with the help of an emitted magnetic field, provides only one working area;
  • double-sided device - used for universal work.

A neodymium magnet has a magnetic force that attracts different metals.

The generated field is ten times stronger than a similar search equipmentbut depends on the size and power of the device. Can be used on land, under water.

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To begin searches it is enough to attach the device and place it in places where metals are suspected to be located. The emitted field will be able to attract them, so that the metal can be lifted up.

Metal detectors for gold water
Metal detector to search for gold

Is it possible to find gold with a magnet

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
High-quality gold and a magnet should repel each other. If the item managed to magnetize - it is a fake, which includes iron, cobalt or other metals. To search for gold objects, it is better to use special equipment that detects gold metal.

What search instrument should be used to search for non-ferrous metals

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
The best metal detection device is a metal detector. The device detects material over long distances and emits a sound, notifying you of its location. The device is based on radio waves that bounce off the surface as they interact with the metal.
Metal detector for gold beach

Jeweler's opinion

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
You can tell if gold is magnetic by knowing the composition of the ligature. Slight amounts of cadmium or nickel can cause gold items to react with attraction. But such a reaction is most common in thick chains, which require additional hardness and wear resistance. Also, do not forget that there is a metal that looks like gold, but has no value. Copper is often used for imitation. Weak magnetic properties allow unscrupulous manufacturers to pass off the metal as the original. Therefore, any attracted material should be checked for authenticity to 100% be sure of the originality of expensive items.
The author of the article
Raisa Koshman
A chemical technologist by training. She is engaged in manufacturing silver and gold jewelry in her home workshop. She has the 4th category of jeweler.
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