Whether you’re an avid precious metals investor or you’ve come into some of these valuable metals by chance, you’ve probably wondered how these materials are authenticated. With so many metal combinations, it’s difficult to determine the authenticity of a bar, coin, or piece of jewelry with the naked eye. That’s why precious metal consultants like Scottsdale Bullion & Coin (SBC) rely on sophisticated precious metals testing equipment to provide accurate readings.

Why testing gold and other precious metals at home isn’t enough.

Have you ever learned how to test gold at home? If not, check out our article about 5 Simple Ways to Spot Fake Gold. There are a variety of quick and semi-reliable tests to determine whether a coin, bar, or piece of jewelry is pure. Although these DIY tests are convenient, they have plenty of shortcomings.

First and foremost, these tests aren’t 100% accurate. When dealing with potentially valuable materials, accuracy is paramount. These at-home tests are only good for getting a rough idea of an item’s authenticity. It’s also important to note that these tests are only applicable to some types of metals. Before making any financial decisions, you should always seek the advice of a precious metals consultant for truly accurate tests.

How do you accurately authenticate precious metals?

Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium all have unique characteristics that act as reliable identifiers. When an investor or collector is unsure of a metal’s authenticity, it’s possible to test for these specific markers. At SBC, we use industry-leading gold and silver testing equipment to determine whether or not precious metal bars or coins that pass through our facility are real or fake.

For example, the Alpha Mirage is a water displacement machine that measures the mass of a precious metal. We also use a Sigma Metalytics sensor that analyzes a metal’s resistivity and density to determine its purity level. The gold and silver testing machine we use will be determined by the type of product being tested.

In the above video, Anthony Arenas and Travis Stratton of the Scottsdale Bullion & Coin team offer a deeper analysis of how these precious metal testing machines are used in our authentication process.