KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The recent dip in the price of gold sparked a “gold rush”, with buyers scrambling everywhere in search of the best deals.

Social media sites were littered with ads featuring online sales and offers on gold bars and jewellery, with prices to lure even the most reluctant of buyers.

Customers thronged jewellery stores, forming long queues as if they were lining up at a restaurant for a trendy meal that has recently gone viral.

However, buying gold is not like buying a meal. How sure are you that the gold you bought in a rush is authentic?

Habib Jewel gold expert, Aishah Che Man, says that the easiest way to ascertain authenticity is to look for the number engraved on it, such as 750, 916 or 999.

On rings, the inscription can be found inside it.

“For necklaces or bracelets, the number is usually stamped at the hook (clasp).

“For those in possession of old gold, there might not be any stamp on it. But you can bring it to a gold shop to undergo an acid test,” she tells Bernama.

Nitric and hydrochloric acids are used to determine the authenticity of gold by causing fakes to change colour.

“Is the 916-inscripted yellow gold authentic? Because when checked it turns out to be a yellow 750. One way to distinguish it is by scraping it against a black stone (touchstone) until a colour comes out and then to separately test it with a few drops of each acid.

“If it is 916 gold, the colour on the surface will remain yellow, but a 750 gold for example, will react to the acids by turning green,” said Aishah, who has nine years of experience in dealing with gold products.

For those looking to buy gold bars, a tip she shared to ensure authenticity is to make sure the certificate number on the bullion is the same as that on the certificate. She also recommends putting it through a density test to ensure the weight checks out.

“Today, we have people buying gold that are 1 gram (g), 5g or 20g in weight, but still wonder if they got what they paid for. A density test is the easiest way to find out.

“To accurately ascertain (the purity of) a gold bar, it is usually sent to ar-Rahnu for a density test as they have the equipment for it,” she added.

For Angsa Emas Jewellery director Normadora Mohd Nor, the best way to assess gold purity was to appoint a certified assayer.

A gold assayer is a person or company that performs chemical analysis on a gold product to determine its level of purity.

“Fire assay is the professional way to certify the quality of gold using certain equipment. It is conducted by industry-certified experts,” she said.

Once satisfied with the results, the assayer will sign a verification certificate of the gold’s authenticity.

A magnetic test can also be used to determine the authenticity of gold, but Normadora cautioned buyers against relying on this technique.

“The magnet method cannot be used on all gold jewellery as present models use spring coil support in their design, especially for bangles.

“Buyers also need to understand the difference between buying gold and buying jewellery,” she said.

Although there are many methods of identifying pure gold, the most important test for buyers is still patience and self-restraint. They must take the time to determine what it is they are actually paying for because after all, all that glitters is not necessarily gold. — Bernama