How to Detect Fake Gold!
(Readers reply with more tips on how!)
Silver Stock Report
by Jason Hommel, October 21st, 2009
Paper silver is fake silver at the COMEX, as the sellers of paper silver don't have the silver they are selling, and are leveraged by a factor of 12, or more, assuming sellers own 100% of the silver available for delivery against paper contracts. (Silver on deposit may also be owned by longs who have not sold futures, and who therefore have no delivery obligations). Less than the 55 million oz. of silver on deposit, supposedly backs 659 million oz. in futures contracts.
Dear J Hommel:
Last week, in a friend's coin
shop, a Chinese made counterfeit US $20 gold coin was brought in. These
are difficult to detect and are usually copies of valuable numismatic
coins. The seller is known to us and stated that he believed it was a
counterfeit made to fool collectors. Coin World had an article about the
counterfeiting of valuable US coins in China this summer. Link to
The coin contained a full ounce of gold when
refined. (So it was a fake
Jason, I think, even though the specific gravity between gold and tungsten is so close, accurately weighing a bar and measuring its volume (by water displacement) should determine its true nature.
The difference determined this way would surely exceed the permissible volume variance of gold bars. Anyway, that wouldn't make any difference - as long as the accurate weight and the accurate volume can be determined, the accurate specific gravity will be arrived at.
Jason, You might also want to advise your readers to use a magnet to test anything that purports to be an 'old Chinese' silver coin. With a little experience one can also spot the fakes, as they are light, thin, and usually have very poor workmanship. But the magnet test is quick and simple.
Are you familiar with the hand-held Xray analyzer that can tell you exactly which metal you have.
They are over $30,000, but for an operation with significant volume, I certainly would have one. I have a friend that has one made by Oxford Instruments, and he wouldn't do business without it. They are also made by Innovex and others.
I wrote, (Very strong acids, such as cyanide, will dissolve gold.)
I was right and wrong. Very strong acids can dissolve gold. But the form of Cyanide used in gold mining is a base, not an acid, and is also used to "dissolve" gold.
There is a very strong acid that will dissolve gold, it's actually a combination of two strong acids. Nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, when mixed together they form was is called, "Aqua Regia", or "Royal Water", because they will dissolve gold.
I am a gold refinier. You stated:
(Very strong acids, such as cyanide, will dissolve gold.)
If sodium or potassium cyanide is accidentally mixed with an acid, it produces hydrogen cyanide, the deadly gas used in the gas chamber. Cyanide and acid are NOT two good words to have in the same sentence, in my opinion.
Jason, interesting article on gold and tungsten but a slight correction is needed. This sentence is not correct: "(Very strong acids, such as cyanide, will dissolve gold.)" Cyanide is not an acid but an anion; HCN is hydrocyanic acid and it is a very weak acid. Cyanidation occurs cyanide donates electron pairs to the gold to make a very stable, soluble complex. It does not dissolve gold the same way as an ordinary acid, such as hydrochloric acid, dissolves most metals.
You are correct that tungsten has almost the same exact density as gold which is why it would be hard to tell by regular methods such as specific gravity (or density). China produces most of the world's tungsten, so I suspect there is a connection there somewhere.
Enjoy your articles.