How to Tell the Difference Between Brass Vs. Gold?

Indeed, all that glitters can be the same for those unaware of its difference. Telling the difference can sometimes be tricky but this is why it goes a long way to research. To the untrained eyes, brass vs gold color look closely similar and will rather find it difficult to tell the metal’s distinction. Indeed, how to tell the difference between gold and brass?

Brass vs gold
Brass vs gold

What is Gold?

Gold is backed by history as to how precious this metal can be. For centuries now, one of its primary uses has been for jewelry that signifies opulence and luxury. In fact, having gold is considered an investment asset. It has a very attractive yellow color that is worth a price for its resilience. Jewelry makers surely enjoy designing this type of metal as it can be shaped skillfully without breaking the metal.

How to Identify Real Gold?

Unfortunately, because this precious metal is highly profitable, many dishonest people have tried to combine it with inexpensive metals. They design and shape the material making it look like pure gold. It is for this reason that you must be knowledgeable about how to identify what real gold is. Let us run through a few know-hows below.

First of all, you need to check if what you have is new or old metal. To the naive eyes, every piece of gold jewelry looks exactly the same and only varying in color. With that said, we will delve deeper into these significant differences.

  • New gold 一 New gold designs are usually presented in the top luxurious jewelry exhibits. These are the gold pieces that are manufactured after going through the purifying and refining process of the raw metal.
  • Old gold 一 On the other hand, old gold jewelry pieces are usually recycled from old designs combined with war gold. Compared to new gold, the old one is rather cheaper. The reason is that old gold doesn’t need heavy production to be done. Now, there will be dishonest sellers that will deceive consumers and sell old gold that has a worth of new gold.
  • Fake Gold 一 Moreover, there is hardly a jewelry piece made from pure gold. This is because it is difficult to maintain the shape with just pure metal. With that, fake gold is usually a combination of pure gold and another metal.

On that note, below are a few basic tips on identifying real gold from a fake one. Learn these few notes so you can avoid purchasing fake products:

  • Cross Sectional area 一 This is rather simple. No matter how good a jeweller is at imitating, he can never color the entire surface. With that said, try to investigate the cross sectional area of a gold jewelry piece. You might discover that there are, indeed, irregularities indicating it is not pure gold. Take a closer look if there are variations of colors which are then a red flag.
  • Contrast Color 一 In addition to this, one easy way to distinguish real gold is through its contrasting color. Observe closely as fake gold has a golden color that is inconsistent throughout the jewelry piece.
  • Magnet Test 一 Lastly, pure gold is non-magnetic. From this fact, try exposing a gold jewelry piece to a magnet. This can be an effective way to determine if what you have is pure gold and not fact.

What is Brass?

Brass are metals that look like gold. They both have similarities. Although, unlike gold, brass is not a pure metal. Its alloy is composed of 67% copper and 33% zinc, sometimes varying. So now, you might ask, what color is brass? Just like gold, the brass color also has an alluring yellowish hue and is also being utilized in the jewelry industry. Because of its copper content, brass possesses germicidal and antimicrobial properties. Furthermore, brass is also being utilized in the music industry for its impressive acoustic properties. Some of these instruments containing brass are tuba cornet, trumpet and trombone, among others.

How to Identify Brass?

Take note that brass is not considered fake gold. Again, it is an alloy that contains both copper and zinc. With that said, a brass containing the majority of copper results in a bright yellowish tone. On the other hand, if zinc is the dominant content, the brass color gives more of a whiter tone. In identifying these metals, jewelry pieces made of bras are straightforward. It usually is yellow. If you find a metal that does not contain a hint of yellowish-white or anything dull of a yellow shade, you can generally consider them out as brass. It would also help if you try to look for signs of any wear and tear. If the metal will rust, it is fake brass. A real brass will likely only stain.

Furthermore, brass is a non-magnetic metal like gold. If it happens that a magnet sticks it’s because the material consists then of other metals. A magnet will be attracted to the brass plate because of the iron metal underneath it.

Brass Vs Gold 一 How to Tell the Difference?

Moving forward, how to tell gold from brass? Although they appear to be very similar, there are important details to note about gold vs. brass. Below are these important details you should note:

  • Corrosion 一 For jewelry pieces, tarnishing is happening when a corrosion process occurs. Once a jewelry piece is exposed to the air, water, and bacteria, the process of corrosion takes place. With that said, pure gold is known to be a non-reactive metal. This means that this metal won’t slightly tarnish at all, regardless of whatever exposure it is experiencing. A fake gold, however, will show a little tarnishing. Moreover, the quality of brass will degrade. There will be a noticeable color difference once frequently exposed.
  • Reaction to acid 一 Gold vs brass’ reaction to acid differs significantly. There are acids that can react with gold that will likely show a very unusual reaction. On the other hand, brass is considered reactive to several acids. Making use of an acid test is an excellent way to distinguish these two metals. With just a drop or two of nitric acid, results can immediately tell you which is which. It would be gold if there is no reaction. And if there is a slight discoloration into greenish color with a smokey and fizzy reaction, it likely contains copper in your jewelry piece. Furthermore, a creamy, milky-like reaction shows that the piece has a gold plating over the sterling silver.
  • Weight 一 Moving forward, if an acid test is not enough, determining the metal’s weight might be of help. By physical properties, gold is considerably denser. It likely weighs twice of a brass’ weight.   

Final Thoughts

Gold and brass certainly have their own advantages. Over the years, gold has been widely used for trading because of its value. And, although not as of great value compared to gold, the gold-like appearance of brass has also been widely utilised in the jewelry industry and other industries as well. They clearly have their own specific function that jewelry designers have been putting to use for profit. Should you decide which one to choose, a little but very informative read like this one is helpful so that you will get an idea of what jewelry piece you are investing in. We do hope that by now we have shed some light on what brass vs gold’s difference is to you.

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