Frequently Asked Questions | Goldanalytix

Here you find answers to the most frequently asked questions on all topics related to precious metal testing. The questions and answers are neatly arranged according to key topics - so you can find what you are looking for very quickly.


Can my precious metal be counterfeit despite having the "right" density?

Yes, gold has a density of 19.32 g/cm³, but the popular counterfeit material wolfram has a density of 19.30 g/cm³. For silver, which has a density of 10.49 g/cm³, lead-tin or molybdenum alloys with a similar density are often used. Thus, a counterfeit cannot be ruled out with a density measurement alone.

Is gold always real with a certificate of authenticity?

No. Counterfeiters deliberately exploit the trust of gold buyers in certificates of authenticity. For example, they forge the certificate itself, including the serial number, or simply replace the genuine coin with a fake.

Bars in blisters are also being imitated by counterfeiters more and more often and better. At the moment, there is an increasing number of such counterfeit bars in circulation from renowned manufacturers such as Perth Mint, PAMP and others.

The GoldScreenSensor is the tool of choice to avoid falling for the fraudsters - you don't even have to remove the packaging!

How common are counterfeits?

An exact share of counterfeits in the market cannot be quantified, but counterfeit bars or coins of both gold and silver are becoming more and more common. Since the prices of both precious metals have risen massively since the beginning of the 2000s, the counterfeit market has become very attractive. Especially large precious metal buyers such as refineries have a good overview and increasingly report increasing quality and quantity of counterfeits. Here you can read about the different types of counterfeits.

Is silver really counterfeited?

Silver was at 4 dollars a fine ounce in the early 2000s and is currently at 27 dollars. Due to this price increase, silver counterfeits have become popular. therefore, you should also be aware when buying silver. The most commonly used materials for silver fakes are copper, molybdenum and lead-tin alloys. Molybdenum and lead-tin alloys in particular are becoming more common, as these two materials have a similar density to silver. Molybdenum also has the advantage that it has very similar sound properties to silver.

Is gold really forged?

Yes, there are countless forgeries of the most varied quality: from clumsy copper alloys that bear little resemblance to real coins to perfectly imitated wolfram forgeries in coins and bars that no precious metals expert could recognise without suitable testing equipment. See photos of gold fakes in our gallery.

The most common types of counterfeiting are highway gold, under-alloying and over-alloying, cores made of foreign metal and minting/stamp counterfeiting.

You can find more information here.

What types of fakes exist?

1. "Autobahngold"/"Highway gold": These are fakes that are sold as real gold, but are made of a different material and are only gold-plated. For fakes of this kind with wolfram, the conductivity measurement with the GoldScreenSensor/GoldScreenPen is very well suited to identify the fake. If the material is different (e.g. brass), the weight or the dimensions as well as the density of the object will also differ from the original.

2. Under-/over-alloying: This type of counterfeiting occurs mainly in jewellery. A different gold content is stamped on the object than is actually present. For example, a gold chain could be stamped 750 gold, although it is actually made of 333 gold. This type of counterfeit is best identified by chemical analysis.

3. Foreign metal cores: These objects often consist of a relatively thick gold layer, but have a core made of another metal (usually wolfram). The dimensions, weight and density are very well imitated, which is why these forgeries are very difficult to identify. For thicker bars the BarScreenSensor is suitable, for smaller ones also the GoldScreenSensor or the GoldScreenPen.

4. Mint/stamp forgeries:This type of counterfeiting exists mainly in the coin sector, but has also occurred in the recent past with gold bars. Older coins with a high collector's value are imitated and attempts are made to sell them. These forgeries can be detected by carefully examining the minting or checking the physical properties with various devices and methods. In the case of gold bars, usually weighing 1kg, illegally mined gold is often stamped with the imprint of renowned affinery, e.g. Argor-Heraeus, and sold as original. With this type of bar, one should pay particular attention to the security features that have been added in the meantime, similar to those on banknotes. Otherwise, the fineness deviates minimally from the 999.99 of the originals, as these have not been produced so cleanly.

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