* Tips For Buying gold
1. Buy from someone you know or with a solid reputation.
2. Look for a store with a quality-assurance program that tests its own pieces for purity. You don*t have to shop at Tiffany*s to go for the real gold. Many major stores have testing programs, too.
3. If the piece has a trademark, like Nike or a sports team logo, it must have a license stamp on the back. If the jewelry maker is willing to steal a trademark, experts say, they may be willing to short you on gold.
4. Look at the workmanship. If the edges are frayed, or it just looks cheap, it probably is under-karated.
5. And if you really want to make sure you*ve got legitimate gold, you can have your pieces X-rayed at a quality- assurance lab, like the one *20/20* used, for around $20.
* Under-Karating Now Rife Among Discount Jewelry Offers
In many countries (the US for example) anything less than 10 karats -- or about 42 percent real gold -- can*t legally be sold as gold.
Yet the reality is that with gold sales rising rapidly *under-karating* is a very common problem even though it*s not widely known.
The worst cheating occurs with the less expensive 10-karat and 14-karat pieces, and the problem isn*t easy to resolve because by simply looking at a piece of gold there is really no way to tell the difference between 10-karat and 8-karat.
Recently *20/20* bought several *discount* gold jewelry articles in New York and had them tested by the American Assay and Gemological Office - the lab that does quality assurance checks on jewelry from Tiffany*s.
The result: None of the 3 jewelry pieces they tested actually met the minimum 10-karat as advertised!
* Here*s A Quick Guide To Gold *Purity*
24K gold is pure gold.
18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 75% gold.
14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 58.3% gold.
12K gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 50% gold.
10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 41.7% gold. 10K gold is the minimum karat that can be called *gold* in the United States.
European Markings European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, such as:
18K gold is marked 750 to indicate 75% gold
14K gold is marked 585 for 58.5%
12K gold is marked 417 for 41.7%