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It's All Shiny

I have an unmarked piece of jewelry.
It is heavy enough to be platinum,
but maybe it’s white gold.
Has a little warmer color than rhodium
plated. Definitely not silver.

Does anyone have an (easy) way to tell
the materials apart?

Bill in Vista, California
a climactic wonderland

William take a small file and gently and lightly on the back side stroke
on the forward motion. If platinum will fill like you are filing lead. If
white gold will fill like the hard metal it is. Then again it may be pot
metal as I call it (costume jewelry).

telling platinum and white metals apart can be easy if you have a scrap
piece of platinum. The platinum will grab a file when you run over it.
White metals will file more easily. If the file won’t slide as usual you
probably have platinum.

Bill, The easiest way to tell the difference between white gold and
platnium is that when heated the white gold will oxidize or firescale,
whereas platnium won’t. I usually heat the bottom of the shank, with a
torch in the case of a ring.Don’t forget not to use boric acid and alcohol
on that section of the metal, and be careful of the stones, if any are
heat sensitive.

One way to distinguish between platinum and other white metals is to take
small shaving off using a graver, from an inconspicuous location. Try to
melt it with a flame you would normally use to solder non platinum metals.
If it balls up it is not platinum. If it just sits there and laughs at
you, you probably have a platinum alloy.

Sharon from soggy NH

Hello William, A drop of iodine will stain anything but platinum. Tom

Bill - The test we use, primarily when testing items for appraisals or
before repairs is to take a very finite sliver of the white metal and do a
melt test. This is what the german metal assayers taught me. Use a flat
graver and take the sample from a discrete location, like the
underside/azured areas, where the small scrape will not be discerned. This
eliminates the need to perform an unsightly or dangerous test like filing
or god-forbid a heat test. Then simply melt the sample on a charcoal
block. There’s no questioning how easily gold melts in comparison to
platinium, which would require considerably greater heat and visiual
protection to accomplish.

My motto: White gold is yellow gold that’s been given a sex-change.

Peace. Kim

Evening Tom,
Your one liner is one of the best.
I will tell my client and let her save some money by doing it herself.
Many thanks Bill

Afternoon Tom,
Saw the lady at a Fouth picnic and she was smiling. The bracelet turns
out to be gold and the iodine rubbed off with finger pressure. Thanks
again. Bill