Fools Gold

While beach detecting, you get a signal, scoop, clear the sand from the scoop and find nothing else but a ring left behind sitting in that scoop – what a feeling, that moment we all as beach detectorists love to treasure…

You quickly gather the ring from the scoop and try to examine it without anyone else around noticing, and what do you see – bingo – an 18ct stamp marked on the ring, Gold! Or is it??

This scenario happened to me last night, well all of it except for the “without anyone else around noticing” part, as my hunting buddy and I had the beach to ourselves. It was because of loadshedding (all South Africans will be extremely familiar with that term but if anyone is reading this from elsewhere, “loadshedding” is basically a term used when your energy provider thinks it’s funny to turn off all electricity in your neighbourhood for at least 2 hours at a time), I had a slight humour failure when I heard my house was going to be in complete darkness for 2 hours yet again and therefore decided to call on my hunting buddy and made plans for a little last minute beach night hunt.

Now the problem with the ring I found last night, was it did not quite look like you would expect an 18ct gold ring to look like. 18ct maintains its gold look very well , yet mine looked rather shabby, in fact so much so that even my hunting buddy had to have his say “Congrats buddy, but erm, you might want to get that one checked out before you get too excited”. You see, we both felt something was not quite right with an 18ct ring looking the way it did. But hey, it had a few small “diamonds” on top, it had the 18ct stamp, I was still deep down determined to believe it was gold.

On arrival back home, I got out my electronic diamond tester to check the little stones on top of the ring – Nothing – certainly not diamonds, this was not starting off well. Next step, I filed away a small portion of the ring in order to scratch away any surface plating in order to test the ring on my electronic gold tester. After filing away, a nice shiny gold patch appeared which gave me a glimmer of hope – but it was very short lived as my electronic tester gave me the big “NA” which is what the machine says when it means “Nice try but no gold here”.

Naturally, there could have been something not right with the machine, I mean how accurate are these things anyway right? So out came the acid test – again, it showed NO GOLD.

So lets summarise – We had our doubts because it did not look like 18ct gold, then the diamond tester said diamonds were fake, then electronic tester said gold was fake, then acid test confimed all above. Satisfied? Not a chance, so today I took it to the jeweller for a professional opinion, I mean after all it did have the 18ct stamp on. The jeweller confirmed it was indeed a fake and admitted that fakes do not happen often but it does happen more often than not. He was real nice though and even gave the ring a free clean.

I came home and cleaned it up some more so I could give you some before and after pictures of the ring and the stamp on the ring. So I guess the moral of the story is, even if you find gold with markings on – perhaps you might want to give it some further inspection, don’t just trust the stamp!