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Last Updated on November 3, 2023

Gold is a precious metal that has captivated the attention of people throughout history due to its beauty, rarity, and resistance to corrosion.

In the modern world, gold is utilized in various industries, including electronics, aerospace, and dentistry. It also serves as a store of value and investment asset.

A common question people have regarding gold is whether or not it’s magnetic.

This article will explore the magnetic properties of gold and provide useful information on how to distinguish genuine gold from fakes, as well as discuss the magnetic properties of other metals.

gold, black, and green banner for a gold ira kit

Is Gold Magnetic?

a magnet picking up what appears to be gold coins

The simple answer is no; gold is not magnetic. Gold is classified as a diamagnetic material, meaning that it does not generate a magnetic field when placed in an external magnetic field.

Instead, it creates a weak opposing field that repels it slightly from the magnet.

However, this effect is so weak that it is practically undetectable without specialized equipment.

Is Silver Magnetic?

Silver is not magnetic.

It is classified as a diamagnetic material the same as gold, meaning it does not have strong magnetic properties. When placed in an external magnetic field, silver creates a weak opposing field that repels it slightly from the magnet.

However, this effect is very weak and practically undetectable without specialized equipment. Like gold, silver does not exhibit any attraction to magnets.

Can You Make Gold Magnetic?

In its pure form, gold cannot be made magnetic.

However, gold can be alloyed with other metals, some of which possess magnetic properties. If the concentration of magnetic metals in the gold alloy is high enough, the resulting material may exhibit some degree of magnetism.

However, gold alloys used in jewelry or coins typically have a low concentration of magnetic metals, and thus, they do not exhibit any noticeable magnetic properties.

How to Tell if Gold is Fake

a jeweler examines a gold nugget

Since gold itself is not magnetic, a simple magnet test can help you determine if an item is made of genuine gold or not. By placing a strong magnet near the gold item, if it is attracted to the magnet, then it is likely that the item contains other magnetic metals and is not pure gold.

However, keep in mind that this test is not foolproof, as some non-magnetic alloys can still be used to create fake gold items.

Other methods to verify the authenticity of gold include checking for hallmarks or official stamps, performing a density test, using an electronic gold tester, or consulting a professional jeweler or gold dealer for evaluation.

Why Would Jewelers Add Other Metals to Gold?

Pure gold, also known as 24-karat gold, is very soft and malleable, making it unsuitable for use in jewelry or coins, as it can easily become damaged or deformed.

To enhance its durability and strength, gold is commonly alloyed with other metals, such as copper, silver, nickel, or zinc. These alloys create different karat ratings for gold, with 18-karat gold (75% gold and 25% other metals) and 14-karat gold (58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals) being popular choices for jewelry.

What Types of Metals Are Magnetic?

Magnetic metals are those that exhibit strong magnetic properties. The most common magnetic metals are iron, nickel, and cobalt.

These three elements belong to a group of elements called ferromagnetic materials, which can form permanent magnets or be strongly attracted to magnets. Other metals, such as gadolinium and dysprosium, also exhibit magnetic properties but are much less common.

What Types of Metals are Not Magnetic?

Non-magnetic metals, also known as paramagnetic or diamagnetic materials, do not exhibit strong magnetic properties. Examples of non-magnetic metals include gold, silver, copper, aluminum, and platinum.

Paramagnetic materials have a weak attraction to magnetic fields, while diamagnetic materials create weak opposing fields that repel them from magnets.

If it Isn’t Magnetic, How Can a Metal Detector Find Gold?

Metal detectors can locate gold and other non-magnetic metals due to their ability to detect changes in the conductivity of the ground.

When a metal object is buried in the ground, it creates a disturbance in the earth’s electromagnetic field. Metal detectors work by emitting a magnetic field and measuring the changes in this field when it interacts with buried metallic objects. Although gold is not magnetic, it is an excellent conductor of electricity.

As a result, it can affect the magnetic field generated by the metal detector, allowing the device to detect its presence.

What to Do if Your Gold Sticks to a Magnet

If your gold item sticks to a magnet, it’s likely that it contains other magnetic metals and may not be pure gold. However, this does not necessarily mean that the item has no value.

Gold alloys containing other metals can still have value, depending on the karat rating and the type and concentration of other metals in the alloy.

To determine the true composition and value of your gold item, consult a professional jeweler, gold dealer, or assay office for an accurate evaluation.

Summary

Gold is not magnetic, as it is classified as a diamagnetic material that only exhibits weak repulsion from magnets. While pure gold cannot be made magnetic, gold alloys containing a high concentration of magnetic metals may exhibit some degree of magnetism.

The magnet test is a helpful method to identify fake gold, but other tests should also be performed for a more accurate assessment.

Jewelers add other metals to gold to increase its durability and strength, as pure gold is too soft for practical use in jewelry and coins. Magnetic metals include iron, nickel, and cobalt, while non-magnetic metals comprise gold, silver, copper, aluminum, and platinum.

Metal detectors can find gold because they detect changes in the conductivity of the ground caused by the presence of metallic objects.

If your gold sticks to a magnet, it may not be pure gold, but it can still have value depending on the alloy’s composition. Consult a professional for an accurate evaluation of your gold item.