How to Spot a Fake Gold Bar

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Gold bars

In this article, I give you a few tips on how to spot a fake gold bar. Some methods of detecting are simple and intuitive while others are more tricky and not so obvious.

Method 1 – Visual Inspection

Firstly, do some research on how pure gold looks. The best thing is to look in person at the most trusted reference piece. Especially look at mirror polish and ruff surfaces. Having a reference piece on you to do side by side comparison is a great practice for visual inspection.

If you have just photos to compare to then try to recreate the light condition as on the reference picture. There is a difference between daylight, shade, lightbulbs and so on. I included a few pictures later in this article.

Method 2 – Markings Check

Gold bars usually have some markings on one side as a guarantee of credibility. These can help you track the bar to the source but never trust those fully. They can easily be fakes so always do additional research. Even real gold can sometimes have fake markings as brands of gold bars have different prices on the market.

Method 3 – Small Sample

Gold bars come in different sizes. Usually, smaller ones have more value per gram (or ounce) than bigger ones. The way this is helpful is if you are looking to buy or invest in gold. It can be a good way of testing a seller’s credibility by taking a random sample of small bars as a first purchase and do more research on your own on that sample. Just be sure that YOU pick the random sample.

Method 4 – Chemical Test

Testing the chemical composition of a gold bar is the best way of spotting a fake gold bar. Some tests include destroying or chemical transformation of parts of a bar. These tests usually give the most accurate results. But, they are time-consuming and not easy to do.

Method 5 – Tools

There are many tools available on the market that you can use to quickly inspect bold bars. I included them below if you what to check out what they are and how to use them.

My goto testing device is an electronic surface composition scanner (XRF analyzer). I didn’t find the one I have anywhere online but I included similar here.

These things are a huge help when it comes to inspectings metals. But, price-wise they can be on the high-end.

Fake gold bar examples

These examples are for the gold that imitates the real gold. I hope that these side-by-side comparisons will help you a bit.


When dealing with gold, there can be many occasions where you would want to know for sure if gold is real. My recommendation is to learn goto methods and have your own strategy of inspecting.

The challenge I faced when I was looking for gold bars is finding a local trusted seller. Below is a list of a few dealers that are globally present that I had no problem buying from. But keep in mind that even for global trade local reputation is equally important. So, I don’t guarantee their trustworthiness, I am just mentioning them.

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