What To Expect

First of all, you can drop by our office conveniently located in downtown Halifax anytime Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm with no appointment necessary. Other times are available by appointment. You will meet with a friendly representative in our private offices. We do free estimates with no obligation to sell.

There are a number of ways to test the items, and everything is done in front of the you. The whole process usually takes somewhere between 15-30 minutes, with testing taking up the majority of the time. Some large purchases that require lots of individual testing can take more time.

When we start testing your items, the first thing we do is use a super strong Earth Magnet. This is not a refrigerator magnet, but an incredibly powerful permanent magnet made from alloys of rare earth elements. The reason we use this is because gold and silver are not magnetic. This helps us quickly sort out some imposters. However, there are many non-valuable metals that are also non-magnetic, so this test is by no means the end!

Our next step is to check for stamps. Many stamps are visible to the naked eye but a number are stamped on the tiny posts of earings or are too worn down to make out. In this case we use a jewellers loop which gives 20x magnification. Stamps tell you what the item is sold as and is a fairly reliable way of identifying the gold purity. However, it is not rare to find an item stamped as one purity that is not even gold!

Using the “touch stone” to test gold purity

If there are no stamps, or the piece is over 18 karats we can test it in one of three ways. The first step we use is an acid scratch test. We scratch the item on a smooth touch stone (similar to slate). This does not damage the piece in any way, but gets a fine mark on the stone.

We begin with 10k acid and compare the ‘unknown’ item to a known test key (a piece of gold that we know is a specific karat). The unknown scratch should stay very bright and solid. If the scratch fades, we return the item to the client since we cannot purchase unmarked pieces that do not meet the 10kt acid test. If the scratch stays vibrant, we replicate the test with a 14kt acid. If it had passed at the 10kt level, but failed at the 14kt than we know the item is 10kt. If the item passed at 14kt, we continue testing with increasingly stronger acids.

The Tri-Electronics machine tests gold by running a current
of electricity through it

The second test is a tri-electronic machine which uses an electronic current to determine the karat of gold. This is used to as an additional tool to test tricky items, but should not be totally trusted on its own.

The Specific Gravity machine determines the purity of gold
by measuring it’s density.

The third test is a specific gravity machine which measures the density of the item. We weigh the item once on a normal scale and than once while under water. The difference in the weights determines the density of the item. Since gold is one of the densest elements, we can identify items that are gold plated and identify the purity (karat) of gold based on the density.

Our prices, listed on the right, are based on the current market price of gold. Your payout is based on the purity and the weight of your items.

We hope this helps clarify what to expect when you walk into Halifax Gold. Should you have any further questions don’t hesitate to call us at (902) 444-7233.