How To Test Platinum At Home? Top 3 Helpful Methods

An untrained eye cannot tell the difference between platinum, white gold, and silver. These three precious metals look too much alike.

If your jewelry has no markings, or you have a nugget you suspect is made from platinum, you should best learn how to test platinum at home!

There are a few simple tests to identify platinum. With a bit of know-how, you can safely try them out in the comfort of your home.

How To Test Platinum: 3 Simple Methods

You can test platinum with ice, acid scratch test, and vinegar. Since platinum has no magnetic properties, a magnet test can help you out in testing platinum, as well.

However, before you start any of the tests, you should first look for any markings. Most platinum jewelry that contains more than 50% of this precious metal is marked with a stamp.

Usual Platinum Markings (“Platinum,” “PLAT,” or “PT”):

Pure Platinum 999
95% Platinum 950
90% Platinum 900
85% Platinum 850

If your jewelry is marked only with an inscription that says “platinum,” it is at least 95% pure. More commonly, you’ll find a number such as 850 or 950 followed by “pt” or “plat.”

How To Test Platinum At Home

Some countries do not require this kind of markings on platinum jewelry.

Likewise, jewelry made before the 1906 precious metals marking law might not be stamped either.

If a piece of platinum jewelry was carelessly resized, the markings might have been cut out. Sometimes the stamp simply wears off.

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As you can see, there are several possible reasons for there being no marking.

Hence, the only way to know whether your jewelry is made of platinum is to test it. If you do not want to take it to a jeweler, you can try testing platinum at home.

Here are 3 simple methods to test platinum at home:

Testing Platinum with Ice

This test can apply only to large platinum items such as platinum cookware. It is not a reliable test to determine whether something is made from platinum or not, but it can be fun.

You only need a few ice cubes.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Take the item you are testing and put it in the palm of your hand.
  2. Place an ice cube or two onto the item you are holding.
  3. If the ice cube starts melting rapidly, the item is likely made from platinum, since it conducts heat more efficiently than other metals.

How to Test Platinum with Vinegar

This test is not very reliable, since vinegar does not contain highly concentrated acids. It can help you if you suspect your alleged platinum item is actually made of silver.

To conduct this test, you’ll need:

  • A glass of vinegar
  • Gloves

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Submerge the piece of jewelry you are testing into the vinegar.
  2. Observe to see if there is any reaction.
  3. If the surface of the jewelry turns milky white, it is probably made from silver. If not, it can be made from either white gold or platinum, since either of the two won’t react with vinegar.
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How To Test Platinum At Home

How to Test Platinum with Acid

This is the most reliable test on the list. It is used by jewelers, too.

To conduct this test, you’ll need:

  • Acid scratch test kit (it usually contains a grindstone and bottles of different acids)
  • Latex or vinyl gloves
  • Googles

Note: It would be best to buy a scratch kit that contains tests for different kinds of precious metals.

In this way, you’ll be able to determine what kind of metal your jewelry is made of, even if it’s not platinum. Always use acids at room temperature.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Scratch your jewelry a few times on the provided grindstone.
  2. Put on the gloves and apply one or two drops of the platinum testing acid onto the streak you made on the stone.
  3. Wait to see if there will be any reaction. If the metal scratch you made on the stone dissolves in the acid, your jewelry is not made of platinum.
  4. Platinum always retains the same color and brightness when treated with platinum testing acid.
  5. You can continue to test the metal with other acids until you find out what it is. Test one acid at a time and make a new scratch for each of them. The process is the same.

Platinum does not scratch easily, so run it a few times over the stone with a bit of pressure until you see a visible streak at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.

The grindstone will damage the jewelry, so choose a small, unnoticeable area to conduct this test.

Avoid this test if you suspect your jewelry is of great value, or you plan to resell it.

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As you can see, except for the acid scratch test, home tests for platinum are not highly reliable.

If you want to be sure your item is made from platinum or determine how pure your platinum is, take your item to a professional.

You can have it appraised too so that you know its true value in case you ever wish to sell it.

Final Words: How to Identify Platinum Nugget & Jewelry?

It can be hard to tell if a nugget or a piece of jewelry is made from platinum.

You need to have a clear understanding of precious metals and know how to test them if you hope to avoid confusion.

Platinum is often confused for white gold, silver, and palladium. Even though it is whiter and brighter than these precious metals, these visual cues are not proof enough you have platinum.

There are a few ways to test platinum at home too, the acid scratch test being the most reliable of them all.

However, to be 100% sure, you should best take your nugget or a piece of jewelry to a professional and have it tested and appraised.

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    About Ruth Hansen

    Ruth Hansen is an expert in lapidary. She works with gold, silver, diamonds and other jewelry. She also has a passion for gemstones of all kinds. Ruth's favorite part of his work is helping people find the perfect piece to suit their needs.

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