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How to tell if gold is real

Prevent fraud by getting your gold from reputable sources

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We all seek a safe harbour in an uncertain world, a store of value that we can trust.

In a world of impermanent paper currencies, not many tangible objects can be passed on to the next generation. Not to mention, in a global financial system where central banks drive asset price inflation, there are few portfolio diversifiers.

Thus bullion — physical coins or bars of gold and silver — have been popular among investors.

Unfortunately, many fraudsters have found a way to deprive the ignorant of their hard-earned money.

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Even in safe Singapore, fake gold bars have been circulating. In April this year, 45 fake bars were seized by the police.

Common faking methods

One of the most common methods to fake a gold bar involves using tungsten, a metal with almost the same density as gold but costs at least 400 times less.

Fake producers usually cast real gold around a tungsten slug.

The tungsten-filled gold bar will weigh almost the same as a genuine gold bar. As the outer layer is real gold, it will have the same texture and hardness of a genuine bar.

Other reported faking methods involve electroplating a thin layer of gold onto base metals like lead and copper.

Amid a booming physical gold market, fake gold bars have been reported to be flooding in from firms in China. Fakes are reported of gold bars from reputable refiners like PAMP and Perth Mint.

Fake gold bars can be found on online marketplaces like eBay, usually selling at a discounted price.

How reputable bullion dealers authenticate gold

Bullion must thus be purchased from a reputable retailer that possesses the right equipment to ensure its products are authentic.

Goldheart Bullion, a joint venture between mainboard-listed Aspial Corporation and leading bullion company Silver Bullion, provides the assurance you need.

From humble beginnings as traditional jeweller Lee Hwa Goldsmiths & Jewellers in 1970, Aspial is a leading jewellery company in Asia with the Lee Hwa Jewellery, Goldheart and Citigems brands. It has also grown into a conglomerate with businesses in real estate and financial services.

At Goldheart Bullion, products are of the purest quality of 0.9999 gold and silver. The bullion is sourced from trusted mints and refineries accredited by the London Bullion Market Association, the authority on the world’s bullion market.

An authentication service physically verifies the investment-grade quality of the bullion.

One of the tests conducted is a mass test. Goldheart Bullion’s analytical balances are highly sensitive and require frequent calibration by approved vendors.

The mass of most fake bullion deviates from genuine bullion. By weighing the bullion precisely, most of the fakes can be screened out quickly and reliably.

An ounce of bullion, for example, should weigh close to 31.1 grams. Investment-grade bullion should weigh a little bit above its stated mass. This is because during the production process, the mint must compensate for trace amounts of impurities present by adding a few milligrams of extra metal. 

Another test conducted is an electromagnetic test. A machine sends electromagnetic waves into a coin or bar to test gold, silver and platinum.

The test is non-invasive and can assess a sample in less than a second. The machine can scan through coin capsules, plastic cases and blister packs.

It never gets old

Ultimately, precious metals like gold have enthralled humanity across thousands of years.

Its attractive quality and investment value, however, is precisely the reason that has led to fake bars and coins circulating in many parts of the world.

If you are even remotely suspicious about the authenticity of a gold bar, do not buy it no matter how attractive the price.

With all the necessary testing and authentication equipment in place, Goldheart Bullion can provide you with a peace of mind when shopping for competitively priced bullion.

Want to know more? Speak with our knowledgeable consultants at our highly accessible stores.

Shop online at or visit Goldheart Bullion outlets at Plaza Singapura and Chinatown.

Goldheart Bullion (Plaza Singapura)
68 Orchard Road #01-59, Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6835-7819

Goldheart Bullion (Chinatown)
231 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059435
Tel: +65 6222-0698