What is Italian Gold (5 Ways to Tell if It's Real)

Buying gold jewelry can be a bit stressful for someone who’s new to it. There’s a lot of terminologies and inside knowledge that you need to tackle before actually making a purchase. This may be overwhelming to some and it may lead to some bad decisions.

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One such term is “Italian gold”. It’s also known as Italian 14K gold and it’s not as common as other markings you may found on gold.  Here we will dive into what 14K Italian gold is, how did the term come about, and what you need to know about it.

What does 14K Italy gold means?

What does 14K Italy gold means

Let’s start with the basics – the term 14K means that a piece of jewelry has 14 components of gold, out of the 24 parts that comprise 100 percent. The other ten parts are therefore other metals or alloys. The “Italy” part refers to the source of the gold.

This means that the piece of jewelry you’ve bought is made out of Italian gold that isn’t 100 percent pure and gold and jewelry of this type are common in Italy. Obviously, there are some counterfeits out there, but the term itself is genuine.

Other gold markings

It’s also useful to compare these markings to others that can be found on gold. That way you’ll know how 14K Italy gold compares to others and what you get in terms of quality. The most common markings you can find are: 8,10,12, 14, 20,22,24K. As is the case with Italy 14K, these refer to how pure the gold is.

8K gold is rarely seen these days since most markets have moved on from it, but you can still find it in some flea markets and it’s commonly used in some countries of the world, but rarely in the west.

Other ways to mark it

Marking is used to refer to the purity of gold, but there are different ways to mark it and, European and therefore Italian gold may use its own system of representing the purity. For instance, 14K Italian gold can also be marked as 585 gold.

Simply put, that is a percentage of gold in a piece of jewelry. So, if the gold consists of 14 parts of gold and 10 parts of other metals, it has a 58.5 percent purity – hence the marking. Another common marking you’ll notice is 750 Italy gold – it’s also known as 18 K gold.

Why is Italian gold more expensive?

Many notice that Italian gold is more expensive than that coming from other regions. Some mistake that with the sing of quality and that’s why there’s a misconception that Italian 14K gold is somehow better than other types of gold out there.

That’s a mistake. The higher price is usually the result of trading regulations and other market forces. For instance, there’s a cost that comes about from shipping the gold from Italy and that ends up being covered by the end consumer.

There’s also a tax, posed by the US on importing Italian gold. It’s done in order to protect the US gold mining and jewelry production industry. There are similar taxes on US gold in Europe. That cost is also covered by the person buying the gold in the end.

How to tell if the 14K jewelry is real?

There are forgeries in the world of jewelry and gold and it’s important to learn how to spot a fake and make sure that the gold you’re getting is of the highest quality for the price. It’s something that anyone can do, but it takes a bit of training, as is the case with most things.

Start with looking for the markings mentioned above. If there are no markings, that’s definitely a fake and you shouldn’t purchase it. However, the fact that there are markings on it doesn’t mean that it’s authentic since most forgers tend to include the marking as well.

It’s also important to note that when you’re getting gold filled and gold plated jewelry that’s marked as 14K gold, it’s in fact only 12K, which is the ratio needed to make the jewelry in that fashion. The same goes for rolled gold jewelry which is only 12.5 percent pure.

1. Biting the gold

There are a few old-time traditions when it comes to checking the quality of the gold and even though they are not scientific they are proven to work over a long period of time. The most common of such is biting.

Try biting the 14K gently and you should notice a dent in it made by your teeth. Fake gold won’t be able to dent like that and it can even break if it’s of poor quality. This isn’t 100 percent accurate and especially so with gold-plated jewelry, which may have dents in both cases.

2. Discoloration

Another clue to look for when it comes to making sure your gold is authentic is the discoloration that can sometimes happen with fake gold but it can’t happen to real ones.

After a while, a green color tinge may appear on the surface of the gold, if it’s not real 14K Italian gold. The problem with this technique is that you’ll find out that you’ve been cheated after a while and then it may be too late.

3. Weight and feel

Another common way of figuring out if the 14K Italian gold you’ve bought real or not is to pick it up and feel its weight and overall feel. Again, this isn’t a scientific method and mistakes can be made, but those who have tried it a few times, usually get the hang of it.

Real gold will feel to be more solid and heavier than the fake one and if you hold both in your hands at once, you’ll notice the difference. That’s because real gold has a denser structure than fake one and that’s something that can’t be copied.

4. The magnetic test

Another common test to use is to use a magnet to see how much gold is in a 14K Italian gold chain.

Gold is not magnetic and the chain or ring you’re purchasing won’t be drawn to the magnet at all if it’s made of pure gold.

When it comes to 14K Italian gold the results are mixed since the gold is only 58 percent of the mix and it may be difficult to determine how this affects the magnet.

5. Consulting the experts

In the end, it’s always possible to hire an expert to test the gold for you. They will use the most scientific and proven method to do so and their opinion can be trusted. It’s obviously important to note that this adds to the cost of the purchase, but you’re also buying peace of mind.

The jeweler will take a small piece of gold by scratching the jewelry. The small piece is then covered in nitric acid and the jeweler observes how the two interact. Parts of the piece that aren’t gold will dissolve and that will tell you how much gold is in there.

The price of 14K gold

The price of 14K gold

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the price of gold and gold jewelry in particular. First of all, it’s important to note that the price of jewelry and the price of gold are connected but they are not one of the same.

A lot of the price of jewelry is about the craftsmanship and the rarity of the piece, which means that it can be more expensive than the gold that went into making it.

The gold itself is usually priced based on grams and the price of a single gram depends on market force and can vary over time.

Pros of buying 14K Italian gold

  • Italian gold is considered to be beautiful and it’s used by some of the best jewelers in the world. They are especially used in chains. The pieces are elegant and somewhat understated. That’s an aesthetic that rarely goes out of fashion and there’s always a market for it.
  • There are also design advantages when it comes to working with 14K Italian gold. This type of gold can be used for a more precise design and that means that jewelers could do a lot with it in creating a specific look.

Cons of buying 14K Italian gold

  • The biggest con of 14K Italian gold is its price. That’s due to the taxes and transport costs, but these tend to add up for an ordinary buyer.
  • There are also a lot of counterfeits due to the chemical composition of this type of gold and it may be difficult to verify its authenticity.


Italian gold refers to the 14K gold sourced from Italy. The markings refer to the purity of gold, which is made out of 58 gold itself, while the rest is composed of other metals. This type of gold is used for making beautiful jewelry, that’s simple and elegant in aesthetic and tone.

There are also a lot of counterfeits of such gold, due to its chemical composition and you’ll need to know your way around it in order to avoid them. Sometimes this requires you to call for the services of a professional jeweler.

What’s you favorite Italian gold piece and why?

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