Does Gold Scratch? How Easy It Is To Scratch Gold?

Last Updated on December 30, 2023

Gold does scratch. It is a softer metal, so it doesn’t take much to scratch it. In fact, pure gold can be scratched with your fingernail.

However, gold is also a very durable metal. It doesn’t corrode or tarnish, and it is resistant to most chemicals. So while it can scratch easily, it is very tough.

As an owner of some gold jewelry, I can attest that it scratches pretty easily. To keep my pieces from getting too scratched up, I have to take extra care when wearing them or when handling them.

If you’re curious about the answers to the following questions about the properties of gold, read on for more information.

  • Is it normal for gold to have scratches?
  • Why does gold scratch so easily?
  • How do you know if it’s real gold?
  • What karat of gold does not scratch?
  • Does white gold scratch?
  • Can real gold be polished?


Does Gold Scratch?

The answer is, unfortunately, yes – gold does scratch quite easily.

Gold is a valuable resource that has been used in jewelry and other decorative pieces for centuries. It is malleable, meaning it can be easily molded into different shapes, and it doesn’t corrode over time as some other metals do. This makes it a popular choice for coins, jewelry, and other decorative items.

However, gold is a softer metal than other metals used in jewelry, such as silver and platinum. It doesn’t take much to scratch the surface of gold jewelry. Even everyday activities, like wearing it or brushing against something, can cause scratches.

Is It Normal For Gold To Have Scratches?

It is normal for gold to have scratches. Pure gold or 24 karat gold is the softest and most prone to scratches.

As the karat of gold decreases, it is less likely to scratch because it is mixed with a higher percentage of other metals.

Why Does Gold Scratch So Easily?

Gold scratches so easily because it is a softer metal.

In its purest form, gold has a rating of 2.5 on the Mohs’ hardness scale, which is a system to rank the hardness of materials. Diamonds, for example, are the hardest materials with a rating of 10.

That being said, gold can be scratched with other materials that have a higher rating on the Mohs scale. A copper, for example, has a rating of around 3. So if you try to scratch gold with a sharp piece of copper, it will likely leave a mark.

How Do You Know If It’s Real Gold?

The easiest way to tell if gold is real or not is to look for a stamp on the jewelry that indicates its karat weight.

Pure gold is 24 karats, so anything below that is a lesser quality of gold. Most jewelry is made of 18 karats or 14 karat gold, which means it’s mixed with some other metals to make it harder.

Another way is to do a scratch test to determine its authenticity. Take a piece of the unglazed ceramic plate and scratch the surface of the gold with it. If it leaves a gold-colored marking, then it is real gold. If there is a black marking or the scratch test doesn’t work, it’s likely not real gold.

You can also do the float test. Remember that gold is an incredibly dense metal. So, if you drop a piece of gold in a bowl of water, it will sink to the bottom, while other metals will float.

What Karat of Gold Does Not Scratch?

Lower karat golds are less likely to scratch than higher karat golds.

So, if you’re looking for a piece of jewelry that won’t scratch easily, it’s best to go with something that is less than 24 karats.

This is because purer gold is softer and easier to scratch than gold mixed with other metals. 18 karat gold, for example, is 75% gold and is less likely to scratch than 24 karat gold.

Does White Gold Scratch?

White gold is a type of gold that has been mixed with other metals, like palladium, to give it a white color. Also, it does not scratch more easily than regular gold.

The other metals added to create white gold make it harder and more durable. However, it is still susceptible to scratches and should be treated with care.

Can Real Gold Be Polished?

Yes, gold can be polished. However, polishing should only be done once or twice a year because it is a softer metal.

It is best to use a soft cloth and polish in gentle circular motions to avoid causing any damage.

Also, avoid using any harsh chemicals or cleaning products on gold jewelry. These can also cause scratches and damage the metal.

Eran Hayo is the Chief Editor of Jewels Advisor, with over 5 years of experience in the fields of jewelry and memorabilia. He built Jewels Advisor to serve one main purpose – to teach you everything he knows about jewelry, and help you make better-informed decisions when buying diamonds and engagement rings online. His work has been cited on famous publications such as The Sun, MSN and WikiHow.