20 years ago, personal investments were a relatively simple matter of choosing the right stocks, shares, government bonds and savings accounts. Today, however, with interest rates remaining low and the economic environment one of growing uncertainty, there is an increasing need to ensure your investment portfolio is as diverse as possible.

This is one of the reasons investors often look to have some tangible assets within that portfolio. One that has stood the test of time, and proves to be something of a safe haven whatever else is happening in the world is precious metal. This is, however, an area fraught with risk for the unwary. How can you be sure that those gold or silver coins are pure? Increased demand means new suppliers are appearing every day, and sadly, some are of the fly by night variety, where is all might not be as it seems.

Buy from a Recognized Source

The most important tip for ensuring the purity of your gold or silver is to buy from a well-known trading company. Any professional seller knows his or her reputation depends on honesty and integrity, so you can be sure they will go out of their way to provide exactly what they say they will. Golden Eagle Coins is one of the best-known suppliers, and caters for every type of buyer, whatever your budget. Whether you are looking for gold or silver bars, coins made from extremely rare metals like palladium, or even collectible coins such as the ever-popular Liberty coins from the 19th century, they will provide what you need, and you can be confident of authenticity.

Testing your Own Precious Metals

Of course, buying from a reputable source is good advice when you are looking to dip a toe into gold ownership. But what if you already own some gold – or at least you think you do – and you want to check its authenticity? There are some simple steps you can go through that will tell you exactly what you’ve got.

1) Check the Size and Weight

Gold and silver are both extremely dense. This means that almost all counterfeits will either be too light if they are the right size, or too large if they are the right weight. A set of calipers and a jeweler’s scale are both inexpensive pieces of kit and will help you calculate the density from the diameter, thickness and weight. Alternatively, a tool called a Fisch tester is a handy piece of equipment that performs the calculations for you.

2) The Ping Test

Gold and silver both make a distinct sound when struck with another coin. With a base metal, the sound is both duller and shorter. This is something an expert will recognize straight away, but for amateurs, there is a tech solution. Apps like bullion test will listen to the chime through your smartphone mic and tell you whether your coin is genuine.

3) The Magnet Test

Neither gold nor silver is magnetic, so placing your coin on a strong magnet and tipping is a quick and easy test. A genuine coin will not “stick.” Of course, some base metals are also non-magnetic, so this test should be performed in conjunction with at least one of the other methods.