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Pros and Cons of Methods Used for

Testing Precious Metal Content

Methods used for testing the precious metal content in materials  have changed drastically. Today, modern science has definitely taken its place in testing for gold, silver, and platinum in various forms. Below is the list of the methods that are available today.




Test Solutions


Low cost

Portable kit

Poor accuracy

Harmful acids used

Need some experience

Large lots are time consuming

Test Stones


Low cost

Portable kit

Limited range

Poor-Medium accuracy

Need some experience

Electronic Gold Tester


Low cost

Full range of carats


High cost for features

Accuracy very dependant on composition

Fire Assay

Standard Method

Extremely accurate

Full lab required

High experience level needed

Hazardous waste and fumes

High amount of labor and time needed

XRF (X-ray Florescence)

Highly accurate

Results in 5 minutes or less

Fits in an office

No hazardous materials needed

Checks for all metals

High experience level needed

Expensive: $30,000+

Portable units do not have the accuracy of lab units

ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma)

Highly accurate for all metals

Smallest percentage can be measured

Very expensive: $100,000+

Not portable

Extremely high level of experience needed

Very clean environment required