One of the most important parts of recycling metal is identifying it. If you know what metals you have, you can separate & organize them, which can help you get more return for your metal. Additionally, knowing what metal you have makes it even easier to choose when to sell your metal. Prices often fluctuate, so knowing when to recycle is a great way to get the most for your scrap metal. However, telling the difference between metals can be difficult. Especially when metals look similar like gold and brass do. Here are a few tips you can use to tell the different between gold and brass.
Pay Attention to Gold & Brass' Colors
Brass and gold may have similar colors and both appear yellowish, but the colors are distinct. Gold is shinier and more yellow than brass. Brass is often a duller color and less vibrant. However this method gets a little dicey because when gold is mixed with other metals it loses its shine and traditional yellow color.
Scratch Gold/Brass on Ceramic
An easier way to tell the difference between gold and brass is by using a ceramic surface. When gold is scratched on ceramic it will leave a golden streak because it is a soft metal. Brass is generally a harder metal and will leave a darker black streak on the ceramic surface.
Is Gold Heavier Than Brass?
Another way to test if something is brass or gold is to figure out its density. Gold is a denser metal than brass, which means it weighs more. Of course this method is also dubious as mixed metals will vary in terms of density.
Check The Labels
Jewelry is often marked. Often times anything made with gold will have a karat marking on it somewhere. Brass does not have a karat count, whereas gold is usually labeled. Additionally brass metal is often branded with the word brass somewhere on the item. Search the material and look for any engravings or stamps that might indicate the metal.
Bring Your Metal to a Scrap Metal Yard
If you are planning to get rid of a metal item regardless of what it is made of, consider bringing it to a scrap yard. Many scrap yards provide metal testing services if you are planning to sell the piece.