Clean 14k Gold That Doesn't Look Like Gold? Water Damage Looks Like Rust, Electronic Way To Clean?


Q: My first Gold ring.. I have found half a dozen Silver rings over the past 2 months (first 2 months using a detector) and all at really worked out parks(including 1 Spider shaped, silver and marquasite yesterday), today I went to a park and just parked in an area for really no reason (Finding rings is a LOT of luck!) and within 5 minutes of working the really muddy ground (again I have no reason why I picked this area... I just stopped there! It is luck!) I pulled up a ring that looks like it is made of copper or rusted (looks like 2 diamonds and 1 emerald) on a signal of "+28"!(using the XLT'S Coin/Jewelry) Thought I was getting a nickel and then thought it was a piece if junk until I saw where my probe had scratched the side and it showed Beautiful bright GOLD (and is stamped on the inside....14K) so I am pretty sure it is gold. Now we all no gold does not tarnish, so what is this tarnish that looks so brown? I've gone over it with a 20x microscope and can see it is like a coating of smooth chocolate rust over the gold (I scraped some off the inside the ring and it is beautiful gold underneath!!!!!!).. What could have been the metal in the 14k that would make rust/tarnish? How can I clean it off without damaging the ring or stones? As I mentioned, this was a really wet area of ground (some of the parks around here water for 6 hours a night and it doesn't dry during the day, so it could have been water-logged/muddy for several years!). Isn't there some special electronic way they clean gold coins found in shipwrecks?

A: Just a thought, don't mean to dampen your enthusiasm, but not everything Stamped 14K is gold. There is a lot of copper out there stamped 14K 10K etc. that was meant to fool young girls and others. You are right in thinking that for the most part, "gold does not tarnish" So if this ring is "tarnished" then maybe, just maybe it is not gold. I hope you find some other explanation for the crust on the ring, but I would suggest you take it to someone more familiar with gold and not rely on a "14K" stamp. Not everything that is stamped 14k is really gold? I followed your advice and... Well, I REALLY GOT LUCKY! This chocolate/rust colored ring I took to an Jeweler and was immediately offered $500.00 for it! I took it in since I decided to clean it with my Dremel and a buffing wheel which really brought out the shine (it is gold, the water and mud over the years made the other metal oxidize/form a layer of something (solid gold would be 24k, so another metal was mixed in that had the reaction)) ....while cleaning it I broke the already worn/tiny prongs that held the emerald in place so I had to have it re-mounted.. It turned out the ring is a hand-made antique ring with and almost half carat of marquis cut Emerald and 25 points of diamonds (2 of them combined)..They really cleaned it up nice and charged me a fortune (but you gotta keep the first gold ring found with a metal detector!) Thanks to all with the suggestions on cleaning it.. I almost tossed it in the junk box if it had not been for some of the explanations! Here's some pics.. different angles....some things are just to shiny to get a picture of.. That is a great find. Also, when you take something you found to a jeweler or coin dealer you don't want to sell it for the first offer - they know you don't know what it's worth (OK, this doesn't apply to every dealer but remember they are in business to make money). As for the pictures of shiny objects, generally the best way to photograph them is outdoors using natural light on a slightly overcast day. There are also products you can spray on the object to temporarily eliminate the glare.

Discuss It!