What Should I look for When Buying a Gold Necklace?

Look for the following when buying a gold necklace:

  • Whether it’s pure gold, plated or hollow
  • Length and thickness 
  • Quality
  • Design 
  • Type of chain link
  • If it includes a pendant
  • How smooth is the necklace

A gold necklace adds beauty to your style. As an accessory, a gold necklace is highly versatile, and everyone will get something they want, personal style notwithstanding. For some, it’s a status symbol that signifies wealth and prosperity.

A gold necklace can also be a great way to invest

But buying one can be a challenge since there are varying varieties of gold necklaces. That’s why you need to be well educated and know what to consider as you plan to purchase one. 

So, what should I look for when buying a gold necklace? This post is going to answer this question. 

Keep reading.

What should I look for when buying a gold necklace?

Consider the following factors:

1. Whether it’s pure gold, plated or hollow

Gold comes in different purities. A small stamp gives the weight of the gold, and there are different measurements based on location. 

There’s a hallmark number which is usually in 24 parts. 

So, you’ll find, for example, that the hallmark of the gold necklace you’re holding is 18 karat or 18k. It implies 75% of the necklace is pure gold, and the rest is some other metal like zinc. 

The number 24K is the hallmark of pure gold (99.9%). 

If you find a new one without the hallmark, it means it doesn’t have real gold.

Pure gold necklace

As much as 24K gold is the most valuable because it’s the purest, a gold necklace designed from it would be too soft and likely to be delicate if you’re going to wear it daily. That’s why gold jewellery often comes mixed with metals like copper, silver,  zinc, brass, and nickel.

If you compare a pure gold necklace with a gold plated or gold filled metal, the percentage of gold in it is higher.

Most jewellery lovers prefer either 14K or 18K because they’re durable and affordable. 

Gold-filled necklace

A gold-filled necklace, often marked as GF, is designed using thin sheets or leaves of gold joined to another metal that forms the base. The metal is mostly brass, silver, or copper. The finished necklace contains only a small percentage of pure gold. 

A 14K GF necklace, for example, is going to have around 5% pure gold. So, they have less value compared to pure gold, but would be more worthy than one that is gold plated.

Gold plated necklace

A gold plated necklace, usually marked as GP, is designed by dipping the base metal that can be silver or copper into a gold bath. Unlike a gold-filled necklace, the weight of the plated one will be about 0.05% of pure gold. 

Gold plated necklaces are likely to peel off or change colour with ease, but they are more popular due to affordability and are easily available.  They can also pass for actual gold to an untrained eye. 

Hollow gold necklace

A hollow gold necklace, also called semi-solid, might look like the other necklaces but usually feels much lighter. The chain has a hollow inside with layers that can be made of solid gold or can even be gold plated. The hollow is often included to cut the price. 

However, hollow necklaces tend to be fragile and easily dent or break. Still, their resale value is higher than gold filled or gold plated ones. 

2. Length and thickness of the necklace

Gold necklaces come in varying lengths as well as styles. They can be a choker which is as short as 14 inches, or a long rope that is more than 40 inches. You’d choose based on your style, the occasion, or if you need a pendant. 

If you’ll wear the necklace daily, you might want to get a short one. 

But if it’s intended for a formal event like a business meeting or a wedding, a long one would be a good option. 

Often, chains designed for women range from 14 to 42 inches, while those for men can range from 12 to 24 inches long. 

You can wear them with formal or casual wear and with or without a pendant. 

The thickness of the gold necklace is significant in determining its appearance and price. 

If you wish for a statement necklace, a thick one is the best. What’s more, you can wear it even with no pendant. Even though men are the ones who mostly wear thick gold necklaces, women can also choose to go bold with them. 

If you prefer to appear as minimal as possible, you’d go for a slim necklace. And if you wear it with a pendant, the focus would be on the pendant rather than the necklace. Most people prefer such slim necklaces because of their delicate appearance.

3. Quality of the necklace

Here are the different ways to tell whether you’re dealing with a real or fake gold necklace:

  • Hallmark. This is a tiny mark imprinted on the necklace’s surface and often found in very inconspicuous places. If you see the hallmark, this means the gold necklace is pure.


  • Magnet. Since there’s nothing like magnetic gold, a necklace pulled by the magnet could indicate the presence of nickel or iron. 

But since the necklace might have non-magnetic metals like copper, lead or aluminium, don’t rely solely on the magnetic test. 

  • Porcelain test. Another way to check if a gold necklace is genuine is to rub it against a tile made of unglazed porcelain. Check out the colour left behind by the necklace. If it’s real gold, the stain would be golden yellow, but you’ll see a black stain if it’s fake.
  • Jewellery appraisal. This is the most guaranteed way for determining if your gold necklace is genuine. However, this would prove costly since you’ll be engaging the services of an appraiser. Still, if the kind of purchases you’re dealing with are high risk, you can choose this route.
  • Acid test. Nitric acid, sulphuric acid, or hydrochloric acid are appropriate for testing your gold necklace. It might be a bit tricky finding these materials, but in case you do, you can drop a tiny amount on the necklace’s body. 

If it reacts, then you probably have authentic gold. If there’s no reaction, the chain could be gold-plated or have a very tiny percentage of gold.

Don’t rely on the clasp because some scammers might trick you by making the claps appear real.  

  • Water test. You can fill a container halfway with water and ensure it is enough to have the gold necklace submerged in it.  You can then gently drop the necklace in the water. If it floats, know it’s not real gold. Pure gold is heavy and will sink inside the water. 

4. The type of clasp

Inspect the clasp type is to know if it closes well. The clasp should not also break easily. Most chains often come with spring-loaded ring clasps, which are thin and cheaper but don’t last long. 

The most popular type of clasps is lobster clasps since they’re more durable, and you can release them easily. Also, there’s a minimal chance of them snagging on your clothes! 

5. Design of the necklace

When choosing a gold design, consider the purpose. Some go well if you wear them alone, and others come out nicely if you include a pendant. 

So, which are the best types of gold necklaces to choose from? 

Let’s discuss them below.

  • Rope necklaces. These are among the most popular designs for a gold necklace. Rope necklaces are made by interlinking small wires that appear like a rope. 
  • Box necklaces. Box necklaces consist of square links and are mostly sturdy and strong. The links are connected such that they end up creating a smooth, flowing chain. The sturdiness of these gold necklaces makes them popular, and it’s possible to wear them alone or with a pendant. 
  • Franco necklaces. The links in a franco necklace are v-shaped, thus appearing like a curb. It is durable and mostly embraced by hip-hop fans who like adding bling pendants to the necklace.
  • Snake necklaces. They’re tightly linked but with a smooth effect that appears like that of a snake. These necklaces are infamous for catching on clothes.
  • Mariner or anchor necklaces. If you choose to go for a mariner or anchor necklace, it will be because of its oval links that interlock, with each having a bar placed at the centre. They’re among the strongest gold necklaces because of their interlocking links. 
  • Figaro necklaces. These are gender-neutral but fancier compared to cable chains. Figaro necklaces are originally from Italy and comprise alternating designs of flat links that vary in size. So, you can have 2 shorter links alternating with a longer one. 
  • Cable necklaces. The necklaces have simple designs with circular or round interconnecting links. The elegant gold chains are popular among men and women and can be worn alone with pendants.
  • Bead/ball necklaces. These gold necklaces have round metal beads with long spaces or closely linked with small spaces to enable movement. You can pick the desired thickness of the bead, which can vary from 1mm to 2mm. The necklaces are mostly common among men as they wear them with dog tags. 
  • Wheat/Spiga necklace. Spiga, which means wheat, are made of woven strands of oval links which have been twisted. The result is a soft-looking chain appearing like a golden braid. Women prefer this type of necklace because it has an intricate pattern. Its delicate appearance makes it suitable for wearing with a pendant or alone. 
  • Singapore necklaces. These beautifully designed chains are among the designs that appear to be most delicate. They’re made of fibre bound together through braiding and twisting. The gold necklaces are popular since they’re durable and strong. 

6. Type of chain link

Necklaces come in various designs and styles, and the type of link determines whether it’s going to kink or break easily. 

Since they’re flat, omega chains or herringbone chains, for example, can easily twist. Round snake chains are also problematic because they easily stick to your clothes or even twist, and repairing is a challenge. 

The thickness of the link is another thing to consider. If you’re going to include a charm or a pendant, ensure the links of your gold necklace are thick enough so that they can bear the extra weight.

7. If it includes a pendant

If you want a charm or a pendant, the necklace must be strong enough to bear the extra weight of the pendant. However, it should not be too large or thick because it would make the pendant look overpowered. 

Wheat chains and box chains are the best for this because they’re mostly sturdy. They’re also relatively flexible. 

8. How smooth is the necklace

This is one characteristic that people often overlook when buying a gold necklace. You want to ensure it has a smooth surface. 

If you make the mistake of buying a gold necklace with a rough surface, you might not even wear it for long hours before it scratches your skin.  

Running your fingers through the necklace will tell you whether it could end up rubbing your skin. 

Remember, anything rough on the surface of the necklace can also stick to your clothes. 


So, what should I look for when buying a gold necklace? As already discussed, you need to consider whether it’s pure gold, your style, the quality, the type of link, and the design. 

You might also need to think about its length and thickness and whether or not it should have a pendant, among other things. 

Next steps

When buying gold necklaces, you need to settle for a reputable and trustworthy site. This ensures you’re not scammed or ripped off.  Check out our site for some of the best gold necklaces with different designs. What’s more, you can choose one based on your style. 

To look more stylish, you might want to get a matching pair of gold earrings and a gold bracelet that will complete your look!