Is Gold Magnetic? – The Answer is Complicated …

Is gold magnetic?

Short Answer: Pure Gold is not magnetic.
Gold less than 24k might be magnetic.

If the alloyed metal is magnetic, 18k gold, 14k gold, 10k gold etc. might be magnetic.

This article delves into the scientific truths behind these questions, debunking myths and providing clear, accurate information.

Part 1: Introduction

Gold, a precious metal, is often discussed for its unique properties. One question that frequently comes up is, “Is gold magnetic?” This question, while simple on the surface, leads us into a detailed exploration of magnetism and the properties of gold. Understanding the magnetic properties of gold is not just a topic for academics. It has practical implications in various fields, such as jewelry making, gold trading, and materials science.

Check out the Video Proof if Gold is Magnetic

5 Facts about Gold and Magnetism

  • Gold is a diamagnetic material. This means it does not get attracted to a magnetic field.
  • The diamagnetism of gold is very weak compared to other diamagnetic materials like bismuth or mercury.
  • Gold does not have any unpaired electrons that would align and make it magnetic under an applied magnetic field.
  • Gold’s lack of magnetism is one of the properties that helps in distinguishing it from other metals when panning for gold.
  • gold can be affected by strong magnetic fields due to its high electrical conductivity, despite not being attracted to magnets. This is known as the Lenz’s Law.

Part 2: Understanding Magnetism

Scientist in a lab trying to understand the essence of gold.
Scientist in a lab trying to understand the essence of gold.

Magnetism is a fundamental force of nature that governs a range of phenomena, from the simple attraction between a fridge magnet and the refrigerator door to the complex interactions between particles in the universe. To fully understand the magnetic properties of gold, we need to delve into the basic principles of magnetism and the different types of magnetic materials.

Basic Principles of Magnetism

Magnetism is a property of matter that results from the motion of electric charges. It manifests as a force of attraction or repulsion between different objects. The fundamental principles of magnetism include the concepts of magnetic fields, magnetic forces, and magnetic materials.

Different Types of Magnetic Materials

Magnetic materials are those that are attracted to magnets. They can be broadly classified into three categories:

  • Diamagnetic materials: These materials are slightly repelled by a magnetic field. They do not retain any magnetism when the external magnetic field is removed. Examples of diamagnetic materials include copper, silver, and gold. see also University of Maryland
  • Paramagnetic materials: These materials are weakly attracted to a magnetic field but do not retain any magnetism once the field is removed. They become magnetic only in the presence of an external magnetic field.
  • Ferromagnetic materials: These materials are strongly attracted to a magnetic field and can retain magnetism even after the external magnetic field is removed. This property makes them ideal for making permanent magnets. Examples of ferromagnetic materials include iron, nickel, and cobalt.

Check out the history of gold in 10 parts from 4600 BC to the 21th century.

Part 3: Gold and Its Properties

A golden veil waving in the wind.
A golden veil waving in the wind.

Gold is a precious metal that has been valued by human civilizations for thousands of years. It is known for its lustrous yellow color, malleability, and resistance to corrosion. But what about its magnetic properties? Is gold magnetic?

General Properties of Gold

Gold is a heavy, soft, shiny metal that is highly resistant to corrosion and tarnish. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold is usually found in its native state, i.e., as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits.

Gold’s Diamagnetic Property

The answer to the question “Is gold magnetic?” is no. Pure gold is diamagnetic, meaning it is slightly repelled by a magnetic field. However, the diamagnetic property of gold is very weak, and you would need a very strong magnetic field to observe it.

The Purity of Gold and Its Impact on Magnetism

The purity of gold also plays a significant role in its magnetic properties. Pure gold, also known as 24K gold, is not magnetic. However, gold often comes in various alloys, which can have different magnetic properties.

Check out the article on this website about gold rushes from the 17th century to the 19th; and also the California gold rush 1849.

Part 4: Practical Applications and Misconceptions

Is gold magnetic? Electricity sparks.
Is gold magnetic? Electricity sparks.

The magnetic properties of gold, or rather the lack thereof, have significant implications in various fields. For instance, in the jewelry industry, the non-magnetic nature of gold is often used to distinguish genuine gold items from counterfeits. Similarly, in the field of material science, the diamagnetic properties of gold are exploited in various applications. Therefore, understanding: is gold magnetic and why it is so, is crucial.

Practical Applications: Testing the Authenticity of Gold

One of the most common practical applications of understanding the magnetic properties of gold is in testing the authenticity of gold items. Since pure gold is diamagnetic and not attracted to magnets, a simple magnet test can sometimes reveal if a piece of gold is real or fake. However, this test isn’t foolproof, as some gold alloys that aren’t pure can also be non-magnetic. Therefore, while the magnet test can be a useful tool, it should not be the sole method used to determine the authenticity of gold.

Misconceptions About Gold and Magnetism

There are some common misconceptions about gold and magnetism. One such misconception is that if a piece of gold is attracted to a magnet, it must be fake. While it’s true that pure gold isn’t magnetic, some gold alloys can be. Therefore, a piece of gold being attracted to a magnet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fake. It could just be a gold alloy that contains some magnetic materials. This is why it’s important to use other methods in conjunction with the magnet test to determine the authenticity of gold.

Gold Alloys and Magnetism

Gold is often mixed with other metals to create alloys that have different properties. For instance, gold might be mixed with copper to make it harder and more durable. If gold is mixed with a ferromagnetic material like iron or nickel, the resulting alloy can be magnetic. This is why some gold jewelry, which is often made from gold alloys rather than pure gold, can be attracted to magnets. Therefore, while pure gold is not magnetic, certain gold alloys can exhibit magnetic properties.


Is 14k gold magnetic?

While 14k gold is not magnetic itself, if it's mixed with certain other metals that are magnetic, the resulting alloy can be slightly magnetic. This is because 14k gold is not pure gold, but rather an alloy that contains about 58.3% gold and the rest other metals.

Is 18k gold magnetic?

Pure 18k gold should not be attracted to a magnet. However, if the 18k gold is an alloy that contains a magnetic material, it could be attracted to a magnet. This is because 18k gold is an alloy that contains about 75% gold and the rest other metals.

Is gold real or fake if it sticks to a magnet?

If your gold sticks to a magnet, it is likely not real gold, or it's mixed with other magnetic metals. Gold itself is not magnetic and will not attract to a magnet.

Why is my gold chain slightly magnetic?

If your gold chain is slightly magnetic, it could be because it's not pure gold. Many gold items, especially jewelry, are often alloys that contain other metals which can be magnetic. It's also possible that there are tiny amounts of ferromagnetic material on or in the gold item.

Why isn't gold magnetic?

Gold isn't magnetic because of its atomic structure. In simple terms, magnetism is caused by unpaired electrons in an atom's electron shell. Gold atoms have their electrons paired up in their shells, so they don't exhibit magnetic properties.

Is gold magnetic?

No, gold is not magnetic. Gold is classified as a diamagnetic material, which means it does not attract or repel magnets under normal conditions.

Can gold be made magnetic?

Under normal conditions, gold cannot be made magnetic. However, under extreme conditions like very low temperatures or when subjected to a strong magnetic field, gold can exhibit superdiamagnetic properties, but this is not the same as being truly magnetic like iron.

What metals are magnetic?

The most magnetic metals are iron, nickel, cobalt, and most of their alloys. These are known as ferromagnetic metals. Some other metals like gadolinium and dysprosium show magnetic properties at cold temperatures. Gold, silver, and copper are examples of diamagnetic metals, which are not attracted to a magnetic field.