Are XRF Precious Metals Analyzers Worth It? By Lai Chan


It is pretty common in this economy for customers to come into pawn shops, jewelry stores, and cash-for-gold businesses with old jewelry, hoping to get top dollar for their baubles, bangles, and beads.  We have previously warned our readers about fake gold bead necklaces, fake coins, bad Krugerrands, gold-plated or copper counterfeits stamped 14K or 18K, and other increasingly sophisticated counterfeit jewelry and coin scams.

The livelihood of these businesses that buy and recycle gold depends in part on being able to identify fake gold and to determine the accurate karat (K) weight of gold jewelry.  In the past, shop owners have relied on their own skills and experiences to sort out the fake from the real precious metals; and as a backup, many conduct the not-always-accurate ping tests, magnet, and acid tests.  Many of the jewelry store and pawn shop owners who recycle a great deal of precious metal items are already using XRF analyzers to combat these problems.

XRF analyzers provide a fast, accurate, and most importantly, a nondestructive method to test the purity and composition of all precious metals. XRF quickly provides the exact karat weight and percentages of all elements within an item – easily identifying non-standard, under-karated, and even advanced counterfeit material that acid testing is incapable of differentiating.

Compared to acid bottles and magnets, XRF analyzers seem to be an expensive choice.  Are they worth it?  The answer:  it depends on the total weight of your jewelry transactions on a daily basis.  How many rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants, or even broken pieces of chain do you take in?  How much money have you paid out?  How much money have you paid out and then found out you may have given more than the precious metals are worth because your testing techniques were not quite on the money? Have you ever found out after you sent the precious metals to the refinery that you may have been scammed?

To alleviate some of those concerns, we’ve developed a simple payback calculator that determines the time to recover your investment in an XRF analyzer.  It takes into consideration the amount of gold you purchase (both in grams and troy ounces), the daily price of gold per gram, and measurement errors that can happen using less-than-accurate testing methods. You input the data, and the online calculator does the rest of the work.  You will find out the payback period in years and months.

Take a look at this free online resource.  You may find out that it’s not worth the price if you are only dealing in a few pieces of jewelry a month.  But you may find out it is the best investment you can make for the future of your business.


By Lai Chan