Last September, a New York City gold dealer spent $72,000 on his worst nightmare: fake gold bars. The four 10-ounce counterfeits came with all the features of authentic ingots, including serial numbers. That's pretty scary when you consider how many people own gold—or think they do.
I've been a fake-gold fan ever since author Damien Lewis wrote me into his 2007 spy thriller, Cobra Gold. My supposed experience making fake gold was pure fiction, yet I'm still treated as a source on the matter. I decided it's time to call my own bluff and make some real bogus bullion.
Instead of a 10-ounce ingot, I cast a two-kilogram (4.4-pound) fake the size of a Twinkie cake. A Twinkie heavier than four pounds? Yes, gold is dense, much denser even than lead. Good forgeries must have the right weight, and there is only one element as dense as gold that's neither radioactive nor expensive. That's tungsten, which can cost less than $50 a pound.
To fabricate a convincing fake, crooks could pour molten gold around a tungsten core. The bar would have a near-perfect weight, and drilling shallow holes would reveal nothing but real gold. A two-kilogram bar made this way would cost about $15,000 and be "worth" about $110,000. Since I have to work within PopSci's modest budget, and I'm not a criminal, I settled for a fake costing about $200 in materials.
I encased a tungsten core in a lead-antimony alloy, which is roughly as hard as gold. That way it feels and sounds right if touched and knocked. I then covered the alloy with genuine gold leaf to give my bar its signature color and luster.
My fake wouldn't fool anyone for very long (a fingernail can scratch off the gold leaf), but it looks and feels remarkable, even next to my real 3.5-ounce solid-gold ingot. Or at least I think that one's real.
How to be a bad guy via PoPSCi, oi.
Dear PoPSCi, please illustrate for a home user to build a self-producing solar panel that is cost effective to rid ourselves of the grid and make the home user electrically independent. That would be helpful.
Of course, if I get caught selling fake gold, the USA government will give me my own room, with electricity, food, my clothes pick out for me and a boyfriend of my own NOT desire, lol.
I mean a forgery like this would be pretty simple to detect with just an accurate scale (which obviously every gold buyer has) and some water. Weight the 'gold'. Insert into water. Measure change in displacement of the water, which will tell you the volume of the gold. Calculate density using weight and volume. See that it very obviously doesn't match that of gold. Done, with only a few seconds of extra time spent. Might not be worth it for a few hundred dollars in gold, but for $76,000? Definitely worth some serious fraud detection.
There are thousands of fake gold bars in safes all over the world. Don't be a fool and waste your money on such a trivial metal.
At least Tungsten has some real value to industry and is on par with it's supply and demand based solely on real use. Stupid people are buying gold and inventing in fake gold. Even Universities are wasting money on this junk.
That "simple device that the power companies don't want to you know about" is nothing but an of the shelf motor about the size of your fist, the instructions on how to make your own solar power station that will make you loads of money is a complete fraud.
@ aruisdante measuring volume via displacement that is accurate to more then 2 decimal places is harder then you might think. The gold foil fakes would not be hard to detect, but the gold over tungsten fakes wold be much harder to detect.
@ jefro gold has industrial uses as well. Once of the reason why gold prices are going up so fast is that money is being printed a lot faster then gold is being mined. Having some gold in your investment portfolio is not a bad idea (assuming your dealing with the right people), putting all of your money in gold is not so smart.
Tell em the solution to fake gold then already.
1. Get sweaty mitts on one standard gold ingot, and hope it's real because we like pure gold, not fake gold.
2. Turn on computer with dual oscillator and circuit testing program.
3. Test gold ingot in your circuit model, build wave model.
4. Break down gold and manually verify purity to justify your wave model characteristics for pure gold ingot circuit model.
why bother making cheap fake gold when you can have the real thing,
there is a site that sells a device that produces gold from sea water.Wow
im ordering me some of these
Actually, there are simple alloys that will have the exact density of gold. I'm not going to say what they are here, but obviously they exist. There's also the option of layering metals into a core with the correct density before finishing with gold. Unfortunately, good fakes exist. It all depends on who you're trying to fool and for how long.