Review, test results and technical details of electronic gold tester.
We have the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 for sale, £429.00 including VAT.
Scroll down or click here to see GemOro AuRACLE AGT2
our guide to gold
Summary (scroll down for review)
This is the best electronic gold tester (apart from XRF testers at about £12,000.00) - and compared with XRF testers, the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 really is a low-cost tester that works well.
So how does this compare with the many 'cheapie' electronic gold testers at under £200.00? It's brilliant!
The GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 is the only electronic gold tester (apart from XRF) that is faster to use than the traditional acid test. Typically, a test for 9ct takes 2 or 3 seconds (up to 10 or 15 seconds for high carat). Compare this with other testers (both acid-only and electronic) which are fiddly and can take over a minute per test. This DOES make a difference if you have 20 items to test and a queue of customers.
You do have to regularly calibrate the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1, but this takes less than 10 seconds, there is no other preparation (apart from filing the item).
Unlike other electronic testers, there is no contact fluid made of acid, there is no messy gel to clean up after each test. The GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 uses a probe containing a simple salt solution.
The probe will last for thousands of tests (the manufacturers say 5000, some of our users say it's less than 1000, maybe they aren't replacing the cap tightly!) - and replacement probes are not expensive.
Also tests platinum / Palladium.
Included with the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 machine and probe: 14ct calibration sample, diamond-coated needle file, case.
Review (based on carrying out several hundred tests) - are the claims true?
That it is the
best electronic gold tester (apart from XRF etc) and much better than
the standard liquid / gel electronic testers.
That the item must be filed before testing
TRUE. The GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 will not test through plating, the item must be filed first (a diamond-coated needle file is included).
That OTHER electronic gold testers are advertised as 'non destructive'
They are advertised as 'non destructive but, FALSE - this is not correct, the item must be filed. Although they will test through very thin plating (because contact fluid / gel is acid and will burn through the plating), it might be heavily plated - you don't know, that's why you are testing it! So you always have to file the item before testing.
We have also spent a few hours testing the latest handheld XRF machine and found that it too will only test through very thin plating, in other words, even if you spend £12,000.00 you must file the item before testing. The Assay Office use a more powerful XRF machine (not handheld) which cost £45,000.00 - it cannot test through heavy plating.
That the GemOro
AuRACLE AGT1 is the only electronic gold tester
(apart from XRF) that is faster to use than the traditional acid test.
Each test takes 2 to 5 seconds, much quicker than using acids
Each time it is switched on It takes about a minute to 'charge' the probe then several seconds to calibrate it, and the calibration doesn't usually work the first time so you have to do it again, and probably a third time, and altogether this adds up to about 2mns. It IS all very easy (just one button to press!) but it can be frustrating if you're out buying and want the machine to be ready in a couple of seconds rather than a couple of minutes. But you only need to do all this each time it is switched on - so if you work from a permanent address with electricity, get the mains adaptor, plug it in, leave it switched on, problem solved.
A special calibration sample of 14ct gold is required and this is not included in the price
TRUE AND FALSE. True, you need to calibrate the machine before each use. False - because we DO include the calibration sample. But most other suppliers don't, they leave it to you to find a 14ct sample (if it's not exactly 14ct, your machine will never work!)
That the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 is as accurate as acids.
PARTLY TRUE. Up to about 15ct or 16ct it is as accurate as acids, but it struggles to distinguish between 18ct and 22ct, or 22ct and 24ct, whereas acids are particularly good at testing high carat.
In practice, this is rarely a problem. If you have a diamond ring which you know (because of your experience with jewellery) should be 18ct, and it tests as 22ct range, you will know that it is 18ct; if you have a 22ct gold coin and it tests as 24ct, you will know (because of your experience with coins) that it must be 22ct. As with any tester for anything (gemstones, paintings, bank notes...anything) you must start with some experience in the subject.
The reason for the variations is that gold is mixed with other metals (the 'mixture' is called an 'alloy'); copper and nickel in the alloy drive the readings downwards; palladium and platinum drive the readings upwards.
We tested several hundred tiny gold links from 1920s-1950s watch bracelets, few of them were marked, none of them were hallmarked, most of them were 9ct. Then we had the lot melted and assayed (chemically analysed). The difference between our results and the assay result was just under 1%. This was a big surprise, the bullion dealer was so impressed that he asked which tester we were using that could possibly be more accurate than acids! HOWEVER, this remarkable accuracy was because I was testing mostly low carat, and because I was calibrating it every few tests.
That with OTHER electronic gold testers (excluding XRF) you never know if the reading is being rounded up or down.
TRUE. Other electronic testers will have between five and nine lights to indicate the different carats, but you will never know if the machine is rounding the answer up or down. So if, for instance, an item reads 12ct, you won't know if it's really 9ct or 14ct. The GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 has a row of 32 lights, . The same 'rounding, applies to the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 but with 32 lights the final reading is more accurate - with the exception of 18ct to 14ct (scroll to bottom to see a picture, to see how the lights are arranged).
That the probe will last for up to 5000 tests
POSSIBLY TRUE. "Up to" means that you must remember to replace the cap firmly after use, otherwise it will dry out, and logic tells me that if you are testing hundreds of items per day, the cap will be removed for a few hours per day, and will dry out quickly.
That the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 also tests for platinum
MOSTLY TRUE. There is a light to indicate platinum, but the reading is always hesitant, with the lights alternating between 'platinum' and 'probe not making contact'. But when it does settle on 'platinum', it means it's platinum. If it reads 'platinum' immediately, it's Palladium...probably. That's not very good, it puts doubt into the mind of the user, and this makes the GemOro AuRACLE AGT1 'unreliable' for testing platinum.
The GemOro AuRACLE AGT2 consists of a probe, a testing plate, a small box of electronics, connecting leads, and a large-ish fitted case. You connect it to a 'mobile device' (smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc.), so you already have most of the hardware.
You download the instructions and the app. from the manufacturer's website. I will do that as soon as I can get hold of a smartphone (I don't have one!). Meanwhile, I have feedback from two customers.
The first spent three weeks trying to get it to work, it turned out that his particular model of phone simply wouldn't recognise the device. So now we know that it doesn't work on a Samsung Galaxy s3 mini, model GT18190, running Android V.4.1.1. The customer then used another phone and reported that he was very pleased with the AGT2.
The second customer wrote:
Just wanted to say how pleased I am with the latest AGT2 which I received this morning...OK it doesn't look much for the money, but hey, this does exactly what it says on the tin. Tested 20 items of hall marked gold of varying grades and gave me a correct readout EVERY time. I recommend using the analog dial readout in the UK as it recognises 9ct rather than the other dial which only recognises 10k or higher. All in all an amazing tool. Definitely worth the extra money.
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QUICKTEST, Watford, WD18 8PH, Tel. 01923 220206, email info(at)quicktest.co.uk