The Purity of Gold

To sell gold you first need to understand the gold content of your item surely? Not as obvious a question as at first may well seem! So...............

Pure gold, 24 carat also recognised as fine gold is rarely used for making items, perhaps the odd commemoration coin to be locked safely securely in a box or cupboard but as a rule it is too soft to be used as a gold coin to be in circulation or handled regularly!  In fact coins would wear away, jewellery would easily twist out of shape. Prior to manufacture, other metals such as alloys are added when gold is in the melting pot to enable the item to be resistant against every day usage... The result is an alloy, part gold and part metal. We still tend to term the metal ‘gold’ even though it is no longer in a sense pure gold. We do, however, qualify the word ‘gold’ by stating the purity – the ‘standard’ to which the gold has been refined, also referred to as ‘the standard of fineness’ or simply ‘the standard’ – all these terms mean ‘purity’.

Purity is calculated in 2 bands - Carat and amount per thousand (%).

9 carat gold is 375 parts gold and 625 alloy metal which is equal to 37.5% of pure gold, 18 carat gold for instance is 750 parts gold and 25 parts metal which equals 75% Gold. Simples!

Many different gold purities are used around the world, in the UK we use five main categories: 9ct (375); 14ct (585); 15ct (625); 18ct (750) and 22ct (916), plus 950 and 999 though these are not marked in carat since they don’t convert to exact numbers for instance 22.8ct and 23.98ct

Silver purity is measured in parts per thousand only. In the UK we use 800 silver, 925 (Sterling Silver), 958 Silver and 999 pure’ silver.

So there you have it, in case you were wondering about exactly how much pure gold is held within my jewellery and maybe what the corresponding marks mean, you now know and you can also work out the cash for gold prices currently on offer!

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