☆ Gold purity: Carats and Fineness.

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Typically, gold is graded by the “carat”. 24 carat gold being the finest and 1 carat being the most impure. Every wondered the true gold content of 9 carat gold, 14 carat gold, 18 carat gold and more?

The table below shows gold purity next to gold carats. Gold will often be mixed with “filler metals” such as silver and copper to combat the softness of pure 24 carat gold. Carats (Karats): Carats express the proportion of gold to other metals in parts of 24. In this system, 24 carat gold is considered pure gold, with the figures decreasing as the carat value decreases. For example, 9 carat gold consists of nine parts gold and fifteen parts other metals, making it 37.5% pure gold. The carat system originated with a medieval coin called a mark, where pure gold was too soft to be used, so it was alloyed with other metals. The purity of gold is expressed as the number of parts of gold in the alloy out of 24 parts.

The value of gold is often expressed in terms of carats, which is a measure of purity. The higher the carat, the purer the gold. Here is a breakdown of the relationship between gold carats and purity:

  • 24 carat gold is 100% pure gold
  • 22 carat gold is 91.6% pure gold
  • 18 carat gold is 75% pure gold
  • 14 carat gold is 58.3% pure gold
  • 9 carat gold is 37.5% pure gold

The price of gold is typically determined by the weight of the gold and the purity of the gold. For example, if you have a 1 gram piece of 18 carat gold, it would be worth 75% of the price of a 1 gram piece of 100% pure gold.

Gold Carats Explained: Real gold content by purity [%]

CaratGold Content [Purity]
24 carat gold99%
22 carat gold91.6%
21 carat gold87.5%
20 carat gold83.3%
18 carat gold75.0%
15 carat gold62.5%
14 carat gold58.5%
10 carat gold41.7%
carat gold37.5%
8 carat gold33.3%
1 carat gold4.2%
*Table showing gold carats next to gold purity

What is the minimum purity level for gold to be considered pure?

The minimum purity level for gold to be considered pure is 99.9%, which is equivalent to 24 carats. This level of purity signifies that the gold is almost entirely free of impurities, making it the closest to pure gold that can practically be achieved. In common terms, pure gold is denoted as 999 or 999.9 fineness, not 1,000 fineness, due to the technical limitations of completely removing all other materials from the gold.

Determining the purity of gold is a crucial step when assessing its value and authenticity. Among the various purities of gold, 24-carat gold stands out as the purest form, consisting of 99.9% gold content. Recognized for its dazzling brilliance and timeless allure, 24-carat gold is often used in the creation of high-quality jewelry and precious items. Whether you’re a prospective buyer or a curious owner, understanding how to verify the purity of 24-carat gold is essential to ensure you’re dealing with the real deal. In this guide, we’ll explore reliable methods for accurately assessing the authenticity and purity of 24-carat gold, helping you make informed decisions and safeguard your investments in this precious metal

To check the purity of 24 carat gold, there are several methods that can be used.

Here are some ways to check the purity of 24 carat gold:

  1. Acid Testing: This is the most reliable method to check the purity of gold. You can purchase a gold testing acid kit comprising hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. Rub your piece of jewellery on a black stone similar to the jeweller’s stone and add nitric acid to the mark. If the mark disappears, it is pure gold, but if it stays, it is not pure gold.
  2. Hallmark Test: You can use the hallmark test to check gold purity at home without spending anything. Look for a hallmark stamp on the jewellery, which indicates the purity of gold. A hallmark stamp of 24K indicates that the gold is pure. Look for hallmark markings or stamps on the gold item. Pure gold jewelry is often marked as “24K” or “999,” indicating 99.9% purity. These markings are typically accompanied by the manufacturer’s mark or a country-specific hallmark.
  3. Magnet Test: Gold is a non-reactive and non-magnetic metal. Therefore, you can use a magnet to check the purity of gold. If the gold is attracted to the magnet, it is not pure gold.
  4. Skin Discoloration Test: This is one of the easiest methods of testing gold purity. Real gold won’t leave any stains or spots on your skin. However, if you are allergic to certain metals, this test may not be reliable.
  5. X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analysis: A professional can use an XRF analyzer to provide precise information about the composition and purity of the gold item. This method is highly accurate and is often used by jewelers and appraisers.
  6. Professional Appraisal: Seek the expertise of a certified appraiser or a reputable jeweler who can evaluate the gold item using various testing methods and provide a reliable assessment of its purity.

It is important to note that 24K gold is too soft to be used for jewellery, so it is usually alloyed with other metals to make it more durable. Therefore, the purity of gold in jewellery is usually less than 24K.

Which gold is better, 18k or 24k?

The choice between these options hinges on the intended purpose for the gold. While 24K gold is quite soft and used for delicate applications like gold leaf decoration, 14K to 18K gold, containing harder metals, is favored for jewelry due to its durability and varied colors. In electronics, gold alloys are chosen for conductivity and corrosion resistance, and even as a radiation shield. The decision depends on the intended use—18K gold is preferable for jewelry due to its strength compared to the deformable nature of 24K gold, which, while valuable, is better suited for collecting and monetary purposes.

When comparing 18k and 24k gold, there are several factors to consider. Here is a breakdown of the differences between the two.

What make 18k Gold better:

  • Purity: 18k gold is 75% pure gold and 25% other metals.
  • Durability: It is harder and stronger than pure 24k gold due to the presence of other metals.
  • Price: 18k gold is generally more expensive than 14k and 10k gold because of its higher purity level.
  • Skin Irritation: Jewelry made with 18k gold has less risk of causing skin irritations or allergic reactions.

What make 24k Gold better:

  • Purity: 24k gold is 99.9% pure gold.
  • Softness: It is softer and more malleable compared to 18k gold.
  • Resale Value: 24k gold tends to have higher resale value, making it a good option for investment or heirloom pieces.
  • Price: 24k gold is usually more expensive than 18k gold due to its higher gold content.

The choice between 18k and 24k gold depends on your preferences and needs. If you prioritize durability and lower risk of skin irritation, 18k gold may be a better option. On the other hand, if you value higher purity and potential resale value, 24k gold may be more suitable.
The measurement of gold purity is indicated in karats (distinct from gemstone carats), along with the term “fine.” Pure gold is designated as 24 karats (24K), containing 100% gold without any additional metals. Another measurement, “999 fine” gold, nearly achieves this purity and dates back to the 1800s when it was used in currency-traded gold ingots. Gold with a lower karat rating is a blend of gold and other metals, where a lower number indicates a lower gold content.

The softness of 24kt gold is a myth to a large degree.

I have 24kt Pamp bars in various sizes that I have had tested for purity so I know they are real. I have tested the 1-gram bars for softness…I cannot bend them by hand, cannot scratch with a fingernail, etc. On the Moh’s hardness scale you can see that gold is on par with sterling silver. Not saying 24kt gold is as hard as 14kt… but it is not metallic play-doh like people seem to think. That 58.3% is by weight, it’s only about 35% by volume. 18K is 75% by weight, a bit over 50% by volume. Another fun fact, if you put the 18K in the oven for 1 hour at 550°F, it’ll be harder than 14K.

Exactly, how soft is 24k gold in jewellery?

I’ve heard people mention it can be easily bent or dented with a fingernail. But gold isn’t as soft as some say. Sure, fine details can get a bit squished over time – that’s called “peening.” So, if you’re hands-on, maybe skip a super detailed 24K gold ring. And don’t go for a diamond set in high prongs of pure gold either. No chance you can take a bite out of it and leave teeth marks like with a pencil. I gave it a shot. Well, turns out, you can actually dent 24K gold with your teeth. Yup, unfortunately, you really can. I even managed to scratch it with my thumbnail.
But, to set the record straight, it’s not as delicate as getting dented with a fingernail. Proper smithing does the trick; work-hardened rings keep their shape. That whole “too soft” thing? Just a myth, probably spread by lazy jewelers or those looking to jack up prices by cutting corners.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, a fingernail rates 2-2.5 (a cat’s claw is 2.5), while 24k gold falls between 2.5-3, making it resistant to scratches but not impervious. Tooth enamel, with a hardness of 5, can indeed leave a dent.
Wearing 24k jewelry, especially necklaces and bracelets, is generally okay. However, rings, especially those at 18k and above, might show signs of wear, particularly if subjected to heavy labor. For office settings, 24k is usually fine, despite some misconceptions. The idea is not that you can’t wear 24k, but jewelers often advise against it due to its relative softness. In practical terms, everyday activities can lead to scratches, dents, and warping over time, especially if you’re rough on your jewelry.
While some argue that 24k gold can withstand daily use, the consensus leans towards opting for a lower karat for increased durability. Lowering the karat doesn’t drastically alter the appearance, as skilled mixing of metals enhances the gold’s color. It’s a matter of personal preference; if you choose 24k, be mindful of potential damage, but ultimately, it’s your money and your gold. Wear what makes you feel good, and enjoy the journey with your jewelry.

How does the pawn shop find out if 14k gold is 14k gold?

Hundreds of people pawn and sell gold to pawn shops all the time but i m just curious how can the pawn shop tell if it’s what it is?

They test it. Some shops use acid, the better shops use an electronic tester that will not damage the item. The K value of the gold is engraved on the jewel. One other thing, Let’s say you’ve paid $2,000 for a diamond ring at a jewelry, how much do you think their cost was? About $500. When it comes to pawn it, how much do you think you’d get? Lucky if you get $300, likely $200.

90% vs .9999 Gold: Which Is Better?

90% vs .999 Gold: What Are the Advantages of Buying .999 Gold Bullion Over Old 90% Gold Coins for Melt Value, Especially Older Mexican Pesos?

The 90% coins, being a gold alloy, offer enhanced durability with fewer scratches and dings, albeit with a less pure “gold” appearance. Personally, I prefer 24k gold, but within this community, many individuals opt for 22k bullion, a choice that’s perfectly valid. In certain countries, particularly in Asia, there’s a tendency to favor gold that’s 99.9% pure or higher, often shunning gold with added metals like copper. While the preference for 99.9% gold makes sense logically, in reality, the approximately 90% gold content sells well and is often available at a few percentage points below melt value. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but its .9999 gold composition also ensures durability with minimal susceptibility to scratches. Handling it doesn’t pose much concern for potential damage. If you’re considering other high-purity gold coins, some widely recognized options include the Canada Gold Maple Leaf (99.99% purity), Chinese Panda (99.9% purity), Austrian [Vienna] Philharmonic (99.99% purity), Australian Gold Nugget (99.99% purity), and American Buffalo (99.99% purity).

What other metals are present in .9999 gold?

Gold labeled as “9999” denotes an 99.99% purity level in commercial gold. Essentially, this grade signifies that the gold contains exceedingly minimal impurities, constituting only about 0.01%. Commonly, these trace impurities encompass a blend of various elements, with silver, copper, platinum, and traces of other metals being the usual suspects found in gold alloys.

Gold jewelry production can indeed introduce impurities due to smaller-scale refining processes. Depending on the refining methods used, a range of metals like zinc, copper, nickel, iron, cadmium, aluminum, silver, lead, and platinum group metals such as platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium, ruthenium, and iridium may be present in the final product.

Using a Shimadzu EDX-7000 energy dispersive XRF spectrometer to analyze an 9999 pure gold necklace at a local college’s materials sciences lab gave interesting results. The analysis detected trace amounts of scandium (Sc) at 0.02%, chromium (Cr) at 0.012%, neodymium (ND), and samarium (SM) each at 0.012%. These traces of elements, while present in small quantities, showcase the sensitivity of the equipment and the minute impurities that might exist even in high-purity gold jewelry.

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