Today’s article is going to focus on the different valuations of gold. This article is primarily for those of you who have, or plan on dealing with or selling gold jewelry. If this is the case, you may be considering heading over to your local gold for cash hut. As I have been advising here in Summer 2013, please wait! The gold price is bottoming and we shall see higher prices sooner than later. You may want to check out our articles on Selling Gold and Gold for Cash. Let us begin…
If you have your hands on gold jewelry or what is affectionately known today as “scrap gold,” the first thing you need to know is the purity or fineness of your precious. This is measured in karats (also spelled “carats”). You may see a stamp somewhere on the items that will say 14k, 18k, or 24k. The “k” stands for “karat,” of course. [Be aware of the possibility that what is stamped on the item may not be correct. Make sure you have your piece(s) assayed by a professional jeweler if there is some dispute.] Here is a breakdown of the karatage:
14 karat gold
is approximately 58% pure gold. You may see a marking on the gold that says “14k” or “585” or “583” that denotes the percentage of the gold. This gold will be less vivid than the higher grades of gold, but will be more resilient and more resistant to tarnishing. You’ll mainly find this purity of gold here in the US.
18 karat gold
is 75% gold. It may be marked as “18k” or “750”. It is obviously more vivid and more expensive than 14k gold. You’ll see 18k gold in finer grades of jewelry where is alloyed with other metals like silver, copper or nickel in order to make it more resilient
22 karat gold
92.5% gold. is the standard and most commonly seen purity measurement in India and other central Asian countries.
24 karat gold
is pure gold – at least 99.9%. This is the fine gold used in bars and coins. It is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Its vividness is unmistakable, and the 24 karat gold price is befitting of its brilliance.
These are the most common grades of gold. You may also run into 10k gold which is 41.7% gold. Its designation is “10k” or “417.” Any item that contains less gold than this cannot be referred to as “gold”.
For more information about 14k and 18k jewelry, check out our article Should I Buy Gold Jewelry Instead?