Pure Gold is Rarely “Pure”

Pure gold also known as fine Gold is rarely used for making items, maybe the odd commemorative coin to be kept away, safe in a box or cabinet but as a rule it is too soft so coins would wear away, jewellery would bend out of shape. Hence before manufacture, other metals are added when Gold is being melted down. The result is an alloy, part gold and part metal where the selling gold prices are calculated accordingly. We still tend to term the metal ‘gold’ even though it is no longer the purest of 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 measured in two bands. Amount per thousand and carat.

9 carat gold is 375 parts Gold and 625 metal equals 37.5% Gold,

18 carat Gold for instance is 750 parts Gold and 25 parts metal which equals 75% Gold.

Many different Gold purities are used around the world, in the UK we use five main categories: 9ct (375); 14ct (585); 15ct (625) up to 1932; 18ct (750) and 22ct (916), plus 950 and 999 though these are not marked in carat since they don’t convert to exact numbers (22.8ct and 23.98ct respectively).

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.

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