Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Understanding Your Gold Jewelry’s “Karat”

Understanding Your Gold Jewelry’s “Karat”

The last few years have seen tremendous growth in the cash for gold business. As the price of gold has continued to climb steadily, so has the popularity of turning unwanted gold jewelry into cold, hard cash… cash that can be used for any number of things, including a well-deserved vacation, or a nice evening out, or even a shiny, new piece of jewelry.

When selling your unwanted jewelry, one of the first things gold buyers will do is determine the “karat”, or purity of your gold piece(s).

While we often associate the value of a gold necklace or 18kt gold tooth gems Australia ring to karats, few of us understand what it actually means. The word itself originates from ancient civilizations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean where “carob” seeds were used to measure the weight of gold.

Essentially, a karat or “carat” (another common term used mainly for diamonds), is a unit of purity for gold. With gold jewelry, a karat will be expressed with a “k” or “kt” and be stamped in really small numbers on your jewelry piece.

Since gold is a soft metal, it has to be combined with other metals like copper to be usable for jewelry. Pure gold is very soft and therefore can be easily scratched and even corroded. To account for daily wear and tear, jewelers will mix copper, silver or zinc to make the gold piece stronger.

Karats are broken into 24 units… a 24 karat piece essentially pure gold. While very shiny, these pieces are in fact pretty rare. Each karat accounts for 1/24 of the whole piece of jewelry.

Most jewelry in the U.S. is 10K, 14K, or 18K. So, for example, a 10K piece will consist of 10 parts of gold and 14 parts of something else, known as an alloy. A 10K gold piece is therefore 41.7% pure. A 14K piece would consist of 14 parts gold, 10 parts alloy and be 58.3% pure.

18kt gold – or 75% pure jewelry – is perhaps the most common.

If you’re selling unwanted jewelry, the karat of the piece(s) you’re selling will be very important in determining how much cash you ultimately receive.

Of course, you can’t always trust the stamp on your gold piece. Enforcing the accuracy of the stamps indicating gold’s purity varies from country to country. Some countries though require a third-party verify the jewelry’s purity before it’s stamped. If a stamp is not accurate, manufacturers and retailers can easily mislead consumers into believing they’re getting a higher purity piece for a really good deal.

Considering the possibility that gold can be stamped incorrectly, legitimate gold buyers will test the purity of your piece before making any offers. There are few different methods available to test gold for its purity, including nitric acid and electronic testing.

While there are some at-home methods to determine if your piece is actually gold – for example, you can try and scratch a piece of glass with your jewelry. If it scratches the glass, then it’s most definitely not gold since the “yellow metal” is much softer than glass, meaning it wouldn’t be able to scratch it.

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