Antique Gold Jewelry

What does “gold purity” actually mean when rated 9K, 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K, and 24K gold?

The fine glow and smooth metallic reflection of gold is both beautiful and valuable. Over the course of human history, it has been universally sought after and valued. It is used to make numerous objects of value, including jewelry, gold bars, coins, medals, flatware, and candlesticks, among others. Those objects have been treasured and handed down through the generations. You may have found yourself in possession of some gold jewelry, medals, flatware or the like, bequeathed to you by a beloved family member. You may have come into some gold coins or gold bars. That being the case, you are probably wondering about the value of the gold. One of the most important factors in determining the value of gold it its purity. In this article we will discuss gold purity by karat.

Antique Gold Jewelry

An explanation of gold purity

To begin with, we should clarify what gold purity means. It starts with pure gold. What is pure gold? Pure gold, not surprisingly, is 99.9% gold and it is not mixed with any other metals. It is 24 karat gold. Gold 24 karat means the highest level of purity. It is rare and very valuable. It is also rather soft. That means it is beautiful but note particularly durable enough to make jewelry with. That is why gold is usually mixed with other metals such as silver and cooper when making jewelry.

Gold purity by karat

We have establish that gold 24 karat means the highest level purity but what are the other karat levels and what do they mean? Basically, the higher the karat lever, the greater the percentage of gold. Karat is the unit used to measure how much gold there is relative to the amount of other metals that have been mixed in. We know that 24 karat (24k gold) means 99.9% gold. The next karat level down is 22 karat, which is 91.6% gold. 22 karat (22k gold) is still too soft to be ideal for stone set jewelry It is often used for plain gold jewelry, like wedding bands. The next karat level down is 18 karat. 18 karate (18k gold) is 75% gold. The gold is blended with other metal alloys for strength and color. Copper is used to make rose gold. White metals are used to make white gold. The next karat level down is 14 karat gold. 14 karat (14k gold) only has 58.5% of gold, it is more affordable. Finally, there is 9 karate gold. 9 karat (9K gold) contains just 37% gold. The means it has a high percentage of other metals. It is stronger and much cheaper to buy.

Testing for gold purity

How can you test your gold and determine what the karat level is? You can use a scratch test. This first thing that you need when you want to use a scratch test on your gold jewelry is a kit for a scratch test. The kit should contain a black slate stone (similar to a knife sharpening stone, various bottles of acid solution, and instructions. There should be one bottle of solution to test platinum, one bottle of solution to test for silver, and several bottles of solutions to test for 22 karat gold, 18 karat gold, 14 karat gold and 10 karat gold. Because you are working with acid, you will want to wear latex gloves. Following the instructions, you will scratch the stone with your gold and use the acid solution to determine if your gold jewelry is 22k, 18k, 14k, or 9k. Now that you know about the purity of your gold, you will be a much better position to know how valuable it is!

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