Shopping for Gold – Which Type Should You Choose?

Shopping for Gold
In Two by Somma

Gold jewellery is among the most commonly purchased and preferred gifts all over the globe. For centuries, and even millennia, gold has been highly valued across the different cultures on our planet and is still considered to be one of the most expensive metals. Gold is not only used in jewellery, but also in medicine and as an investment as well.

Given the price of gold, you should really be aware of what exactly you are buying and whether it is worth your money. There are not so much different types of gold, as there are different purity levels, all of which have different characteristics and costs.

Purity of Gold…

The purest gold is 24 carat (k). It is extremely soft and malleable and therefore not preferred for jewellery making. Because of its density and softness, whatever shape it’s formed into can quickly be changed. 24k gold is generally only stored in vaults as investments, or represents the bullion reserves of banks and countries. The price of gold is constantly fluctuating so you need to be aware of the current price before you make a purchase. For example it is now $53.51 per 1 gram of 24k gold, but as you read this article, it is likely to already have changed.

The jewellery industry uses gold of lower purity. Pieces of jewellery can range in carats significantly with the most common pieces from about 12 carats to about 18. To determine how much gold is there in the piece you are planning to buy, all you have to do is divide the carats by 24. So for example if a bracelet is 18 carats, that means that 18/24=0.75, therefore the piece is 75% gold. The other 25% may be copper, silver, nickel, or some other metal which gives the gold strength, thus allowing it to be shaped into a specific form, and a different colour (copper would make it a bit reddish, silver will make it whiter and so on). Depending on the carats and the additives used, jewellery makers can create variously coloured and durable pieces.

Is The Price You Are Paying Fair?

Again, a few simple calculations will help you figure that out. If a gram currently costs $53.51 and the bracelet consisting of 75% gold is 10 grams, then its price should be 75% of $53.51*10, or approximately $400.

Then again, the piece could be only gold plated or filled and there are different measurements used there. A piece of some base metal can be dipped in gold to receive a gold cover. The coatings are extremely thin and only serve to give a golden appearance. These are the cheapest ways to get a piece of golden jewellery but it may lose its coating fast.

Filled gold is something between plated gold and gold of less carats. It is essentially a small piece of a base metal covered with a larger quantity of gold. It is measured in ratios where 1/5 equals 20% gold, 1/10 equals 10% gold, 1/20 equals 5% gold, and 1/40 equals 2.5% gold. These are most commonly used for decorative items or as costume jewellery.

Unfortunately you can always stumble upon counterfeit goods. Some traders resort to dipping junk metals in thin solutions of gold and stamping them with 18k, 14k, etc. To avoid being scammed only shop from respectable jewellers and retailers.


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