Tip #4: Know Your Karats

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In Tips #1-3, we discuss the fundamentals: understanding your gold value, knowing your gold mass, and knowing your gold buyer. These elements will make you more knowledgable when selling gold in Toronto and anywhere else. They help you get the best money for your gold, whether selling to cash for gold, online, or anywhere else. Our next few tips cover and better explain some of the “fine print” points so you can better understand how your gold sale works. These tips are clear methods to prevent fraud, boost returns, and waste less time. Tip #4 is Know Your Karats. What does that mean?

The Karat Count

A karat (also spelled Karet, Karot, Carat, and Caret) is a measuring unit. What does it measure? The purity (also called “fineness”) or the precious metal gold (“Au”). It is broken down on a 24-part scale. One Karat, therefore, is equal to 1/24 fine gold. 24 Karat equals 24/24 fine gold, or 100%. In reality, the highest current retail standard of gold is 99.999% pure gold available from less than a handful of metals refiners, globally.

Common Karats

  • 22 Karat = 91.67% Gold
  • 18 Karat = 75.00% Gold
  • 14 Karat = 58.33% Gold (found mostly in North America, Europe, and Russia)
  • 12 Karat = 50.00% Gold (less common)
  • 10 Karat = 41.67% Gold
  • 9 Karat  = 37.50% Gold (found mostly in England and Germany)
  • 8 Karat  = 33.33% Gold (minimum Standard in)

Karats and Countries

An interesting question we are often asked is “Am I more likely to have a specific Karat in my country?” The answer is “It depends.” Historically, many countries had different standard. Today, that is largely fading away. That said, you can find a short list of some loose principles we have found.

  • Asia has more 22+ Karat Gold with India and China as leaders.
  • 10 Karat Gold, 14 Karat Gold, and 18 Karat Gold are found everywhere, and mostly in North America and Europe.
  • 10 Karat Gold and 14 Karat Gold are common in Russia.
  • 8 Karat Gold and 9 Karat Gold are a minimums standard in many countries, and mostly found in Germany and England.

 

Where Do I Find My Karats?

You can find the Karat of most of your jewellery stamped on or in it. These stamps normally are beside manufacturer hallmarks. See the below photo of a 9 Karat Gold Hallmark.

If you Karat hallmarks are either not present or have been worn off, we recommend spending extra time making sure that you trust your gold buyer and having them establish the karat for you with a series of tests, e.g. the acid test. What you should know is that you are likely to be paid less due to the uncertainty created. We often recommend visiting two or more gold buyers to make sure they give you the same Karat reading.

 

The Practical Reason to Know Your Karats

Really, there are is key reason to know your karats. That is to divide your gold according to the Karat markings. Doing that will simplify the sale, prevent accidents or fraudulent misrepresentations of value, and increase how much you get paid for gold.

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