To understand gold, you have to address it in layers, since there are so many aspects of it. In our last Brain Food blog, we discuss the different types of gold in gold jewelry. Now, we are going to have a shorter discussion on “gold purity” or a guide on measuring the pureness of gold. Purity is one of the most important things you should consider, especially if you are going to buy gold. How much the gold item is, is directly related to purity. So, to start, how is purity measured?
Gold purity is measured in Karats. Karats are expressed in fractions of 24. If you look at a gold product and see a “K” after it, you will recognize that as karats. If gold is in it’s purest form, you will see 24K. As quoted by source 1, 24K is 99.9% pure! If someone invests in gold and has gold bars, they are 24K as well. 22-Karat gold is still very pure at 91.6%. 18 Karats is 75% gold and is a good choice for gold that will be worn plenty of times. If you’re going out and exposing the gold to different elements, 18K gold is a smart choice. Investing in gold requires at least 22K and up. There are also 9K, 10K and 14K gold. There are also low and high karats. If the karat is lower, the stronger it will be. If it is higher, it will be softer. For example, if you don’t want your gold jewelry to tarnish, you should pick higher karats. See this handy gold purity conversion chart.
Other lists of stamps that can be used to measure gold purity include:
- EPNS– It stands for “Electroplated Nickel Silver”, which is silver plate. In other words, it’s not gold and it’s worthless.
- EPBM: If you see gold marked “EPBM,” go to a different place. This stands for “Electroplated Britannia Metal” which is not gold at all. It is a silver/tin alloy made up of lead, copper or zinc.
- GE: Gold Electroplate. This consists of a base metal, like brass, with a certain thickness of gold electrolytically deposited onto the base.
- GF: Gold Filled. When the gold is heated and pressure bonded to the base metal. It must have a minimum purity of 10K gold.
All of these will help you understand gold as a valuable element and make the right decisions for buying, selling, collecting, etc. We do encourage you to further research the subject if it really interests you. There are plenty of wonderful sources and you can take your pick for what is right for you.