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What Does Karat Mean for Gold?

25 Jul Posted by in Gold | Comments
What Does Karat Mean for Gold?

Understanding the Different Purities of Gold

Karat represents the amount of gold in your jewelry. Pure gold is 24kt or 24 karat gold. This means that it is 99.9% gold. From there, gold is most commonly found in 22, 20, 18, 14, and 10kt varieties, each representing out of 24 parts, how much gold is in the metal. Ex: 14kt gold is 14 parts out of 24 parts gold or 14/24 or 58.5% gold. Below is a list of some of the others:

  • 24kt: 99.9%
  • 22kt: 91.6%
  • 20kt: 83.3%
  • 18kt: 75%
  • 14kt: 58.5%
  • 10kt: 41.7%

Any gold that is less than 10kt is not considered gold in US markets and cannot be sold as such.

Fun fact: Karat comes from hundreds of years ago when gold was used as currency. In those times, gold was weighed against a carob seed, from which the word karat is derived. In the 16th century, karat was formally adopted as a scale for the purity of gold.

Why Isn’t All Gold 24kt?

Gold is mixed with various alloys to give it strength and durability. Gold in its pure form is very soft. Jewelry made out of gold in this form would bend, scratch, and otherwise damage very easily. To solve this problem, gold is mixed with various metals (aka alloys) to make it last longer. As the karat of the gold decreases, the strength of the piece increases.

In the US, most gold you will find will be 10 or 14kt gold. This allows for a beautiful color as well as the durability to last for years without bending or damaging. In Europe, 18kt gold is the most popular, owing to its stronger gold color.

Other countries have their own gold standards for jewelry.

  • China: 24kt
  • India: 22kt
  • Portugal: 19.2kt

Valuing Gold

The value of gold varies depending on the karat. Gold with a higher karat value is worth more than gold with a low karat value. All solid (non-plated) gold jewelry and other items are valuable.

If you’re located in Tucson and would like to look up the current value of your gold by karat, check out the Tucson Gold Prices chart which lists the current rate we are paying for gold by karat in Tucson, AZ. You can also calculate the value of your item(s) using the Tucson gold value calculator.

Selling Your Gold in Tucson, AZ

Would you potentially like to sell your gold in Tucson, AZ? We’re a local Tucson Gold Buyer and would like the opportunity to evaluate your gold and offer you a great price.

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