What Does “Karat” Mean?
You have gold jewelry. But how valuable is it?
That value depends heavily upon the purity of the gold, or is “karat.”
You will often see the terms “karat” or sometimes “carat” used to describe the purity of gold (“carat” is also used to measure the weight of gemstones). The word dates back to ancient times in the Middle East and Mediterranean when carob seeds were used to measure the weight of gold.
When pure, gold is the softest metal in the world. Since it is important that the metal be strong and keep its shape, pure gold is not ideal for making jewelry. That is why gold is often combined with copper, silver or zinc to make it stronger for use in jewelry.
Pure gold is 24K – nearly 100% gold. It is very rare for jewelry to use pure gold. In most cases, the gold in your jewelry is mixed with copper, silver or zinc – the alloy. The percentage of gold to its alloy is what determines its purity.
In the U.S., most gold jewelry is 10K, 14K or 18K. A 10K ring is 10 parts gold to 14 parts alloy – or 41.7% pure. Jewelry that has 14K gold is 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy, or 58.3% pure. If you have two rings of equal weight – one that is 10K and one 14K – the 14K ring would be more valuable.
Not All Stamps are Accurate
Your jewelry is stamped “18K” so that’s what it is, right? Unfortunately, not always. Laws are different from country to country when it comes to enforcing the accuracy of these stamps. Not all countries – the U.S. included – actively pursue manufacturers that provide misleading stamps. Some countries require a third party to verify the gold purity of jewelry before it is stamped. Without that third party, manufacturers and retailers can try to mislead consumers by misrepresenting the quality of the gold or making customers believe they are getting a better deal than they are for their jewelry.
How Cash4Gold Tests Gold
Determining the purity level of your gold is extremely important to Cash4Gold. Because of that, Cash4Gold uses three state-of-the art testing methods to verify gold purity: x-ray fluorescence scan, electronic tester and the commonly used acid/scratch test.
Want to get cash for your gold or jewelry? Simply fill out the form to the right to request your FREE Jewelry Return Pack now!