An Introduction to White Gold Jewelry – Plus Specs and Gold Content

White gold jewelry offers an elegant and unique difference from similar jewelry in sterling silver or platinum.  In fact, white gold was initially promoted as an alternative to platinum jewelry, and it doesn’t take long to realize there are many reasons white gold is the better choice.  In this article we’ll look at how yellow gold is made to appear silvery white, the properties this gives, and the ranges of gold content found in white gold.

White Gold

White gold resists tarnish better than yellow gold of the same karat and it has a greater hardness.

White gold alloys initially contained 80% pure gold (just over 19k!), although white gold alloys can span the karat purity spectrum from 10k (41.7% pure) all the way past 18k and to 19.4k (80.8% pure) – the highest karat purity possible for white gold.

It is made by taking a base-metal alloy (usually copper, nickel, and zinc) and mixing it with pure yellow gold in proportion to the desired karat purity.  The percentage of copper used, in relation to the amount of nickel and zinc, can be adjusted somewhat but must fall within a narrow band of “composition limits” in order to achieve white gold.  In general, the lower karat purities (like 10k white gold) will have more copper and less nickel while higher karat purities (like 18k white gold) will have significantly more nickel than copper.

This sliding scale of base-metal composition percentages in relation to the karat purity of white gold also has an effect on the metal properties, most notably: hardness and color.

Nickel is a very hard metal, much more so than copper.  So the more nickel contained in the base-metal alloy portion of white gold, the harder the resulting alloy will be.  This is quite noticeable on higher purities of white gold (18k and above) since the base-alloy portion contains at least 70% nickel at this level.

Platinum and Palladium in White Gold

Especially in vintage and older pieces of jewelry, it was quite common to use palladium or platinum in place of nickel in white gold.  This, again, not only changes the properties somewhat, but should also be considered if you buy and sell scrap gold or are interested in precious metal recovery at all.  Finding older pieces of solid white gold with platinum as a secondary metal can be very profitable indeed!

Hope this gives you a good primer on white gold, with some thirst to learn more.  Thanks for reading!



An Introduction to Colored Gold Jewelry – Solid Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold, etc.

This 14k solid gold pocket watch case demonstrates the color versatility of karat gold alloys.

Gold is yellow, right?  Well sure, pure gold is yellow.  So how can anything other than a yellow metal still be gold?  The answer lies in the karat purity of the gold and which other metals are used to create the specific gold alloy.  Depending on the amount of pure gold used in an alloy, along with the color profiles of the other metals used, a wide range of colored gold alloys can be obtained including white (silver), green, and pink (rose gold).

If it is “SOLID” Gold, then it IS gold… despite the color

One of the beautiful qualities of gold is that it is fairly easy to alloy (mix with) other metals.  Much like mixing different colored paints or clay, mixing different colors of metals together will result in an alloy with colors reflecting the metals that were mixed.  If a whiter/lighter colored gold alloy is desired, more silver or zinc is included in the mix.  If you want more of a red/pink/orange huge, then adding more copper is the answer.

The key here is that solid gold with a known karat purity will have a consistent gold content no matter which color it appears to be.  The gold content is the same, the difference is the OTHER metals mixed into the alloy.

So, for example, a 14 karat white gold necklace will contain a large amount of silver, especially when compared to something like a 14 karat ROSE gold pendant… which will contain much more copper than the necklace.  BUT, both the necklace and pendant are 14 karat solid gold… meaning they both have a 58.3% gold content.  The same percentage of gold is in each piece, but due to the “other metals” used, the resulting colors are vastly different.

Vastly different colors of gold are possible, to an extent…

Since colored gold is a combination of all the metals used in producing a gold alloy, it stands to reason that when less gold content is used (and more of other metals), it becomes easier to change the color of the gold and to do so more dramatically.

This is why you will see much more colored gold in the 10k-14k purity range than you will with jewelry and items that contain more pure gold.  Once you get to 18k solid gold (75% pure), it becomes very difficult to change gold’s natural yellow color, simply because 3/4th of the item is already pure gold and that’s tough to hide by adding only 25% of another metal.
On the other hand, 10k solid gold is only 41.7% pure, and the remaining 58.3% can consist of a variety of different metals, colors, and alloys, making it possible to not only change the color of gold, but also enhance some of the metals other properties such as durability and hardness.

So now you know that colored gold is indeed real gold (as long as it is “solid”), and that it is much easier to make colored gold using lower karat purities like 10 karat and 14 karat gold.  The final point of this article was just touched on, and that is…

Reasons for Colored Gold Jewelry

Besides the stunning beauty and appeal that comes with different colors of solid gold (especially some of the tri-colored pieces), other characteristics of the metal can be altered as well including the hardness and durability.

Pure gold by itself is too soft to make viable jewelry.  By adding other metals into the mix, we can change the color of gold, yes.  But we can also choose secondary metals with desirable qualities like durability and sheen.

By hand-picking the secondary metals, we can produce colored gold and gold with slightly varied properties and characteristics at the same time.

Just one more example of the versatility and inherent beauty of this amazing precious metal.

The Gram vs. Pennyweight Trick Some Gold Buyers Use to Cheat You Out of Money

The number one thing to look for when selling gold jewelry (no matter if you have a single bent earring or a massive hoard of scrap gold) is someone you can trust and is straight-forward and honest. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing small-scale or large, an awful lot of trust is needed between gold buyers and sellers if there’s to be any hope of a fair transaction for everyone involved.

The opposite is also true. If you meet a gold buyer who seems somewhat untrustworthy, and won’t give you straight answers to basic questions, chances are there’s a reason for this mis-trust. After all, you’re basically asking someone to evaluate items of value and then buy those items from you for whatever value they assign. When in doubt, go with your gut!

That brings us to today’s topic: Word misdirection to watch out for… Pennyweight instead of Grams

Note: Not all gold buyers who pay for scrap gold by pennyweight are out to rip you off, this is just one trick that *some* of them use…

One thing I’ve noticed a few scrap gold buyers doing lately is fooling sellers into thinking they’re getting more money by focusing only on the dollar amount paid per unit and either forgetting about the unit of measurement entirely, or at least making it more confusing.

For example:
The majority of gold jewelry sellers are not familiar with many of the terms thrown at them and as such, are on information overload and won’t be able to remember many finer details explained to them by scrap gold buyers.
ONE THING the gold sellers DO REMEMBER, is the DOLLAR AMOUNT PER WEIGHT UNIT (even though they likely don’t remember WHAT the weight unit was).
So if most of the scrap gold buyers in town are paying around $10 per gram for 10k gold jewelry, a nefarious buyer may step in and emphasize how they will pay $12.  Most people focus on the dollar amount and don’t realize the nefarious gold buyer never mentioned the weight unit.  But if he’s paying $12 per pennyweight when others are paying $10 per gram, you’re getting ripped off when you may think it’s the best deal in town.

Grams vs. Pennyweight
Here’s why… it takes over 50% less pennyweight to equal one troy ounce than it does grams.  In other words, there are a lot more grams in an ounce than there are pennyweight so for one ounce of scrap gold, you’d get a lot more $10 payments than you would $12 (per the example above).

Here’s how the conversion breaks down:

1 Troy Ounce is equal to…
  *  20 Pennyweight  *  31.1 Grams

and 1 Pennyweight = 1.555 Grams

In the example above, gold buyers paying $10 per gram are also paying $15.55 per pennyweight, which is a good deal more than the $12 guy.

So the next time you’re selling gold jewelry, pay attention to the weight units used when calculating how much cash you’ll receive.  If the gold buyer wants to pay in pennyweight, and focuses only on a dollar amount while dodging other questions (or providing vague or incomplete answers), my advise is to trust your gut and take your scrap gold elsewhere.

How Much Money Will I Get When Selling Gold Jewelry?

Knowing how much money you can get when selling gold jewelry is a good question, and one that comes up quite often. In this article, we’ll look at this question in-depth, providing you with the knowledge needed to find the right answer for you.

The first thing to note when talking about “gold melt value”, there are many factors to consider but at the end of the day, the amount of money you receive for selling gold jewelry will most likely be a percentage based off of the Gold Melt Value (or scrap value).

Gold Melt Value
Also called “scrap value”, the gold melt value is the value of 100% of the gold content in an item.  The gold value of your jewelry is based off this number but when you want cash in hand, the amount of cash you get can vary greatly depending on how much gold you have and where you sell it.

How Much Gold are You Selling?
Most gold buyers conveniently forget to mention this fact, mainly because mentioning it means more cash out of their pocket and more cash in yours.

The fact is that if you have a lot of gold jewelry to sell (more than a troy ounce of mixed karat gold), you can usually get a better price for several reasons.  First, it’s more cost effective to refine larger batches of scrap gold so most refiners will pay a higher percentage of the melt value for larger amounts of scrap gold.  Second, the gold buyers can’t “cash in” until they’ve accumulated enough scrap gold to meet the minimum requirements of refiners.  As such, they’re motivated to acquire more gold (even if they have to pay slightly more) since more scrap gold means they can cash in sooner and possibly get paid more money as well.

If you don’t have a large amount of gold jewelry to sell, no worries, there are still ways you can make sure to get the most money for your gold.

The following list is a generalization of the types of places that will buy your gold jewelry and approximate cash values they’ll pay.

Pawn Shops
Pawn shops, in general, are consistently at the bottom of the pay scale, in terms of how much cash they pay for gold jewelry and scrap gold.  Keep in mind, these places have lots of bills to pay just to keep the doors open and the lights on.  As such, they require larger margins to operate.  Larger margins for them means less cash for you.
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  20-50% of melt value

High End / Chain / Mall Jewelry Stores
Most jewelry stores will buy scrap gold, although some have disturbingly misleading methods about how they do it (like pushing you to do complex “trade it in” schemes or convoluting the payment terms so it sounds like you’re getting a good deal when you’re not).
But again, payouts and experiences can vary greatly depending on where you live and which stores you choose to visit.
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  30-60% of melt value

Local Jewelers & Jewelry Stores
Many local and/or smaller jewelry stores fit into the category above, as do quite a few independent, local jewelers, but not all of this applies in every situation, so it’s tough to generalize this category.
The truth is, some of the highest paying scrap gold buyers can be found amongst the local jewelers… They have multiple markets and uses for scrap gold and are often willing to pay more.
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold (stores):  30-60% of melt value
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold (Individuals):  30-75% of melt value

Coin Shops
Coin shops usually fall somewhere between pawn shops and in-line-with jewelry stores.  It depends on the shop and who’s running it and again… they have quite a bit of overhead to pay for.
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  30-65% of melt value

“We Buy Gold” Brick-and-Mortar Stores
Similar to individual, local jewelers, the “we buy gold” places can vary greatly in the amount they pay.  Again, look at their overhead and who runs it.  Is it a national chain, or local?  Are they in a high rent location like the mall?  Or is it an individual running it from a small office?
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  30-65% of melt value

“We Buy Gold” – Advertises on TV, Send Your Gold in by Mail
Sounds easy right?  Oh, they make it real easy to send in your gold jewelry.  What’s not easy?  Getting a fair price for your gold jewelry and/or getting your jewelry back.
First, advertising on TV is by far the most expensive form of advertising, it can cost ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY.  They’re trying to make a profit so tons of cash for advertising means almost no cash for you.
If you do send gold jewelry to one of these places, they’ll send you a check, normally around 12-18% of the gold melt value.  If you refuse that offer (again, they’re making it easy to just “cash the check”), then they’ll come back with a second offer, normally around double the first offer.  Seem tempting?  Maybe, until you realize it’s still only 1/3 of the gold value.
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  12-18% of melt value
Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold (If you refuse the first offer):  20-36% of melt value

“We Buy Gold” (Fly by night) Hotel Conventions
We’ve all seen this one… One or two days only, “mega-buyers” are gathered at such-and-such hotel to value your gold jewelry (and/or coin collection)… and pay cash on the spot… And be GONE the next morning.
Let me repeat that so it sinks in… Meet out-of-town strangers at a hotel so they can cherry-pick your valuables and by the time you realize you’ve been had, they’re long pulling the same scam in a distant town.Average Cash Payment for Scrap Gold:  10-25% of melt value

Keep in mind that all “brick and mortar” shops have a good deal of overhead, as do individual jewelers.  So despite all other factors, the amount of money you receive for selling gold jewelry will always have an inverse relationship with the amount of overhead of whoever’s doing the paying.

The other main factor boils down to honesty.  Can you trust the person who’s valuing your gold to be fair and honest?  Will they answer the tough questions or are their answers confusing and mis-leading?

Lastly, if you’re still unsure, shop around.  None of the gold buyers can force you to sell to them, and you won’t have to go to many places before having a general idea of how much your gold is worth and how much cash you can get for it.

How to Find More Gold Jewelry – Don’t Discount “Junk” Jewelry

The title of this article is somewhat vague so let’s just get right to it. If you want to find more solid gold jewelry, always take a second look at the junk jewelry… specifically pendants and bracelet/necklace clasps.

Solid Gold Pendants

Funny enough, quite a few people will take a beautiful, solid gold pendant and put it on a really cheap (sometimes even junky) necklace. When browsing the local thrift stores for gold jewelry, more than once I’ve found nice gold pendants on cheap chains and necklaces. More than once! And each time I find one, I almost miss it! Why? I’m automatically filtering out the cheap/fake jewelry and never take much notice of the pendants (unless the necklace catches my eye first). Not many people do take notice of pendants on cheap necklaces (or charms on cheap charm bracelets for that matter). I think we automatically assume that junky pendants will be on junky necklaces.

Well, let’s stop assuming because if we do, we’re leaving gold behind! Next time you run across junk jewelry at a thrift store, yard sale, flea market, etc, make sure to check the pendants and charms even if they’re on cheap jewelry. If you make this a habit, I guarantee your solid gold finds will increase.

Clasps on Bracelets & Necklaces

Another way I increase the amount of solid gold I personally find every year is by making a point of checking the clasps on bracelets and necklaces. Make a special point of checking (real) pearl necklaces and bracelets as I’ve found countless 14k solid gold clasps with real pearls. Sure, the clasp doesn’t have much gold, but it is real gold, it is out there waiting to be found, and it is usually on the types of jewelry that you can buy for cheap.

Plus, most people miss this sort of thing… meaning that you’ll be able to find more gold because you’ve got the edge and know what to look for when everyone else leaves money on the table.

Note: To tell if the pearls are real or not, rub one across your teeth. Real pearls feel gritty like sandpaper while fake pearls feel slick and smooth like glass or plastic.

How to Find More Gold Jewelry at Garage Sales

Summer is my favorite time of year for many reasons, among them: Garage sales and estate sales are in full force and if you’re armed with a little knowledge and persistence, these sales offer amazing opportunities to make a lot of extra money finding gold jewelry.

Around here, garage sales are everywhere in the summer-time.  Many of these sales have jewelry, and a few always have “good” jewelry like sterling silver or solid gold items.  What’s more, the jewelry (good and junk) is usually priced at “garage sale prices”.  In other words… really, really cheap.

Not only can you find real gold and silver items at yard sales, you can get started making money right away with a laughably small amount of cash out of pocket.  If you’ve got transportation to get to the garage sales, you can make money on gold jewelry even if you’ve only got a couple bucks in your pocket.

Here’s a few tips to help you find more gold jewelry at garage sales

  1. Go Early – Let’s face it, nobody appreciates a doofus ringing your doorbell at 4:30 in the morning, so be respectful, but be ambitious as well.  Time and time again, I’ve seen 90% or more of the good deals at garage sales get snagged up and sold before the advertised starting time.  Some people don’t have patience for early-birds, but most do.  So if you drive by the sale a half hour or so early, chances are they’ll be setting up and won’t mind at all when people show up with cash wanting to buy stuff.
  2. Take Your Time – When garage sales have jewelry, it’s often found at or near the same place the hosts of the sale have set up to take money, make change, and “run” the sale.  As such, it can sometimes be difficult to take a good look at any jewelry for sale, especially if there are a lot of people at the sale.  We all miss stuff, sometimes good, valuable stuff.  So next time you’re at a crowded sale, a sale with TONS of jewelry, or in a hurry to get to the next sale, take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand.  After all, you don’t want to leave a nice chunk of 14k gold priced at a quarter behind…
  3. Ask – Simple as this sounds, it works!  Garage sales are a lot of work involving dozens or even hundreds of items.  Often, whoever is running the sale will forget to put some items out for sale or not have the time to do so.  Just as often, they have stuff they WILL sell, but hadn’t got as far as considering it for the garage sale.  If you don’t see any jewelry at a sale but it’s a good sale… ask if they have any jewelry.  If you’re at a sale with jewelry, ask if they have any more they want to sell.  It doesn’t hurt to ask and sometimes the rewards are plentiful.
  4. Be Persistent – It would be great if we could just hit one garage sale and get a bag full of scrap gold jewelry for a few dollars.  But that doesn’t usually happen and even the best gold jewelry finders have slumps where they don’t find anything good.  Especially when you’re first starting, it may seem discouraging, but don’t let that get to you.  The key to successful “urban treasure hunting” like this is to keep at it because you never know when or where the next gold item will be found.
  5. Shop the Unadvertised Sales – This is one of my favorite tips, and a time-tested way to increase the amount of gold jewelry found at yard sales.  Most garage sales will be advertised in a local paper, online, a “penny pincher” type weekly paper, etc.  This is great if you want to hit a lot of garage sales, but keep in mind these are the same exact sales everyone else is going to as well.
    In the summer-time, people have almost impromptu yard sales, or ones with little/no thought to advertising.  They’ll usually toss a sign or two out at street corners, but unless you happen to drive by, these sales are largely “unknown”.  This means they don’t get as many people, don’t get picked over as quickly, and often times have deals still for sale when the advertised sales have been picked clean hours earlier.  Make a point to stop at these random sales next time you see a sign.

Is it Profitable to Sell Scrap Gold Jewelry on eBay?

This is a question that is often asked, and for good reason.  Many of us who buy and sell scrap gold jewelry on a regular basis are always curious about different ways to maximize profits in order to get more money out of our hard-earned scrap gold.  Unfortunately, the question of whether or not to sell some (or all) of your scrap gold jewelry is not an easy question to answer.

The Short Answer
Yes, No, and It Depends.  Generally speaking, while it may be considered profitable to sell SCRAP gold on eBay (depending on your costs), for the most part it is not worthwhile to sell scrap gold on eBay for one simple reason: You can get as much or more money elsewhere without the risks and headaches.

Notice I used the phrase “scrap gold” twice in a single sentence above, and emphasized the word SCRAP.  This is for good reason, as the rule of thumb above applies mainly to scrap gold, busted and broken pieces of jewelry, dental gold, etc.  Aka, the potential buyers who are interested in these type of gold items are going to be other scrap gold buyers.  So the amount they’re willing to pay for your scrap gold will be limited to less than what a refiner would pay.  And that’s before you factor in the added costs of eBay’s selling fees, shipping/insurance, etc.

So in general, selling scrap gold on eBay can be profitable, but is not worth it when compared to other options.

On the other hand, it doesn’t take long dealing in gold jewelry to see that people sometimes sell really amazing pieces of gold for “scrap”.  If you’re a picker (and “urban treasure hunter”) like me, you may have even found a stunning piece of gold jewelry or three at a local thrift store or yard sale.
That being said, nice, functional, desirable gold jewelry can be sold profitably on eBay and even with the added fees and risk, can still be considered worthwhile.

This brings up another point though… if you’ve got gold jewelry that’s nice enough to sell on eBay, you can likely sell that same jewelry on for as much or more money, less fees, and seemingly less risk.  The advantage of eBay is that for the most part, you can avoid any insertion fees on new listings… So it doesn’t cost any money to “try” and sell some of your scrap jewelry on eBay.

In the end, the choice of whether or not to sell gold jewelry on eBay is up to you, and many gold buyers make the decision on a piece by piece basis.

Whatever you decide, keep your main goals in sight and you’ll figure out the right way to get there.

Happy scrapping!

What to Know About Refining Gold-Plated Jewelry

Melting & Refining Gold-Plated Jewelry

Did you know that you can refine gold-plated jewelry (and make good money doing so)?  Well, you can, BUT… not all gold-plated jewelry is created equal and most of it doesn’t contain anywhere near enough gold to make gold recovery and refining feasible.

While the modern “cheap, gold-electroplated junk” jewelry is rampant, there are still quite a few pieces and types of gold-plated jewelry that DO contain enough gold to economically recover.  These are the types of items to watch for and buy when you can get them for the right price.

First things first.  Refiners deal in BULK, costs, chemicals, equipment, and manpower dictate that they have to deal in BULK because many times it is not profitable to do otherwise.  This is especially true when dealing with gold-plated jewelry.

The amount of gold contained in the gold-plated items that refiners will accept is a very minor amount, especially compared to the usual scrap gold everyone’s used to dealing with.  While scrap gold jewelry can contain 40-75% or more gold, many of these gold-plated items have gold contents as low as 5-10%.

Such a minor amount of gold content in each plated item means you’ve got to make it up by having a whole butt-load of gold-plated items in order for it to be worthwhile (and for any refiner to accept your business).

While each refiner has different requirements, most have a minimum processing amount around 3-ounces (for mixed-karat scrap gold).  If the gold purity in such a shipment averages, say 45%, the refiners basically have a minimum requirement of 1.35-ounces of gold (45% of the 3-ounce mixed-karat minimum).
That being the case, you can assume that refiners have similar minimums for gold-plated items (though quite a few won’t even accept ANY gold plated anything, so check first).
If a refiner is expecting around 1.35-ounces of gold as a minimum shipment, then you’ll likely need to come up with 10-20 times MORE THAN THAT worth of gold-plated items in order to satisfy their minimum requirements.
In experience, I’ve found that only a few refiners will deal with gold-plated items, and since the gold recovered is a small amount compared to the amount of material processed, they usually want even larger minimums than what’s stated here.

Different Types of Gold Plated Items That are Worthwhile

As mentioned earlier, a few gold-plated items are worth keeping and refining, but most are not.  Here we’ll look at the types of items to keep, and what to ignore.

Worth Money:

Any “Fractional Gold-Plated” Item – These items are marked with fractions, example: 1/10th 10k.  This means that 1/10th (or 10%) of the total weight is how much gold was used to originally plate the item.  Of gold-plated items, these are some of the best to buy and make money on since the gold purity, content, and value can be easily determined.  Be wary though, many of these items are old and platings wear off over time and with use.

Examples: Gold Jewelry, Tie Tacks, Pins, Cuff-Links, Eyeglass Frames, Pen/Pencil sets

Most Pocket Watch Cases – These are usually marked with something like “Warranted” or “Guaranteed” along with a gold purity and sometimes the amount of years the warranty or guarantee is valid for.  Usually, the longer the guarantee, the more gold the pocket watch case contains.

Some Wristwatch Cases – Gold-plated wristwatch cases can be a touchy area… some are worth scrapping, some are not… and it can be difficult to tell the difference.  In general, stay away from anything marked “R.G.P” (Rolled Gold Plate) and “H.G.P” (Heavy Gold Plate).


Not Worth Money:

Most all other gold-plated jewelry falls into this category, with few exceptions.

In general, you can ignore gold jewelry with markings similar to these:

GP – Gold Plated
GE – Gold Electroplated
HGE – Heavy Gold Electroplated
HGP – Heavy Gold PlatedWGP, YGP – White Gold Plated, Yellow Gold Plated

When in doubt, leave it out… and that’s surprisingly good advice.  The gold content in plated items is already so minor that adding thinly plated items to your refinery shipment increases the amount of waste metal and makes it more difficult to extract valuable precious metals.

Now that you know a little about spotting good gold-plated jewelry and distinguishing it from the worthless junk, ya better get busy snagging as much as you can if you’re gonna get enough for a shipment and PAYOUT.

All the best!

How to Find the Value of 1/10th 10K Gold – and Other “Fractional Gold Plated” Jewelry Pieces

Fractional Gold-Plated Marking – 1/10th 10k

It doesn’t take much looking through old trinkets like jewelry, pins, cuff-links, even vintage pen and pencil sets, before running across this somewhat confusing gold marking… 1/10th 10K.

Now the markings you’ve seen might not match that exactly, maybe you’ve seen something that said 1/10th 14K, 1/20th 12K, or even the super-confusing, “14K/20” and the like.

All of these markings are in the same category of gold jewelry marks and so we can automatically assume the following:

  • The piece that is marked is gold-plated, NOT solid gold
  • These markings always contain two parts, a FRACTION, and a GOLD KARAT PURITY
  • The KARAT PURITY is an indication of the gold content in the gold used

Say you have a gold-plated tie tack marked “1/10th 10K”, all this really means is that “one-tenth of the total weight IS 10 Karat Gold!”.

On a watch case marked “1/20th 12K”… 1/20th of the weight of the watch case is equal to the amount of 12k gold used to plate the watch case (and thus, the amount of gold it originally contained).

Markings like “14K/20” seem confusing, but this is just another form of the fractional marking “1/20th 14K”.  These “compressed fractional markings” are often found on pieces that have minimal space for any marks at all.


Now that we’ve got some killer knowledge out of the way — we can put all the mumbo-jumbo above together and have the educational foundation to find the value of ANY Fractional Gold-Plated item we come across.


Here’s How to Find the Value of Fractional Gold-Plated Items:

Step 1:
Figure out HOW MUCH GOLD the item contains AND the GOLD PURITY.

Step 2:
Find the Current Gold Price for that specific GOLD PURITY.

Step 3:
Multiply the CURRENT GOLD PRICE (Step 2) with the GOLD CONTENT (Step 1).


Step 1:
The GOLD CONTENT of the item is equal to the fraction marking MULTIPLIED BY the TOTAL WEIGHT of the item.
Example: If a gold-plated pin is marked “1/10th 10k” and the pin weighs 3.1 Grams, the GOLD CONTENT is 1/10th of 3.1 Grams or 0.31 Grams (of 10k Gold).

Step 2:
Use the Current Gold Price Calculator at to quickly find out the current melt value of a specific gold karat purity.  Find the value of 1 GRAM of whatever purity is marked on the item.
Example: If the item is marked “1/10th 10k”, use the calculator linked above to find the current value for 1 GRAM of 10K Gold.

NOTE: Gold Price and Gold Weight should be designated in the same weight unit.  I normally stick with GRAMS when weighing and valuing gold jewelry since it is easy and straightforward.

Step 3:
MATH, YAY!  Ok, this is easy… take the GOLD CONTENT from Step 1 and MULTIPLY it by the GOLD VALUE from Step 2.
Example: As I write this, 1 GRAM of 10K Gold is worth $16.18.  If we have 0.31 Grams of 10K Gold (Step 1) and 10K Gold is worth $16.18 per gram (Step 2), we have:

0.31 Grams of 10K Gold  x  $16.18 per Gram  = ~ $5.02 Gold Value


Here’s another quick example…

Say you’ve got a pocket watch case.  It’s marked “1/20th 14k” and weighs 35.8 Grams.

Step 1:
Gold Content = 1/20th of 35.8 Grams  =  35.8 / 20  =  1.79 Grams

Step 2:
14K Gold Value (per the calculator at $22.64 per Gram

Step 3:
1.79 Grams x $22.64 per Gram  =~  $40.53


Who knew there could be SO MUCH GOLD in a pocket watch case!  Now you can see the beauty and power of knowing how to calculate the gold value in fractional-plated items.  You also know why I’ve spent so much time explaining the finer details… This is a very powerful and PROFITABLE tool to have in your gold scrapping arsenal.

So now you can figure out the gold value in all sorts of gold-plated items.  I hope this opens up a new world of possibilities for you.  🙂

Happy Hunting!


Gold Jewelry Info – What is the Difference Between Carat and Karat?

Carat vs. Karat, what’s the difference? This is a question asked by many when it comes to jewelry and at first glance may seem confusing… but it doesn’t have to be.

The short answer is that carat (with a “c”) is a measurement of weight and is usually associated with precious gemstones while karat (with a “k”) is a measure of the purity of gold, usually associated with gold jewelry. So now that you know, here’s a more in-depth answer…

As mentioned above, Carat is a measurement of weight (and not a measurement of size, as one might have assumed). Although the size of an object contributes to it’s weight, carats refer only to the weight of something regardless of size.
Carats are used in conjunction with precious gemstones (like sapphires, rubies, etc) and are most commonly associated with diamonds. If you’re curious, 1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams… which means that saying you have a 5 carat ruby is the same as saying you have a 1 gram ruby. So the next time you see a 1 carat diamond, remember that’s referring to the weight of the diamond, not the size.

Karat describes the purity of gold and is most commonly used when describing gold jewelry. Because pure gold is very soft and not very durable (not to mention expensive!), jewelry made of pure gold isn’t very practical. Instead, pure gold is mixed with other metals like copper, silver, and/or zinc to form a gold alloy that makes for a stronger, more durable piece of jewelry (and it is more affordable as well). So “karats” simply tells you how much pure gold was mixed with other metals to form the specific piece of jewelry in question.

Karats are defined on a number scale from 8 to 24 with 24 karat meaning pure gold and anything less meaning less than pure gold. In the United States, 10 karat is the lowest purity gold that jewelers can make and still call their jewelry “solid” gold. In Europe and other parts of the world, it’s possible to find 8 or 9 karat gold.

To find out how much gold is in a piece of jewelry, simply take the number of karats and divide it by 24. This means that 12 karat gold contains 50% pure gold (it is ½ gold… 12 divided by 24). And 18 karat gold contains 75% pure gold (18 divided by 24) while 10 karat gold contains 41.67% pure gold (10 divided by 24). Remember… the higher the number of karats, the more pure gold is contained in the jewelry.

So there you have it… the differences between carats and karats. Carats means weight and karats means gold purity. Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article informative.