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 FRACTION refers to the AMOUNT OF GOLD USED TO PLATE THE ITEM, in relation to the OVERALL WEIGHT OF THE ITEM
- 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:
Figure out HOW MUCH GOLD the item contains AND the GOLD PURITY.
Find the Current Gold Price for that specific GOLD PURITY.
Multiply the CURRENT GOLD PRICE (Step 2) with the GOLD CONTENT (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).
Use the Current Gold Price Calculator at GoldJewelryPrices.com 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.
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.
Gold Content = 1/20th of 35.8 Grams = 35.8 / 20 = 1.79 Grams
14K Gold Value (per the calculator at GoldJewelryPrices.com): $22.64 per Gram
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. 🙂