How to Grade Gold Scrap

How to Grade Gold Scrap
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Gold grades refer to the karat, or purity, of the gold, and this determines the value of the gold and its sale price. Scrap gold consists of a piece of metal that contains some gold. Scrap gold can come in a variety of forms, including jewelry, fillings, nuggets, and even some electronic devices. Scrap gold is graded based on the percentage of gold in the metal, which determines the karat of the scrap gold. The grade is reduced when gold is mixed with less valuable metals.


Determine the karat of the scrap gold to find out the gold grade; the purer the gold, the higher the grade. Karat classifications ranges include 1K, 6K, 8K, 14K, 18K, 22K and 24K, which is pure gold.

Get a gold testing kit to test the purity of the scrap gold. The kit contains a testing stone, acidic testing solution and test needles. It can be purchased online or from a pawn shop, jeweler or coin store.

Clean the gold if necessary, and put on rubber gloves before testing the scrap gold.

Decide which grade you will test the scrap gold for; you'll use the test needles to determine the karat. There are 10K, 14 K, 18K and 22K test needles.

Make a small scratch on the testing stone with the testing needle associated with the grade you are testing for. For instance, if you're trying to determine whether a piece of scrap gold is 18K grade, use the 18K test needle.

Take the piece of gold and make a scratch on the stone, near the scratch that was made with the testing needle.

Use the corresponding testing solution in the test. For instance, the 18K testing solution has to be used with the 18K needle.

Apply a small drop of the solution onto both scratches; this will cause a reaction with the gold deposits on each scratch.

Observe the color of the scratches. If the colors are similar, then this is an indication of the grade or karat of the gold. If the colors are dissimilar, keep testing for the other karats.

Look for a match between the colors of the scratches to determine the grade of the scrap gold. For instance, if the scrap gold has a grade of 18K, there should be a match between the colors in the scratches made by the scrap gold and the scratches made by the 18K needle when the 18K solution drops are placed on the scratches.