What’s gold weighed in? Is it in karats or ounces? Or can you measure it in grams or pennyweights?
Well, it can be measured using all of those units of measurements. It depends on your preference and whether you are interested in the weight or purity of gold.
Measuring the Purity of Gold in Karats
Gold’s fineness or purity is measured in karats (or carat (K), depending on which part of the world you come from) when alloyed with other metals. Common caratage include 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K and 24K.
Pure gold has 24 karats and is considered to be approximately 100 percent at that purity level. Each karat is 1/24th of a whole, or 4.1667 percent.
For example, suppose you have a bracelet categorized as 10 karats. This means it consists of 10 parts gold and 14 parts of alloying metal. That also equals 41.6667 percent gold. On the other hand, if your wedding ring is rated 18 karats, it contains 18 parts gold and six parts of alloying metal. That is also equal to 75 percent gold.
Why Gold Karatage Differs
Typically, pure gold is pretty soft, and thus warps and bends easily. As a result, it is highly unsuitable for any item, such as jewelry, which needs to retain its shape. That is why it is mixed with other alloying metals.
Gold is also easily scratched. To prevent it from getting scuffed easily or losing its shine, it’s mixed with other metal alloys that will make it stronger and more resistant to scratches.
Also, the brightness of pure gold may be too much for many people. Metal alloys are used to reduce gold’s brightness to more acceptable levels.
In addition, gold is very expensive. A piece of 22-karat gold jewelry has twice as much gold as a 10-karat one. And it will probably be twice as expensive.
You can see why it makes more sense to use alloying metals like silver or copper to cut the costs of manufactured gold items while imbuing them with their strengths simultaneously. But the karatage will vary, depending on the kind of product you are looking for and its functionality.
It is worth noting that the U.S. requires items to be at least 10K to legally qualify as gold.
Measuring the Weight of Gold in Grams
Gold can also be measured in grams. Typically, one karat of gold is one fifth of a gram. So, it is divided by five to get 0.2 grams.
That means you can find the total weight in grams by multiplying 0.2 grams by each karat. For example, 10K gold is equal to two grams.
A karat is also equivalent to 200 milligrams. That is because there are 1,000 milligrams to a gram.
Measuring the Weight of Gold in Ounces
You could calculate the weight of gold in both ounces and Troy ounces. Typically, an ounce (oz.) refers to 28.35 grams. On the other hand, the Troy ounce (t oz.) refers to 31.103 grams.
These two units of measurement may be used when weighing gold bullion, but the latter is the more commonly used term in the gold market world. Using the former unit of measurement may cause market losses since your final calculations may be as much as 10 percent off the mark.
Smaller gold traders tend to use 100-Troy-ounce bars, while large-scale gold traders tend to operate using 400-Troy-ounce bars.
Measuring the Weight of Gold in Pennyweight
A pennyweight (DWT) is 1/20th of Troy ounce, which means 20 pennyweights make up one Troy ounce. That translates to 0.05 t oz.
So, a pennyweight of gold represents about 1.555 grams of gold. You can get that by dividing the 31.103 grams in a Troy ounce by 20.
Learning about the various ways gold can be measured can enable you to calculate the price. In addition, you can use the available information to determine how much you should invest to obtain a specified amount of gold.
- Britannica: karat
- Diamons.Pro: How to Choose the Right Gold: 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K Compared
- Gold.Org: About gold jewellery
- How Stuff Works: What is a carat, and how does it relate to a karat?
- Learn about Gold: How Many Grams Are In An Ounce of Gold?
- Jewelry Notes: How to Calculate the Amount of Pure Gold in Your Jewelry
- Be advised that calculating the intrinsic value of gold alone might greatly undervalue historical gold coins or other gold items that possess numismatic or collectors value. Such pieces should be valued by a certified appraiser. In addition, where gold content is not known, laymen should defer to the expertise of a reputable jeweler.
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.