It is difficult to remove all the impurities in gold ore to create pure gold. It is done using an expensive process involving cyanide gas and even with this process, gold can only be made 99.9 percent pure. This is considered 24-karat pure gold. Many gold collectors and gold investors only want to own 24-karat pure gold since they know it is of the highest quality. It is important to know which gold products contain pure gold and which contain lower-quality alloys.
Decide whether you want to purchase pure gold bars or pure gold rounds. Pure gold is only cast in these two forms for investment purposes. Both are considered gold bullion. Gold rounds resemble coins, but they are not actually money since they are not monetized by the government. Gold rounds contain attractive designs, while gold bars are only stamped with size, purity and manufacturer.
Investigate which gold products are made of pure gold. Pure gold rounds include American Buffaloes, Austrian Philharmonics, Chinese Pandas, Canadian Maple Leafs and Australian Kangaroos, Koalas and Lunar coins. Pure gold bars are made by about a dozen manufacturers around the world. A link to a list of some of them is provided in the "References" section.
Consider the premium you will pay for pure gold. Since refining pure gold is an expensive process, pure gold products are more expensive than 22-karat gold bullion like American Gold Eagles and Krugerrands. A 1-ounce Eagle or Krugerrand has the same amount of gold as a 1-ounce, 24-karat round, but the pure gold round can cost up to 10 percent more. Pure gold bars cost less since they have no designs on them and manufacturing costs less.
Look up the spot price of gold. This is what gold is selling for on a particular day. Since the price of gold fluctuates constantly, it is important to look this up on the day you plan to buy pure gold. A link to a website that tracks the spot price of gold is provided in the "Resources" section.
Check the manufacturer websites first. You can buy pure gold rounds straight from the mints and pure gold bars straight from most manufacturers. The price is usually about 20 percent above the spot price of gold, but it can be much higher. The benefit of buying directly from the maker is that you know that you are getting a new and authentic product.
Consider buying pure gold products from gold dealers and private individuals. Gold does not lose its value simply because someone owned it before you. Since the price of pure gold bullion is pegged to the spot price of gold, you can often buy it cheaper from someone who bought low and is looking to make a profit. They will not add the same premium on top of the spot price of gold that manufacturers will.
Kent Ninomiya is a veteran journalist with over 23 years experience as a television news anchor, reporter and managing editor. He traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Ninomiya holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences with emphasis in history, political science and mass communications from the University of California at Berkeley.