How Do Carats Affect The Value Of Gold?

What is meant by carats when selling gold?

When buying or selling gold, you will most likely have heard the terms carat, karat, K or ct being used. All of these terms essentially mean the same thing: they represent the amount of gold within the item. The term often used is “fineness”.

Why are carats important?

The amount of carats in gold jewellery, gold bars and gold coins is important because it represents the amount of gold contained in the item. The higher the number of carats, the higher the amount of gold in an item.

Gold itself is a relatively soft metal, meaning in its pure form it can easily be bent, not to mention expensive. This makes pure gold unsuitable for your typical shop-bought jewellery. To overcome these issues, gold is blended with other metals to form a gold alloy. These metals can affect the colour of the gold (e.g. white gold and rose gold) but also make the item much more durable.

Amount of gold in carats

FinenessPercentage of Gold
9ct37.5%
14ct58.5%
18ct75%
22ct91.7%
24ct99.999%
Source: Gold.org

The majority of jewellery will contain between 9ct to 22ct. Gold coins such as sovereigns or Krugerrands are made from 22ct gold.

How do carats affect the value of gold jewellery?

The value of any gold jewellery will largely be based on its gold content. Jewellery made from 18ct gold would be worth double that of a similar weight of jewellery made from 9ct gold. So, the higher the number of carats your item is made from, the higher the value of the gold contained within it.

How do I find out the fineness of my jewellery?

There are several methods for working out the gold content of an item. For British gold, it is a legal requirement for any item over 1g to be hallmarked. This involves some symbols being pressed into the metal by a gold assay office. Each fineness of gold is represented by a different symbol. Jewellers will often use high powered magnification to read these symbols when undertaking a valuation.

Some items may not be hallmarked, especially when brought from abroad. When no hallmarks are present, or an item is suspected to be fake, other techniques are used. These may involve the use of jewellers acids and gold testing machines.

How Can Big Gold Help?

We use a range of different techniques to assess the fineness of gold items. Our team of valuation experts have over 35 years of experience in assessing the value of gold using a range of techniques. Whether it's hallmarked or not, when looking to sell your gold, we pay the true value of your item.