Tuesday, Aug 22nd

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Buying Gold

How is gold graded?

Gold is a highly malleable metal and in its purest form, gold cannot be used to make any jewelery. Hence a small amount of other metals like nickel, silver and copper have to be added to gold to use it. The additives also impart their color to the gold. If copper is added to the gold, then the gold gets a reddish tint. Many people have allergic reaction to Nickel. So if you think you have allergic reaction to gold, think again. Depending on how much alloy is added the gold is graded accordingly. Gold in its purest form is 24 Karat. All jewelery in North America is typically marked with Karat grade. Jewelery made in Italy is marked with fineness such as 417, 583 etc. Here's a chart with the information on the grades of gold.


Parts Gold to Alloy



















Ten-karat gold is the lowest grade that can be sold in the United States as "gold," according to Federal Trade Commission regulations. Ten-karat gold jewelery generally is considerably less expensive than its 18K or 14K counterparts, and will resist regular wear and tear. Most Indian jewelery is 22K.

Gold Plate: The term "10K gold plate," on the other hand, refers to a layer of that grade of gold that is bonded to the outside of jewelry made from a different metal. Gold-plated jewelry often has a bright gold color, but sooner or later, the gold plate will wear off.

Vermeil: Recently, jewelry made from vermeil has enjoyed a surge of popularity. Vermeil issterling silver, which is 92.5 percent pure silver, overlaid with gold plating. French jewelry makers invented the process in the 1700s and the product was instantly popular. Again, the minimum fineness of the gold used in vermeil can be no lower than 10K in the U.S.

Shopping for Gold: The FTC does not require that gold jewelry carry a stamp, or imprint, delineating its karat grade, but reputable jewelry makers stamp their products anyway. The stamp will be tiny and in an inconspicuous place, so you may have to search for it, but it's well worth the effort to have that assurance. If you can't find a stamp, ask the vendor to provide you documentation of the grade of gold in the merchandise.