What is Fine Gold?

WHAT IS FINE GOLD?

Gold is a metal found in nature that requires mining for extraction from the earth. From the data gathered in 2019, approximately 197,576 tons of gold have been mined and refined above-ground total. The world population as a whole typically consumes gold for jewelry, investing, and for industrial use. About 50% of gold demand falls into jewelry, 40% for investment, and 10% for industrial application. 

Gold's purity has a direct effect on bullion's value. Appraisers use a scale of karats specific for jewelry to measure the fineness of gold. 24 Karat gold is technically considered pure gold, but its full purity is not clear. 24K can be .990 fine gold. When you come across products that are .9999 (99.99%), .999 (99.9%), or 100%, this is gold measured using the millesimal fineness scale. 

Because gold is naturally a soft metal, when making something like jewelry, it is often mixed with other metals. Combining metals together creates an alloy that won’t be too soft to handle. This also brings different shades of gold.

WHAT ARE THE COLORS OF GOLD?

For making gold into a harder metal, refineries mix it with other metals. This can alter the color of gold. It is also important to note that finding different gold colors are mostly specific to jewelry. Bullion bars and coins are often made of fine gold, so the color does not change much.

  • White Gold: 14K ( .585 or 58.5% fineness). In the alloy is a combination of nickel, manganese, or palladium. This is where the white color comes from. Copper and zinc can also be added.

  • Rose, Pink, Red Gold: The usual rose gold is 18K broken down into 75% gold and 25% copper. A 50/50 alloy gives the red gold of 12K.

  • Green Gold: called electrum, is a nature-made alloy of gold and silver. This is usually comprised of 73% gold and 27% silver

  • Blue Gold: About 54% indium and 46% gold mixed together.

  • Purple Gold: Approximately this is 80% gold and 20% aluminum.

  • Black Gold: Made up of 75% gold combined with 25% cobalt.

GOLD HALLMARKS

In the US, jewelry's purity may be identified by independent signage or by being verbally informed. This means that the piece does not have to have the karat mark applied on it. However, if jewelry is marked, it must also have a trademark stamp applied on a label or package for identifying its origin. Keep this in mind so you avoid overpaying for counterfeits.

HOW IS FINE GOLD USED? WHERE CAN I FIND FINE GOLD?

Because fine gold is quite soft, it is usually not used in jewelry production. However, it can be used for industrial purposes and is commonly used for gold bars, gold coins, and gold rounds. Those who prefer to invest in gold should pay attention to the fineness of bullion. 

Fine gold is graded by using a scale of millesimal fineness, which is rounded to a thousandth in the decimal. 99.9%, 999, or .999 are all equivalent labeling of a fine gold item. However, 100% pure gold is impossible to have outside of laboratory conditions. So, the finest type of gold available on the market is 999.99, also referred to as “five nines fine.” The Royal Canadian Mint is famous for its production of commemorative coins from 999.99 fine gold. Next in line is 999.9, or “four nines” fine. American Buffalo coins, the British Queen’s Beasts series, and the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins are three examples of gold coins from 999.9 fine gold. Fine gold of .999, or “three nines fine,” is also referred to as 24K gold. Gold coins that are this degree of gold purity are the Chinese Panda coins. The most common fineness of the gold bullion coins is .917, used for American Gold Eagles, British Sovereigns, and South African Krugerrands. There are quite rare types of fine gold that are mostly found in ancient coins: .995 and .990. A .900 rating is the least pure gold, but it is still considered to be fine gold. Carat rating is mostly used for jewels today because karats do not fully convey the fineness of gold. 

You can check the entire Bullion Exchanges collection of fine gold coins and bars here!

WHY IS FINE GOLD USED?

Fine gold is highly valuable and collectible with nothing to make its value go down. For this reason, bars and coins are highly popular items for investment. Bullion is also not handled as much as jewelry because it's made with less pure gold, so its softness is not an issue for collectors and makes it easier to store gold.

An understanding of fine gold, including the way it’s made and used, can help investors and collectors make more informed decisions when buying gold.