Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Scrap Jewelry Terms - Real Gold, Solid Gold, Fine Gold, and Pure Gold - What Exactly Do They Mean?

There's boat-loads of money to be made buying and selling scrap gold jewelry but before going further, now would be a good time to clarify a few terms since understanding what these phrases really mean can be the difference between making huge profits, or making costly mistakes.

For the sake of clarity on this site (and throughout your gold-scrapper education), I'll do my best to stick to these terms as closely as possible when describing new concepts and methods.  If I stray, please kindly jot me back in line.  :)

Real Gold vs. Solid Gold

If you want to be a super-specific nerd, consider this... ANY amount of the precious metal we call gold, even down to microscopic, unrecoverable particles, is technically considered "real gold".  Even some cheap Chinese jewelry has an electroplating of "real gold", though it is likely much thinner than the thickness of a human hair and impossible to extract and worthwhile value, technically even electroplated jewelry contains minor amounts of "real gold".

For the sake of argument, sanity, and clarity, we aren't going to be the super-specific "technically speaking" know-it-all nerdy Ned here... We've got much bigger fish to fry, like learning how to find mountains of solid gold jewelry and make gobs of cash.

I use the phrase "Solid Gold" throughout the majority of content offered on this site and unless explicitly stated, when you see the phrase "real gold", it is being used interchangeably with "solid gold".  I'm using both phrases to mean one thing: Gold that can be reliably measured, valued, and economically recovered.

Solid Gold (Technically Speaking)

If you live in the United States, "Solid Gold" is considered any gold alloy that is at least 10k pure gold.  Laws and definitions may vary slightly in other countries but in the US, there are laws in place that legally prevent jewelry manufacturers from describing any piece of jewelry as "solid gold" unless it contains at least 41.7% gold (10k pure).

As far as the scrap gold jewelry buyer and seller goes, this definition is good enough for our purposes.  Funny enough, some older pieces of jewelry are even stamped with the words "Solid Gold"... and so far, all these pieces I've tested have turned out to be 10k gold.

Fine Gold vs. Pure Gold

Two more terms that can easily be confused yet most of us use them interchangeably.

Fine Gold is a phrase usually found in conjunction with gold bullion, and commonly following a bunch of 9's. (ex/ .999 Fine Gold or 99.9% Fine Gold).
Think of "Fine Gold" as more of a technical term... this phrase acknowledges the fact that no matter how hard we try, it's impossible to remove every single little impurity from gold.  So instead of 100% PURE gold, we have "Fine Gold", which is kinda like saying "This is as close to pure as we can get".

Pure Gold, then is a phrase our "super-specific" nerdy Ned might like, since pure gold is technically saying the item consists of 100% pure gold with no impurities or imperfections whatsoever.

For the most part, Pure Gold and Fine Gold will be used interchangeably, although you'll see that Fine Gold is more suited for describing bullion and investment grade gold items while Pure Gold is best pared with a Karat Purity number, representing a percentage of Pure Gold rather than 100% pure gold itself.