If you’ve been thinking about investing in natural materials (or have already been dealing with them) for a while now, you’ve definitely heard about pure gold a handful of times.
Based on the knowledge you’ve picked up over the years, you probably know that this type of precious metal bears some special characteristics and has a few quirks worth knowing about. However, it’s worth noting that rudimentary knowledge alone barely sheds any light on the true nature of this pure material and its viability as an investment in the long run—which is why it pays to know as much as possible about it.
If you want to take your investment efforts up a notch through the use of gold, then you’ll need to know more about its purest form to best inform your future transactions and decisions. Fortunately, it is not too late to learn about this particular material in further detail because we will fill you on everything that you need to know:
What is pure gold?
When we talk about “pure” gold, we’re working in the context of carats as they denote the specific purity that a piece, bar, nugget, or bullion actually has.
Technically, this precious metal’s purest form is slated around the 24 karat mark—a form of unadulterated gold that is also the most brittle or softest iteration because of a lack of a “hardening” blend with other alloys. Yet, it is also worth noting that it is impossible for gold to be completely pure because of unavoidable inclusions of other metals in a mix (but the amount of acceptable impurity for a piece to be considered pure is set at 0.01 per cent).
For the sake of practicality and durability, alloys are mixed with a pure supply of metal to create a final product that is much easier to use and work with. However, this will likely come at the cost of purity in the form of a lower karat grade.
Defining karats (and their correlation to purity)
Speaking of diminished purity, the one concept that you must understand when delving into the whole idea of pure gold is the karat.
Rooted in olden ways of measurement, the term “karat” itself came from the Arabic name for the seed of a carob tree—a resource used to weigh any form of gold to know its values. Although standardised measurements took over and completely reworked the olden “knowledge” of 24 carob seed being equivalent to a pure gold coin, the name stuck to the point where we use a slightly stylised version today.
The best way to define a karat is that it’s a hallmark or figure of a specific item’s golden purity depending on the overall blend of gold and other hardening alloys like nickel or tin. Each karat figure represents the ratio between the material in question and an added material to denote the piece’s purity (and accompanying desirability). For instance:
- 24 Karat: 99.99 per cent gold; 0.01 per cent hardening alloy
- 20 Karat: 83.33 per cent gold; 16.66 per cent hardening alloy
- 18 Karat: 75 per cent gold; 25 per cent hardening alloy
The concept of “pure gold” is not merely an exclamation or hyperbole of what is considered the most desired precious metal in the world—it’s actually more technical than you’d expect. With this guide’s help, you can remain informed on everything you need to know about this precious metal and its accompanying purities to make the best investment decisions in the long run!
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