As on one of the premier gold buyers and sellers in the state, we’re often asked about the how we discern the quality of the gold being sold and purchased. People are used to hearing terms like 24 karat, 22 karat or 18 karat, but few people truly understand the difference between these classifications. To make the subject a little clearer, here’s a few points of information to consider.

First off, karat is simply a unit used to measure the purity of the gold being discussed, bought or sold. The higher the karat rating, the purer the gold is that’s being considered.

24 Karat Gold

24 Karat gold is some of the purest gold available on the market with a 99.9 percent purity rating. It has a bright yellow color and is the highest form of gold available today (so beware if anyone offers you gold claiming its quality is higher than 24 karats). The problem is that this gold has a lesser density than the gold of a lower karat rating. This makes it a poor choice for jewelry, however, it’s an excellent option for those wanting to invest in gold coins, gold bars or any other gold option that is less susceptible to wear and tear. It’s also used in a lot of electronics and medical devices that require a high degree of purity.

22 Karat Gold

Gold claiming to be as 22 karats is two karats less than 24 karat gold which means that other metals have replaced those two karats. This gold is frequently used in jewelry with somewhere around 91.66 percent being pure gold and the other 8.34 percent being composed of metals such as zinc, silver, nickel and various other alloys used to give gold strength. This makes it able to withstand daily wear as jewelry; however, this gold is still too fragile for anything other than plain gold jewelry and those seeking gold with diamonds or other precious stones will be better suited by gold in the 18 karat range.

18 Karat Gold

18 Karat gold is gold composed of around 75 percent gold and 25 percent other metals like silver or copper alloys. This form of gold is much stronger than many other versions allowing it to be used in various studded jewelry and other jewelry featuring diamonds or precious stones. This gold has a duller color than other forms but will better stand the test of time and the pressures of daily wear by the owner. This is the most common form of gold in the marketplace today and the most used in engagement rings, wedding rings, and other fine jewelry.

Those who are using gold as an investment will be best suited by purchasing 24 karat, and 22 karat gold as this will hold its value, provided its kept in an environment where it can be protected from damage. Those seeking gold for jewelry applications will want to look for 18 karat gold that will stand the pressures that are brought on it through daily wear by the owner.

If you’d like to learn more about gold and how to purchase it or want to view the selection we have available, contact our offices in San Carlos, CA, Menlo Park, CA, Redwood City, CA or Palo Alto, CA and let us know how we can help you.