Precious Metal Grading and buying guide.
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22 November 2009
You may have seen "925" stamped on silver jewellery, & '750' or '375' or '333'... on some white gold or yellow gold jewellery. I am going to break down what this means to you. '925' on a silver ring will mean this is 'Sterling Silver'. 925 parts Silver and 75 parts copper/ 925:75. it's a ratio used to define the quality of the alloy so you can make an informed decision on how much the piece is worth. so if a ring weighs 10 grams, and it is 925 silver, you can work out how much fine silver is contained within the alloy. In this case you divide the '10' grams into 1000, then multiply it by 925 = 9.25 grams fine silver. the same will apply to gold. a ring with 375 stamped is 9 Carat gold. again, you divide 10 grams into 1000 and multiply by 375 = 3.75 grams of fine gold. you can then refer the answer to the current market price, usually shown in Troy ounces. one troy ounce equals roughly 31.1 grams. so again divide the current market price for 1 troy ounce of fine gold by 31.1 and multiply the answer by the amount of fine gold contained in the ring and you will have a good guide on what the piece is worth as metal only. so, todays market price for one ounce of fine gold is US$1150. divide this by 31.1 then multiply by 3.75 and you have a market price of US$138.67. you will obviously need to change this equation to suit your specific carat of gold. Your silver might have 950, or 957 or 800 stamped on it. these are different grades of silver alloy and must be calculated as such. FYI, an alloy is any 2 or more metals which are mixed together. sterling silver is an alloy of fine silver and copper - 925 parts silver and 75 parts copper. gold is similar. 750 or 18carat yellow gold is usually, 750 parts fine gold and 125 parts copper and 125 parts fine silver. 18ct white gold is either 125 parts palladium or platinum & 125 parts copper. 18ct rose gold will be 250 parts copper and 750 parts fine gold. this should give you a basic understanding on grading metals so you can now make an informed decision on how much your piece is worth. of course, you should always exercise caution when buying jewellery. it is possible to stamp any number on metal, and you should be sure to educate yourself and investigate any purchase you make.
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