Can we make a ring with pure gold?

Fine gold is a very soft material. Since it bends easily, jewelry is rarely forged from pure gold. Instead, it is processed into so-called alloys with other metals. This not only changes the processing properties, but also the color of the yellow gold. If gold is mixed with copper, it turns rose (red gold), mixing proportions with silver and palladium result in a white-gray tone (white gold).

Which alloys, fineness and colors are most popular varies from country to country. The markings also vary. Every gold jewelry that was bought in Germany should have an embossing that shows the gold content of the alloy. This embossing is also called a punch or gold stamp. In this country, traders are obliged to indicate the gold content in thousandths. If, for example, the number 750 is stamped on a ring, this means that 750 parts out of 1000 are made of gold, the rest is made up of other metals. That corresponds to a gold share of 75 percent.

The higher the embossing, the higher the value

Common gold alloys include 333, 375, 585, 750, 900 and 916 per mille. 875 gold is also common in some Arab countries. 999 stands for fine gold and is therefore not an alloy. It is technically impossible to remove all impurities and thus produce 1000 gold. Since gold is one of the most expensive precious metals, the value of the piece of jewelry usually increases with the number in the hallmark. An overview of the compositions of the most common precious metal alloys can be found here.

Foreign jewelery can also be stamped with carats. One carat corresponds to 1/24 gold. Feingold accordingly has 24 carats.

Refiners and precious metal dealers use X-ray fluorescence analysis to determine the exact value of a piece of jewelery. This makes it possible to determine not only the gold content, but also the respective proportion of the other metals. Refiners and precious metal dealers do not reimburse silver, platinum and palladium, stones, pearls and clockworks. Diamonds are an exception.

Attention: If you want to keep stones and pearls, you usually have to remove them beforehand or have this done by the dealer. They are irretrievably lost in the melting process.

What do I get for my old gold?

You can also calculate the approximate purchase price for your gold jewelry yourself using a letter scale or a well-adjusted kitchen scale. Gold buyers work with high-precision scales that weigh up to 1/100 of a gram. For the reference price, however, a 1 gram division is sufficient. Tip: You can use euro coins to check your balance. The one euro piece weighs 7.5 grams, with six one euro pieces the scale should show 45 grams.

First, sort your gold jewelry by alloy. The value of jewelry with different alloys must be calculated one after the other. You can calculate what you can currently get for your jewelry from a refinery or dealer using the following formula:

Weight x (stamp / 1000) x purchase price

An example: The hallmark on your gold chain reads 585. When you weigh it, it weighs 50 grams, then do the math: 50 x (585/1000). The gold part of your chain is therefore 29.25 grams. If the retailer now offers 28 euros per gram, you will receive 819 euros for your piece of jewelery.

50 grams x (585/1000) x 28 euros = 819 euros

But not every retailer offers the same price. Bear in mind that there are cutting costs and the dealer also wants to earn something. You can view the current purchase conditions at ESG Edelmetall-Service, for example. Even if you prefer to choose a dealer near you, a price comparison makes sense.

The value of old gold also rises and falls with the gold price

It is also helpful to be aware of the pure material value. To calculate this, insert the current gold price in euros per gram into the formula instead of the purchase price. You can find this course here, for example. According to the Edelmetalle working group, experience shows that around 15 percent of the current daily price is deducted for melting, cutting and analysis costs. With the material value in mind, it is easier not to be ripped off at the dealer around the corner (Read more about buying and selling old gold here).