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Cash for Gold: Understanding Purity and How it Affects Value by Alfred Ardis

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Cash for Gold: Understanding Purity and How it Affects Value by
Article Posted: 07/27/2015
Article Views: 110
Articles Written: 2638
Word Count: 511
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Cash for Gold: Understanding Purity and How it Affects Value

The price of gold often increases during times of economic uncertainty. When finances are tight, many rely on services that trade cash for gold trinkets, coins, or jewelry. However, the overall purity of these items will ultimately affect their monetary value.

This precious metal is scrutinized for value based on a 24-point system known as the karat system. This procedure considers a piece 24K if it is 99.9% pure, meaning there are no other metals mixed into the batch. An item that is only 14K is 58.3% pure and has less valuable metals mixed into the structure.

Gold is soft, so owners should note that if their piece does not bend easily, it is probably not 24K, no matter what the stamp may say. It is more likely 10 or 14K instead, as the other metals mixed in help give it strength.

Determining Purity

As stamps can be forged and unreliable, how is purity determined? The examiner will perform one of three tests. The first, which is most often used, is the acid or scratch test. With this examination, the assessor will use a kit composed of a few black touchstones and several acids, which are rated to react with the different purities. The appraiser will scratch the item to be tested, leaving a streak on the touchstone. Then a streak of a control purity, one that is supposedly the same as the test subject, will be added to the stone. At this point, the appropriate acid is dripped on both streaks, and the assessor observes the chemical reaction to determine the purity.

Another method to test the purity is the electric conductivity test. Gel is added to a probe in order to create a circuit between it and the piece being examined. Electrical conductivity can be used to test for actual gold in addition to purity.

A third method is the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. The item is bombarded with X-rays to excite the atoms into a higher energy state. As they settle, radiation is expelled, allowing the equipment to analyze and determine the purity.

Assessing the Weight

What does all this testing do? It allows the assessor to determine how pure a piece is, in order to give you a fair price. When obtaining cash for gold, the purity is divided by the weight of the item to get the actual weight of gold.

Because the price of this metal can vary hourly, it is important to find a reputable dealer that will pay a reasonable percentage of the spot price. It's usually possible to find someone to pay between 50% and 70% of the spot price for an item.

When looking for a reputable cash for gold buyer, do your homework, and remember that weight and purity affect the overall price you will receive. Don't expect to get 100% of the spot price, as the buyer will need to make a profit. Don't be afraid to visit multiple buyers if the offer sounds low.

When looking to trade cash for gold, Medford, MA residents go to

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