Know Your Gold Terminology

When you walk past a jewellery store and notice all the beautiful pieces in the window, you cannot help but admire these pieces of metal that have been so carefully designed, moulded and set to captivate all gold buyers’ interests. The sales representative may even impress you even further with words like “alloy”, “hallmark” and “karat” that describe the piece in more detail. This is why it can be quite helpful to know your gold terminology thoroughly so that you know exactly what you are buying.

What Exactly is the “Karat” and “Hallmark”?

We are all familiar with the word “karat”. When it comes to gold, the karat refers to the purity of gold, where a single karat is one part of pure gold. Looking at 24-karat gold, this refers to pure gold, since all 24 parts are made from pure gold. If 10 parts were made out of other metals, only 14 parts are pure, and this is how the pricing of gold is determined.


Another term used often is “alloy”. This refers to the mixture of two or more metals. The metals used in these alloy mixtures may include silver, rhodium or copper. The reason for this is that pure gold is too soft and does not retain a shape like a ring or bracelet when moulded. The purity of gold is then indicated, for example 10K, 14K, or 18K.

The “hallmark” indicates the purity of the gold. The manufacturer indicates this with a small impression. This can be a number followed by a “K” or a number in decimal.

gold buyers

When gold buyers hear the word “assay”, they know what the jeweller is referring to the alloy’s purity and ingredients. This term is used when doing an appraisal. Other terms that we hear quite often are “gold plating” and “gold filling”. These are techniques to make other metals look like gold. When metal is covered with a thin layer or gold, plating has been done; when items are filled with gold, like coins, gold filling has been done. Five percent of gold by weight is used to do gold filling.

Knowing these terms might give you peace of mind when having jewellery apprised. You will be able to understand what the appraiser is looking at when calculating a price and how he determines the quality of a jewellery item. These terms might even help gold buyers to spot fake gold jewellery, which is always important.

Gold buyers

If you are in the market to sell your gold jewellery, Liquid Fin can help you with an accurate appraisal. We also provide you with a secure and private environment to sell your jewellery in. Get in touch with us today and find out how you can easily sell your unwanted gold jewellery.