How to Calculate the Value of Gold Pieces, Scraps and Bits

Let’s assume that you’re having a lucky day. You just bought an old religious medal with a stamping on the back that indicates that is made of 18 karat gold.

Now you’re sitting there looking at your treasure and wondering what it is worth. How can you make a quick down-and-dirty calculation? Don’t worry, we’re going to tell you in today’s post.

Exactly how much gold is in this gold religious medal and what is that gold worth? Let's find out. Credit: Craig-Jackson/iStock.

Exactly how much gold is in this gold religious medal and what is that gold worth? Let's find out. Credit: Craig-Jackson/iStock.

First, Let’s Review What Karats Are

Karat ratings are a bit confusing, because they are based on the number 24, not the number 100 that we use when working with percentages. (For a deeper explanation of Karat ratings and gold alloys, click here.) But let’s make things simpler by offering the following conversions from karat ratings into percentages:

  • 24 karat gold is 100% pure gold
  • 22 karat gold is 91.6% pure gold
  • 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold
  • 14 karat gold is 58.5% pure gold
  • 10 karat gold is 41.7% pure gold

Second, Let’s Use a Jeweler’s Scale to Weigh Your Medal

So let’s say that your 18k religious medal weighs 5 grams. Because 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold, that means your medal contains 3.75 grams of pure gold. Not bad!

Third, Convert Grams to Troy Ounces

You can find plenty of calculators online that can instantly convert grams to Troy ounces – and you have to do that because trading prices on the London Fix are published in dollars per Troy ounce, not gram.

But don’t worry too much . . . just find a calculator online and make the conversion. If you do, you will quickly determine that your 3.75 grams of gold equal .1205 Troy ounces of pure gold.

Fourth, Find the Value of Your Troy Ounces on the Specialty Metals Website

On the Specialty Metals home page, we publish daily trading prices on the London Fix. If you look there on the day we’re publishing this post, for example, you will see that a Troy ounce of gold is selling for $1,320.75. That means that the .1205 ounces of pure gold that your medal contains is worth about $160.00.

Hopefully, you paid less than that when you bought the medal. Good going . . . you’re making money!

But What if You have a “Mixed Bag” of Gold Bits?

Let’s say that don’t have something as straightforward as a 5-ounce medal that is made of 18 karat gold. Let’ s say you have a little pile of gold scrap – little chunks of jewelry, some gold filings from an old jewelry factory, a gold filling from a tooth, stuff like that. You don’t know what you’re looking at in terms of karat rating, or much else.

“Who you gonna call?” In this case, you’re not going to call Ghostbusters. You’re going to call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and send us your stuff so we can test it and tell you what it is worth.

Simple? Yes, it is. When you call, ask about the free or discounted shipping costs that we offer on many lots that are sent to us for testing.

Related Posts:

Karat Gold: A Quick Review  
Can You Accurately Test Gold at Home? 
Where to Look for Small, Easy-to-Find Pieces of Gold that You Can Recycle Profitably  
What Is a Troy Ounce?