First, we’ll cover gold measured in terms of purity that is expressed in karats, symbolized by the letter “K” and “kt” with jewelers.
24 Karat 100%, or pure gold
22 Karat 91.7% gold
18 Karat 75.0% gold
14 Karat 58.3% gold
10 Karat 41.7% gold
Now let’s cover silver, a metal marked with a purity mark. Here are the marks and their percentage of silver contents that correspond:
999 99.9% silver
958 95.8% silver
925 92.5% silver (known as Sterling silver)
800 80.0% silver
We are referring mostly to jewelry or decorative pieces and keepsakes here (such as silverware, candlestick holders, or other things that may bear a stamp to show their precious metal content). Coins are a little bit more involved and beyond the scope of this article, as there are too many to list here.
One of the problems that people run into with jewelry and their great-grandmother’s candlestick holders is that most businesses that buy them will usually pay according to their melt value. This is especially true with silver. Most of these dealers will estimate the silver content of your item by weight, and then will pay you roughly 15-25% under value to cover their handling and melting charges.
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