What Good is Gold?

Gold is real good, as a matter of fact. Beyond its uses in jewelry, as an investment, and as a currency, gold has many other important applications you may not realize.

Many of our customers in the field of dentistry can attest to gold’s usefulness. Because gold is such a malleable metal, it’s easy to form to the craggy tops of teeth when building new crowns or bridges. As an added benefit, gold is completely inert and will not react with the human body in any way. Not only is it safe to have in your mouth for years and years, it’s also completely safe if accidentally swallowed.

More commonly, gold is a component in nearly all electronics. It’s a great electrical conductor, and – as a one-up over silver, copper, and other good conductors – it never corrodes. This makes electronics using gold highly reliable because electrical connections are never interrupted through corrosion or wear.

Not only is gold good at conducting electricity, but serves as excellent protection from electromagnetic radiation. As such, it’s a common component in equipment meant to explore outer space. Its most well known space application is the visor for an astronaut’s helmet. The gold is layered so thin, the astronaut can see through it while still being protected from radiation. The next time you use a computer, visit the dentist, or look up at the stars, be sure to remember that gold makes it all possible.

Precious Metal Purity Standards

Not all gold jewelry or trinkets are created equal. They are all made with different levels of purity, which determine their overall worth.

In the U.S. the purity of gold in a piece is expressed in kt or karats (not to be confused with carats – a measure of mass for pearls and gemstones). The highest karat is 24, hence 24kt gold jewelry is pure gold. Gold with a lower karat count, such as 18kt, contains impurities. These impurities are added to increase durability, alter color, or cheapen the gold.

But there is more than one way to look at gold purity. What karats actually measure is called millesimal fineness. Millesimal fineness is the measure of gold (or other precious metal) compared to other impurities in parts per thousand. For example, 24kt gold has a millesimal fineness of 999 or higher, while 18kt gold is only 750. Millesimal fineness stamps on gold products are more commonly used in other countries over the karat stamp, which is favored in the U.S. and Canada.

The use of millesimal fineness has created some lingo among jewelers and refiners. You may hear a piece of jewelry is “four nines fine” or “one nine fine.” These would be 999.9 and 900 in millesimal fineness, respectively. Chances are though, you’ve never come across the elusive “six nines fine.” At 999.999 millesimal fineness, it’s the purest form of gold ever produced.

Bullion Coins of the World

Many countries around the world produce what are known as bullion coins. They are made of high-purity precious metals and are kept as investments, rather than used in day-to-day transactions. As such, they are highly valued.

Because they are such fine, often high-value coins, they are stamped with animals and symbols that are intrinsic to the countries that produce them. For example, China produces the Gold Panda coin and Canada has the Maple Leaf coin series – which comes in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

The Australian Gold Nugget coin originally featured images of famous gold nuggets when it was first released. However, it now features kangaroos instead. The U.S has a number of bullion coins featuring the Bald Eagle, which come in gold, silver, and platinum. They also have the American Buffalo coin, which is 99.99% pure gold.

These coins are usually stamped with a face value; however, the coins are typically worth far more than that. For example, the 1 oz. American Buffalo coin is stamped $50, but is easily worth around $1,500 for its gold content alone.

As a precious metal refiner, Manhattan Gold & Silver would pay for the value of the metal within the coin. If you have any rare coins you may be better off speaking with a firm that specializes in numismatics. However, bullion coins and scrap metals are something we regularly trade.  We are a B2B precious metals firm located in Manhattan.