Companies in the precious metals business such as jewelers, pawnbrokers, and metal refiners (like Manhattan Gold & Silver) deal with a lot of uncommon measurements. When it comes to payouts or exchanges, it helps to be familiar with these two systems of measurement:
• Avoirdupois: This is the everyday measure of weight in the United States using pounds of 16 ounces. It’s also used to varying degrees in Canada and the UK. Ironically, avoirdupois measurements are only related to the precious metal industry in that they are a measurement that is commonly converted from. Precious metals dealings do not use avoirdupois, they always use the troy system instead. Average customers looking to sell their scrap gold or silver often know the weight of their lot in pounds or ounces, but refiners always convert this to troy measurements when dealing with others in the business.
• Troy: Interestingly, this measurement system is named not for the city in Homer’s Illiad, but rather, the French city of Troyes. Unlike the avoirdupois pound, the troy pound in measured in 12 ounces. Although the troy pound is no longer used, troy ounces are commonly used to weigh precious metals. That’s why, in the bullion market, all references to ounces mean troy ounces. The troy ounce differs from the avoirdupois ounce, being somewhat heavier, with 1 troy oz = 1.097 oz. The pennyweight, the unit on which Manhattan Gold & silver bases its payouts, is a unit of the troy system.