How to Estimate the Value of Your Gold

Are you trying to decide when the best time to sell your gold is? It would help if you knew what your gold is worth.

The value of gold scrap depends on two things: purity and weight. Gold purity can be expressed as either karats or millesimal fineness. Karats are measured as 24 times the pure (gold) mass divided by the total mass (gold and impurities). But for the purposes of estimating the value of your gold, you just need to check if your gold is stamped with a karat value. The higher the karat, the more it is worth.

Instead of a karat stamp, you may have gold stamped with its millesimal fineness. Millesimal fineness is the measure of gold 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. Again, a higher number equals greater value.

Once you know the purity of your gold, you need to know how much of it you have to estimate the value. You can weigh the gold to find out how much there is. But, be sure to use a jeweler’s scale for the best accuracy – every little bit counts! You should also remember that prices are set according to troy ounces, which is different from the much more common avoirdupois ounces.

For reference, here’s an infographic you can use to estimate the value of your gold.

How to Estimate the Value of Your Gold.jpg (1.51 mb)

The Engineering Behind Apple Gold

In our last blog post, we wrote about how the new Apple Watch will have a special edition that uses a new type of ultra-strong 18k gold. Here, we’ll take a look at the technical details to see how that’s possible.

According to its patent on the material, Apple’s creation is a metal matrix composite (MMC). An MMC uses one-part metal and one-part other-material (composite) and works like a reinforced skeleton. The different ways of creating “Apple Gold” involve starting with a “ceramic” (a complex mixture of minerals resembling a ceramic-like substance) matrix or base. Liquid gold is used to fill the microscopic cavities of the porous ceramic, and the two become one solid piece after sintering under pressure.

To mass-produce cases for the watch, Apple’s patent indicates they will use a process familiar to jewelers: die-striking. It works under the same principles above, but the ceramic/gold mixture is loaded into a custom die, then stamped and sintered to create a watch casing. Apple’s patent also mentions a MMC that uses gold and diamond particles. By adding a “wetting agent” to the diamond particles, a carbide will form and bind the diamonds and gold together.

On the Vickers hardness scale, 18k gold scores between 85 and 230 Hv (depending on the impurities). Apple Gold is estimated to nearly double this at 400 Hv. This advancement in the refining industry could have major implications for the jewelry industry in the future. It should have an immediate effect in the watch sector. Although the Apple Watch hasn’t been released, the 18k gold edition will sell for $10,000-$17,000! Will luxury watchmakers like Rolex, Montblanc, and others be ready for the competition?

Learn more about Apple’s gold patent here.

Apple Patents an Ultra-Hard 18k Gold Alloy

Owners of Apple products are rightly concerned about scratches on their devices. With its new smartwatch launching soon, Apple has a new weapon in the war of scratch resistance – a new type of super-strong gold alloy. Apple devices tend to use more practical materials than gold, but it’s a classic material for watches – and perfect for promoting Apple’s image of luxury.

Last year, Apple designers filed a patent for a “method and apparatus for forming a gold metal matrix composite.” The patent describes several processes for making this material, all of which involve blending gold powder and “ceramic” powder, then heating and compressing the materials to create an 18k alloy. There are actually lots of materials in the ceramic mixture, including “boron carbide, diamond, cubic boron nitride, titanium nitride, iron aluminum silicate (garnet), silicon carbide, aluminum nitride, aluminum oxide, sapphire powder, yttrium oxide, zirconia and tungsten carbide.”

The refining methods included in Apple’s patent include a form of compression and sintering, a die-striking method, and even a variant using particles of diamond. While not exactly cutting-edge science, the patent definitely contains ideas that could make a big impact in engineering and metal refining. In our next post, we’ll take a look at Apple’s proposed methods for making this alloy. Do you think this could revolutionize areas of the gold industry? Sound off on our Facebook page.