Weight and Karat: Determining Gold Jewelry’s Value

selling goldSelling gold has never been wiser, especially now that the price has reached $1300 per oz. Gold prices have risen 70 percent in the last two years, while current futures climbed for eight straight seasons, the longest since July 2011. You can sell almost all kinds of gold, from inexpensive gold trinkets, to coins, dental gold, and fine jewelry.

While you can get a higher quote if your jewelry has an artistic value, the prices of gold necklaces, bracelets, and rings are usually determined by karat and weight.


Gold is weighed using grams, ounces, or troy ounces. When selling gold jewelry, you need to understand the relative values of these measurements to know whether or not you are given a fair price. Buyers usually use troy ounces when weighing gold. U.S. scales measure 28 grams per ounce, while gold products are measured at 31.1 grams per troy ounce. Some jewelers may use pennyweight to measure a troy ounce; a pennyweight is equal to 1.555 grams.


Jewelry buyers, gold refiners, pawn brokers, and scrap gold dealers also determine a price based on the jewelry’s gold content. They melt down the item, extract the gold content and other hardening agents, and resell it or use it to make another piece of jewelry. The gold content is indicated in karats; solid gold jewelry is 24 karats. Gold necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with lesser karats have less gold content and consist of other metals and hardening agents. Gold buyers only pay for gold, as other metals have no resale value. They also don’t pay for stones, with the exception of diamonds.

The gold content of a piece of jewelry is generally marked on it somewhere—on the clip of a necklace, the inside of a ring, or the back of an earring. A 14-karat necklace may have “14 karat” inscribed on it in tiny lettering.

Weight and karat are two of the major factors that determine the value of a gold jewelry. It’s important to understand the scales and know the karat of your precious jewelry before selling them to get the best value.



About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.