You may wonder if 9k or 10k gold is real or valuable. What is the difference between the two? 

Pure Gold

Gold in its purest form of 24k is an element in the periodic table and cannot be broken down into other elements. It is like oxygen or hydrogen, so all that you would find is gold.

But at 24k, it is generally too soft and malleable for most uses. Other metals or alloys are mixed with it to help harden it for use in everything from jewelry to coins. Usually silver, copper, and sometimes zinc or palladium may be combined, but other metals may be added as well. 

Gold Fineness

Gold can be altered to result in any karat below 24k. But most commonly for jewelry, there is 22k, 18k, 14k, 10k, and formerly in England or the British Isles, 9k or 9ct. Some European countries utilized 8k gold. All of these are partially gold.

The higher the number, the more gold to alloy. As two examples, 24k is pure gold, 18k is 75% gold, and the remainder are other alloys; 14k is more than half gold at 58.3%.

So absolutely, all gold, no matter the percentage or karat designation, termed fineness, has value. Particularly as this precious metal continues to rise in price year after year. 

Selling Gold

When selling gold, the karat fineness (or K after the number or the percentage of gold) is key to its value as is the total weight of the item. In this case, it means putting it on a scale to find out how much the piece of jewelry weighs.

Weight is usually measured in grams (g or gm) or in pennyweight (dwt). This weight however is less than any parts that are not gold, such as stones, diamonds, glass, enamel, or other non-gold parts. Refineries also take out the impurities and pay according to the actual gold fineness and weight. If your jewelry has diamonds or precious gemstones those have their separate values.

A Fun & Amazing Fact

If you took just one tiny ounce of gold, that is about eleven pennies and stretched it into a wire, it would extend 50 miles! Unbelievable! However, the wire would be so thin, it would only be 5 microns thick. A human hair is 75 micros, so that is minute!  

Gold Leaf

Gold leaves are sheets of pure gold, beaten so thin, they feel lighter than tissue paper. Gold leaf can adorn artwork, sculpture, manuscripts, or cover a three-dimensional object to make it appear as if it is gold. Gold leaf can be so thin, it can be less than a micron deep.

Whatever its form, whatever its weight of fineness, gold has value. Just think, in 1994 gold was approximately $397 an ounce. It always varies, but now it is nearly $2000!

References & Resources

The American Museum of Natural History

Historical Graph of Gold Prices Since 1994

World Gold Council - Chart of Gold Fineness