Beware of national companies buying gold! Television and online reports have found that a number of these companies are paying much lower for gold than many local jewelers, even the ones that claim to “own” their refineries. A local retail jeweler from Massachusetts sent gold to one of these nationally advertised companies. He received a check for $18.73. I would have offered $84 for the same amount of gold.
A legend suggests that there is a little Pharaoh’s gold in every piece of jewelry; that is, gold from thousands of years ago still exists in today’s jewelry. The truth in the statement comes from the refining and recycling of gold alloy.
Refining is a series of processes by which karat gold is melted down, assayed and separated from its other alloys. Pure gold is called 24 karat gold, which is a total of 24 units, while 14 karat gold is 14 units of gold to 10 units of other metal alloys such as copper, nickel, zinc, etc.
These other alloys change the color of naturally yellow gold. More copper in the alloy mixture creates a rose colored gold. More nickel or other white metal creates white gold.
The price of gold is based on the gold commodities market of 24 karat gold per Troy ounce (for those weighing their jewelry on a kitchen scale, you are using a different measure called an Avoirdupois ounce. The jewelry industry uses a more precise measure known as a pennyweight.) However, the price of gold jewelry includes additional costs. When gold jewelry is refined, the original labor, design, casting, advertising, and overhead costs to create and sell a piece of jewelry are lost.
In addition, the refining process is not inexpensive. Refiners work with toxic chemicals and must meet environmental standards. This is why the price paid for refining gold jewelry (known as scrap) is less than the cost you pay for a new piece of jewelry.
A smaller amount of 24K gold is extracted from refined 14K gold. This refining process also removes impurities, allowing the gold to be reconstituted into new 14K (or 10K, 18K, etc) gold products, jewelry, findings, castings, bullion, etc. Thus, the gold is recycled. So who knows, maybe you have a bit of Pharaoh’s gold in your jewelry.