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Updated 12:30 28/02/21

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24k Gold

24k gold is considered the purest possible gold available. The “k” in 24k gold refers to the carat system of measurement; in which gold fineness is defined in parts of 24. America uses carat for gemstones (such as diamonds), and karat when referring to gold.

If an item is referred to as 24k gold then this means it is – for all intents and purposes – pure gold, 24/24 parts being gold. This is occasionally used for gold jewellery, but is generally too soft for anything that might be used regularly. To make the gold strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life, gold alloys are created, and hallmarks are applied to the gold by independent assay offices to ensure the purity. Hallmarking uses the millesimal system in thousandth parts of purity, so a 24k or 24-carat hallmark will be an oval with “999” stamped inside.

24k Gold purity

The purity of 24k gold is .999 fineness, or above. Creating 100% pure gold is not technically feasible, so 99.9% fine gold is considered ‘pure’ gold. The highest purity of gold created was by Australia’s Perth Mint, and was 99.9999% - ‘six nines’ fineness. This is 0.0001% shy of being entirely pure gold.

As mentioned above, this is too soft for most practical uses such as jewellery, but 24k gold is used for the majority of investment gold. At BullionByPost, all of our gold bars are pure, 24k gold. Coins, however, can vary depending on refiner, or the specific coin.

In the UK, the Royal Mint’s Gold Britannia coin is one of the most popular 24 ‘karat’ gold coins, produced to 999.9 fineness. This is also true of the Royal Mint’s Lunar and Queen’s Beasts coins, which are also 24-carat gold. The Sovereign however, holding to centuries of tradition, is produced in 22-carat gold.

The 'six nines' fineness may have proved too costly for mass production, but Perth Mint still maintains a focus on pure gold coins, and the Australian Gold Nugget is struck from 24k gold.

The Canadian Royal Mint also produce their Maple coin series in 24k gold, and have something of a rivalry with the Perth Mint. So far, the Canadian Royal Mint have managed to refine their gold to a purity of ‘five nines’ – 99.999% - and use this regularly for commemorative coins.