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Gold doré

Gold doré refers to a bar composed of a mixture of precious metals, though these bars generally contain gold and silver. A doré bar is usually produced as part of the mining and refining process, but can also be created from scrap gold.

It is a very imprecise term that is applied to numerous forms of partially-refined gold. On average, a doré bar contains 50-75% pure gold. These bars require further refinement before the metal can be used as raw material for producing gold items. Gold doré bars are therefore neither ore nor bullion, but simply metal bars with a high gold content.

Pure gold is extremely malleable, and is usually mixed with other metals for jewellery and other items that need to be hard-wearing. Counter-intuitively, after a doré bar has been refined, the process is reversed – returning the alloy back to its pure state. This could then even be alloyed once more; however unlike doré bars, the resulting metal will be a precisely defined alloy with known metal characteristics.

Gold doré bars can be assayed for their gold content, and traded in a similar manner to bullion bars. The market is very small however, and generally limited to specialist dealers, refiners, and mints. This is because doré bars are not held to any specific standard and are different from refiner to refiner. Some of these bars can weigh as much as 25kg, and the purity can vary greatly. Gold doré bars also lack the necessary purity to be considered as investment gold. Without this they could be VAT applicable under UK law, making them far less viable as an investment vehicle.

Please note: BullionByPost do not purchase gold doré bars. We believe it is far simpler and safer for investors to buy processed and formed gold items such as bullion coins and bars.

What is gold doré?

The term gold doré is an embellishment of the French “doré” which literally translates as golden, gilt or gilded.

Gold doré bars commonly come from two sources; mines or reclamation scrap. Mines almost never excavate pure gold ore. Most ores contain a mixture of gold and other useful base and/or precious metals. Silver for example is one of the precious metals most often found with gold ore, so a doré bar will often be made primarily from these two metals.

For ease of transport it is common practice for mines to partially refine the ore they produce. This removes any waste materials which have no further value, while reducing the output to manageable compact bars. Any dirt, rocks, or cavities are removed, leaving a single lump of metal that is easier to handle for refineries.

The resulting amalgams are referred to as doré bars. These partially refined bars may contain a mixture of gold, silver and/or other base and precious metals.

Graphic showing the supply chain for gold doré bars.

Scrap metal gold doré bars are again produced to ease transport by saving space. Scrap metal with a high gold content is often crushed or melted to form doré bars ready for further refining. As an example, someone who buys scrap gold jewellery will melt the scrap into a single doré bar. If you imagine the wasted space in a ring or bracelet, it is easy to see the appeal in melting the items down.

  • Gold doré is partially refined metal with a high gold content
  • The majority of doré is produced by mines and metal recycling
  • Gold doré bars generally contain 50 - 75% pure gold