How to Calculate Gold to 14 Karat or 18 Karat

Gold may be white or yellow.
Gold may be white or yellow. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Selling gold requires calculations to determine the value. The United States measures gold in karats, and 24k is pure gold. Lower karat numbers have lesser quantities of gold, with 10k gold as the minimum acceptable for identification of gold in the U.S. Two other common gold purity marks are 14k and 18k. Gold that is 10k is .416, or 41.6 percent gold and 58.3 percent alloy or other metals. The 18k gold jewelry is .750, or 75 percent gold, and 14k gold pieces are .583 or 58.3 percent gold.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Gram scale
  • Computer
  • Calculator

Sort the gold by karat value. Most gold is marked on the inside or backside of the piece with an indication of the gold karat content, but you may need a magnifying glass to see the marks.

Weigh the gold on a gram scale. If you don't have a scale, you may need to visit a local pawn shop or jewelry store to weigh your items.

Refer to websites such as Kitco or the World Gold Council, which have current gold prices with daily updates for the current spot price of gold. These websites give gold spot price calculations by the ounce. Approximately 31.1 grams make an ounce.

Estimate the price of a gram of gold at today’s gold price. As an example, if gold is $1,240 an ounce, divide by 31 grams to arrive at $40 a gram for gold for that day.

Calculate the actual grams of gold in your item. If you have 3 grams of 14k gold, you have about 1.749 grams of actual gold. This is 58.3 percent gold multiplied by 3 grams. 3 grams of 18k gold equals 2.25 grams of gold in the piece.

Multiply the actual grams of gold by the price per gram for the day. Your 3 grams of 14k gold is 1.749 grams times $40 a gram, which equals $69.96 in actual gold. The 3 grams of 18k gold is valued at $90 when gold is $40 a gram, or $1,240 an ounce. Multiply 2.25 by $40 to arrive at $90.

Tips & Warnings

  • A local pawn shop or jewelry store can help you value your gold. These shops often have accurate equipment for testing and measurement of gold and precious stones.
  • If your gold jewelry has gemstones, you will not be able to weigh it accurately.
  • Watch for karat marks on jewelry that is not gold. With the increase in the value of gold, fake marks are more common. An electronic gold tester can tell the difference.

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