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The purity of gold or silver represents the ratio of gold or silver in the alloy from which the jewelry is produced, the hardening alloy. It is not possible to produce jewelry and other objects made of pure gold or silver because these metals are simply too soft.
E.g. 925 (925/000 or 925/1000), alternatively known as "sterling silver."
The percentage of silver in the alloy, e.g. 925/1000 is 92.5% pure silver.
800 or 800/000 or 800/1000 – 80% silver
This type of silver is the most frequently used for cutlery (spoons, forks, knives, ladles, etc.), cups, plates, vases, statues and other similar large pieces. In some countries, jewelry is made of this lower quality silver (especially Egypt, Turkey, etc.)
900 or 900/000 or 900/1000 or "coin silver" – 90% silver
This type of silver is especially used in the US in the production of silver coins.
925 or 925/0000 or 925/1000 or "standard silver" or "sterling silver" – 92.5% silver
This type of silver is the world's most frequently produced silver, used to make high-quality silver jewelry. It is the standardized purity in many countries.
950 or 950/000 or 950/1000 or "sterling 950" or "Minerva silver" – 95% silver.
The name "sterling 950" is used exclusively in Japan (for historical reasons). The name "Minerva silver" is used in France.
"Britannia silver" – 95,84%
This is name and type of silver used exclusively in England (for historical reasons).
980 or 980/000 or 980/1000 silver – 98%
Sometimes called "Mexican silver," this type of silver is sometimes used for tea strainers.
999 or 999/000 or 999/1000 or "fine silver" or "pure silver" – 99.9% silver
This pure silver is too soft for ordinary use. This kind of silver is used for the production of investment bars.
E.g. 750 or 750/000 or 750/1000 or 18K
a) The percentage of gold in the alloy, e.g., 750/1000 is 75% pure gold in the alloy.
b) The proportion of gold in the alloy is given in carats. Take care not to confuse carat when used for gold to determine purity and carat when used for diamonds to determine weight. They are completely different entities. Pure gold is 24K (24 carat). For example, purity of 18K gold is calculated as: 18/24 = 0.75 = 75%. 14K gold: 14 / 24 = 0.583 = 58.3%
9K or 375 or 375/000 or 375/1000 – 37.5% gold
Used mainly in England, Russian and former USSR countries.
10K – 41.7% gold
Used mainly in the US.
14K or 583 (old marking) or 585 (new marking) or 585/000 or 585/1000 – 58.5% gold (some countries allow 58.3%)
Used worldwide, mainly in the US, Russia and Europe.
18K or 750 or 750/000 or 750/1000 – 75% gold
Used worldwide, mainly in the US, England, Europe and Arabic countries.
19.2K or 800 or 800/000 or 800/1000 – 80% gold
Historically used mainly in southern Europe (e.g., countries such as Portugal)
21K or 875 or 875/000 or 875/1000 – 87.5% gold
Used mainly in Arabic countries in the Gulf region.
22K – 91.6% gold
Used mainly in Arabic countries, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
24K or 999 or 999/000 or 999/1000 – 99.9% gold
Too soft for ordinary use. This type of gold is used mainly in the production of investment gold bars.
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