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Legal definition of carats in the USA


#1

Hello All, I would like to ask a question. I recently bought K14
casting grain and used it to make rings with. The idea was to sell
these rings in Ireland. Since no tolerances are tolerated in Ireland,
it is very important for me that the gold was really K14. It turns
out that it is not. The alloys contain only 584.4 and 584.5 parts of
gold for every 1000 parts of metal. I always thought that K14 meant
585 parts of gold for every 1000 parts of metal. Would this also be a
legal definition? I mean, when I buy K14 shot and it is only 584.5,
then it is not really K14 or is it? If it is not K14 is selling
casting grain as if it is K14 a crime or not? More would be very
much appreciated. Best, Will


#2

Will, Fourteen karat means 14/24 in the USA. This is 583.333/1000.

A note of caution. Years ago an alloy for casting sample lines was
sold under the name K14. It was not gold. It was not sold as 14K. It
was an imitation gold.

Bruce


#3

14K means 14 parts in 24. So… Divide 14 by 24.58333333333333333333

The material is very slightly RICHER in gold that it needs to be and
can be designated as 14K. It will pass European assay.

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040


#4

William: the definition of 14 kt is 14 of 24 parts pure gold. If
you do the math that comes out to 583.33 parts per one thousand pure
gold. Most refiners and people who sell alloyed gold use 524 or 525
to avoid under carating and the penalty that goes with it. Sellers
also charge for 525 when it is alloyed at 524 or 524.5 to help cover
the labor and cost of alloy. I have always bought 999.99 pure and
done my own alloy work to avoid this extra cost and to have control
of my alloy percentages as well as consistency in the alloy used.
These percentage laws were changed to eliminate the 13.5 kt goods
being sold as 14kt there was a .5kt variance allowed . This was a
standard in the trade for years until the change by the Feds ( I do
not remember the year it was changed but I do remember it happening
and I hope my memory serves me correctly on the varience percentage.
20-25 years ago???) to the no variance standard
of today. Things must be 583.33 to be stamped 14kt. Frank Goss


#5

Will, Here is the relevant section of the ‘Gold Labeling Act of
1976’ which was the update to the ‘‘National Gold and Silver
Stamping Act of 1906’’

The actual line of interest is “shall not be less by more than
three one-thousandth parts”

US CODE TITLE 15 CHAPTER 8 Sec. 295. - Standard of fineness of gold
articles; deviation

In the case of articles of merchandise made in whole or in part of
gold or of any of its alloys so imported into or exported from the
United States, or so deposited in the United States mails for
transmission, or so delivered for transportation to any common
carrier, or so transported or caused to be transported as specified
in section 294 of this title, the actual fineness of such gold or
alloy shall not be less by more than three one-thousandth parts than
the fineness indicated by the mark stamped, branded, engraved, or
printed upon any part of such article, or upon any tag, card, or
label attached thereto, or upon any box, package, cover, or wrapper
in which such article is incased or inclosed: Provided, That in any
test for the ascertainment of the fineness of any article mentioned
in this section, according to the foregoing standards, the part of
the article taken for the test, analysis, or assay shall be such
part or portion as does not contain or have attached thereto any
solder or alloy of inferior fineness used for brazing or uniting the
parts of said article: Provided further, That, in addition to the
foregoing tests and standards, the actual fineness of the entire
quantity of gold or of its alloys contained in an article mentioned
in this section, including all solder and alloy of inferior fineness
used for brazing or uniting the parts of such article (all such
gold, alloys, and solder being assayed as one piece), shall not be
less by more than three one-thousandth parts, in the case of a
watchcase or flatware, or than seven one-thousandth parts, in the
case of any other such article, than the fineness indicated by the
mark stamped, branded, engraved, or imprinted upon such article, or
upon any tag, card, or label attached thereto, or upon any box,
package, cover, or wrapper in which such article is incased or
inclosed, it being intended that the standards of fineness and the
tests or methods for ascertaining the same provided in this section
for articles mentioned therein shall be concurrent and not
alternative

HTH
Jim


#6

Hello Will:

I mean, when I buy K14 shot and it is only 584.5, then it is not
really K14 or is it? If it is not K14 is selling casting grain as
if it is K14 a crime or not? More would be very much
appreciated. Best, Will 

Tolerances for fineness are given in the 1976 amendment to the
National Gold and Silver Stamping Act of 1906 (IS U.S. Code, section
294-on) .Fineness of gold alloy may not be more than 3/ 1000 parts
under the K mark fineness, for unsoldered gold, or 7/1000 parts for
soldered gold. If the quality mark is accompanied by specification of
fineness in thousandths ( as in British and European stamping), no
minus tolerance is allowed.
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/294.html

Michael R. Mathews Sr.


#7

most refiners have a spectorgraphy machine that will give them an
accurate reading on the metal, maybe you should change refiners or
suppliers that can get you a true 14Kt alloy

Aaron A Tracy


#8
turns out that it is not. The alloys contain only 584.4 and 584.5
parts of gold for every 1000 parts of metal. I always thought that
K14 meant 585 parts of gold for every 1000 parts of metal. Would
this 

I always was taught that the “14” in 14k represented the fraction
out of 24 (24k being pure gold). In other words, 14 karat gold
(14/24) is 58 and 1/3 percent gold, or .583333333… (etc), 18k gold
is 75% gold, 22k is 91 and 2/3% gold, etc. That’s why some people
find 10k gold ludicrous, as it isn’t even an even 42% gold! Not even
half… ;p

I’ve never heard of this thousandths way of measuring it, but if the
ppt gold you have is 584.4 parts per thousand (or as a percentage,
58.44% gold) or better, I’d say that’s well within legal gold
karatage. In fact, it’s above it! 585/1000 ppt gold makes for a
14.04k gold, if such a thing was marked.

–M. Osedo
http://www.studiocute.com


#9

How about a legal definition for carats in the UK? The most common
here is 9ct for items worn every day, because of its durability, but
18ct is also quite widely available in retail outlets particularly
for wedding rings. Before anyone tells me - I know I should use K not
ct, but that’s the way we English are!

Pat Waddington


#10
14K means 14 parts in 24. So... Divide 14 by 24.583333 The material
is very slightly RICHER in gold that it needs to be and can  be
designated as 14K. It will pass European assay. 

Sorry Tony, but no, it will not pass EU asay. Within the EU the
alloy which is normally called “14 karat” has to be stamped 585 and
MUST contain at least 585/1000 pure gold, - no tolerances allowed.
Not that it matters that much, but if the person originally asking
intends to sell his jewelry in Ireland, 583,333 per mille just is not
good enough. One of the places, where one could wish some
standardisation.

Kind regards

Niels Lovschal
Viking and Contemporary Jewellery in Gold and Silver
Bornholm
Denmark


#11

In the UK we have 9ct gold a well as the usual 14ct, 18ct and 22ct.
These are the ONLY allowed hallmarks. If you send in a piece of 18ct
that’s slightly under they mark it as 14ct.

It’s actually a very usefull gold, very hard and strong and it wears
exceptionally well. The color varies far more than other golds and
it draws well. Because it’s cheap it also allows younger designers to
work in gold without all the hangups that high carat golds cause. It
also solders like a dream!

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040


#12

Carat = 1/5 of a gram as used to weight

Karat = A measure of fineness ( fraction in 24 ths. ) gold in gold
alloy

ROBB


#13

After describing the precise nature of the British and Irish Assay
system which I am convinced is the best in the world ;o0, I hear on
our radio today that the Italians are trying to persuade us to
’harmonise’ with the rest of the European community and do away with
our Assay Offices. I guess they must be finding it tough to meet our
exacting minimum standards and want to pass off inferior goods on the
British market!!

Ian


#14
Sorry Tony, but no, it will not pass EU asay. Within the EU the
alloy which is normally called "14 karat" has to be stamped 585
and MUST contain at least 585/1000 pure gold, - no tolerances
allowed. 

Niels – Well, but then it isn’t going to be marked ‘14k’, it’s
going to be marked ‘585’, which is inherently different (one
represents 14/24, and one represents 585/1000). But what was
originally asked was regarding the 14k designation and whether the
makers of the alloy were underkarating their material. Which they
weren’t, as they were not selling their gold to be marked as 585, but
to be marked as 14k.

for wedding rings. Before anyone tells me - I know I should use K
not ct, but that's the way we English are! 

Pat – And actually, here in this dictionary entry it says that
’carat’ is a variant spelling of ‘karat’, so in a way you’re right
also. :wink: Though I wouldn’t normally imagine the two to be
interchangable, I doubt anyone is going to mistake the two in the way
they’re used…

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=karat

–M. Osedo
http://www.studiocute.com


#15

I much prefer the American system. You place your marks on the metal
yourself, where you want them, so you’re not at the whim of the
assay office and get over deep marks in inappropriate places during
rush weeks, and you live or die by that implied guarantee!

Much more grown-up!
Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040


#16

Dear M. Osedo

   Niels -- Well, but then it isn't going to be marked '14k', it's
going to be marked '585', which is inherently different (one
represents 14/24, and one represents 585/1000). But what was
originally asked was regarding the 14k designation and whether the
makers of the alloy were underkarating their material. Which they
weren't, as they were not selling their gold to be marked as 585,
but to be marked as 14k. 

My reason for this post was that within the EU one is not allowed to
mark gold with a karat designation but only with the per mille
numbers and the pieces must conform to the numbers, i.e. 333 (used to
be 8 karat, but actually is a little lower, as 8 karat should be 333
and 1/3 per mille).

Kind regards
Niels LF8vschal
Bornholm, Denmark


#17

You’ve discovered a variance that’s bedeviled American jewelry and
findings manufacturers for years. In the U.S., 14k is .583. In
Europe, it’s .585. Tolerances vary, but are typically greater in the
U.S. What the standard is where you live depends on the law that
governs gold content and tolerances: several folks have quoted the
U.S. law, but each country has its own. . The casting grain at .584 was
perfectly legally 14k in the U.S. The refiner isn’t trying to pull a
fast one, he’s just marketing to a U.S. audience (and may not even
realize that European countries use a different standard if he
doesn’t regularly do business in Europe). In the future, you’ll want
to specify the .585 standard, and you shouldn’t have the problem
again. (A good refiner will be capable of producing grain that
matches the European standard.)

BTW, you’ll want to ask your findings supplies the same question: if
the findings were manufactured exclusively for the U.S. market,
they’re probably .583. If the supplier does lots of business in
Europe, they’re more likely to be .585. If your supplier doesn’t
typically do business outside the U.S., he may not be aware of the
variation, either.

Suzanne
Suzanne Wade
Writer/Editor
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255
@Suzanne_Wade1
http://www.rswade.net