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Measuring grains


Greetings everyone. I would like to know if/how it is possible to
measure the weight of precious metals in grains. I am not a math wiz,
so cannot figure out if I can convert dwt or grams to grains. I have
an electronic scale that measures in pennyweights and grams. I have
the feeling that I need another type of balance scale with weights-is
this so?

Gail Middleton
Brooklyn, NY


It’s a really good converter! Steve Fox


Gail: Divide the weight in grams by 15. 15 grains equals 1 gram. You
can get a grain scale at a gun shop where bullet reloading equipment
is sold.

Michael R Mathews Sr


Gail, NO!! You certainly do NOT need a new scale to weigh things in
grains. Simply weigh your material in grams and multiply that number
by 15.43. Presto! You have the weight in grains. Now wasn’t that
easy?..Bob Williams


Gail, 1 gram = 15.43 grains troy…hope this helps…Char

Ms. Charolette’s Gold & Gem Specialties LLC
Rob & Charolette Purviance Jr.
115 N. 2nd Street
Guthrie, OK. 73044
(405)-260-0613 store
(405)-260-0638 office
(405)-260-0634 fax


Dear Gail,

I just checked an old balance scale we have here at school. The
weights say 24 grains to 1 pennyweight (dwt.). I also put the weights
on a digital scale and they confirm the ratio. You just have to turn
everything into 24ths.

Best Regards,
TR the Teacher
Todd Hawkinson


Hi Gail,

20 dwt. to the troy oz.---- 24 gr. to the dwt.---- 480 gr. to the
troy oz. Tim McCreights book “The Complete Metalsmith” has all of
the conversion tables that you need.

I have a cartridge reloading electronic scale that weighs in grams
and grains that I have used for years for both reloading ammunition
and also for weighing gold in my dental lab practice. A grain,
1/24th of a dwt., is the same in both troy weight and in avoir dupois
weight. Regards,


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
A day without sunshine is like night!


One slight correction. divide the gram weight by 15.43

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.

#9    It's a really good

It’s a great converter, yes, but my problem also entails measuring
the correct amount of metal with the scale I have. I don’t think I
will be able to do it. MetalCalc converts 5 grains to .208360… dwt
(amount abbreviated). Does this mean that I can measure out .2 dwt and
have the correct amount of metal? If there are 24 grains in a dwt, and
my scale measures in tenths of a dwt ( starting with 0.0, 0.1, 0.2,
0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 and then jumps to 1.0) how can I get
an accurate measure? When measuring such a small amount, don’t I
need a scale with more accurate increments? If I need 16 grains,
converted to .666752… dwt, would I measure out .6 dwt of metal or .7
dwt? It seems that there is a large margin of error, no?

Except for scales costing over $350.00 US, I have not been even been
able to find a scale that measures in grains. All of the catalogs I
have (except Fischer from Germany - I can’t read language) have weight
sets, but they are for either dwts or grams. How would I use them? It
seems my problem would be the same, if I cannot find weights measured
in grains.

Then again, I remember math problems in high school where we had to
measure out an amount of liquid without having the correct size
measuring cups. (I did not do well in high school math…)

Gail Middleton
Brooklyn, NY


As mentioned earlier, powder scales are a great way to measure in
grains. A link to new powder scales from $30 - $184: and

Here’s a PACT digital powder scale on Ebay for $36:

If you need more accuracy than 0.1 grain, try searching on Ebay for
other kinds of scales. Enter Mettler, Voland, Ohaus, Fischer and
search. I use a Mettler B5 analytical balance for all kinds of
projects. It weighs down to 0.0001g and I got it for $50.00 on Ebay! I
have another digital scale that I wrote on with a sharpie
"1gram=15.43grains" to remind me. Also wrote it on the face of my shop
calculator. Happy crafting, Steve Fox

   Gail: Divide the weight in grams by 15. 15 grains equals 1 gram.
You can get a grain scale at a gun shop where bullet reloading
equipment is sold. 

I would like to offer a caution in using this value, as it will
produce a 2.88% error in calculation!

Actually, 1 “grain” = 64.79891 milligrams, or = .0647981 grams,

which is 15.43255 grains to the gram. Didn’t really mean to be a
"nit picker" (American expression), but sometimes that "little"
insignificant error (2.88%) can hurt you.

A 25 carat gem on a grain scale would weigh 77.16 grains. Converting
77.16 grains to carats using 15 grains to the gram would yield 5.144
grams, or 25.72 carats. If I was buying that gem, I would be
overpaying for 0.72 carats. Depending on the cost per carat, this
may be trivial, or an expensive error!

An extra tidbit here - this kind of fits in with the discussion going
on about units of measurements. While most measurement systems have
their origin based on the trades or scientific research, their
ultimate usage usually comes down to commerce of one sort or another,
although, of course, not always. While your background may cause you
to prefer one measurement system over another, you can usually
convert from one to the other. Your “quartz” wrist watch is a
product of science and keeps fabulous time due to scientific pursuit
of greater accuracy. Greater accuracy usually requires better
resolution. Greater resolution allows us “facetors” to cut with
better uniformity, even though our skill level is below that of a

My apology for rambling so over such a, perhaps to some, trivial
matter. By training, schooling, and experience I am an Engineer,
Metrologist (art and science of measurements) and an amateur facetor.
I can contribute little to the Arts - I suppose I am to
"structured". I can, however suggest different ways to look at use
of measuring tools and units, etc.

To all, have a nice day, and again, my apology for being so wordy.

John Trautmann;



  Why are do you need to measure in grains? I'm sorry if I missed
  this in your initial post. 

  Grains is a very small unit to use for alloying metal. 

  You can get an inexpensive reloading balance from a shooting
  supply or sporting goods store. I believe that RCBS makes a good

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
P.M.B. 131, 305 N. Second Ave.
Upland, California 91786-6028

E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen


Hi Gail, If you absolutely cannot find scales that measure grain, try
this: roll out a thin piece of silver, about half a mm thick… Using
shears, cut a rectangular strip about ten mm wide and 2 inches long.(
Hows that for mixing measurements?) Trim and weigh until you have
exactly one dwt. With shears, cut this exactly in half. Each will
weigh one half dwt. Mark one 12g. Cut the other in half and mark one
6g. Mark the remaining piece in thirds and shear off one third. Mark
it 1g and mark the larger piece 2g. This gives you a set of weights
with which to work. I had to try this twice before I could get it to
work accurately. I borrowed a set of weights from a friend to check
myself. These weights are rutinely used to weigh waxes before
casting- and have been for the thirty years since I made them. Have
fun. Tom Arnold