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What is Gold Karat?

The term “karat” has been used for centuries to as a unit of gold purity. This is not the same as “carat” which is a measurement of diamond weight. Normally we see 10k, 14k, or 18k jewelry, and naturally the higher you go the more pure the gold is. But what do they really mean?

Let’s start with 24k gold, which is pure, 100%, real mccoy gold. From now on, think of every piece of gold as having a purity that ranges between 0 and 24. So, if we have a 10k piece of gold, that means 10 parts of 24 is gold, and the other 14 are other alloys. This equates to 41.67% gold and 58.33% of other alloys. Here is a chart that lists out the other purities.

gold karat

What other alloys are being used to make up the rest of your jewelry? There are an array of alloys that are typically used, such as silver, copper, nickel, zinc, or palladium. Some metals are chosen over others to alter the color. For example, “rose” gold has parts of copper to give that reddish color, and white gold is mixed with a white metal like silver, nickel, or palladium. 

The Gold Refining Process – how gold is refined

The Five Stages of Metal Refining: From Ore to Pure

The Royal Canadian Mint refines their gold using these five steps:

1. Pre-melt

Doré bars in purities ranging from 5% to 95% are melted in a furnace. Dip samples are taken from the molten gold to determine its purity.

2. Chlorination

Chlorine gas is injected into the molten metal mix. All metals but gold float to the surface to form a slag of molten chloride. The resulting 995 fine gold is poured into an anode mould.

3. Degolding

Soda ash is added to the molten chloride slag recovered from chlorination. The reaction causes gold particles to collect in a silver-gold alloy ‘button’ that settles at the bottom of the crucible.

4. Electrolysis

This process brings gold to 9999 purity. The gold anode is placed in a bath containing a solution of hydrochloric acid and gold chloride. The anode is then subjected to an electric current. The anode dissolves, and the dissolved gold plates onto a titanium cathode. Impurities (mostly silver) fall to the bottom of the cell or form soluble chlorides.

5. Final pour

9999 fine gold is cast into bars of various sizes or turned into granulation gold.

The Gold Refining Process

Why People are Selling Their Gold

The rise in the price of gold over the past 20 years has caused a lot of people to think more about selling their old jewelry. In this Video we explain why more people are now selling their gold.

Let’s just talk a little bit about how the company came to be,  how you had a kind of a weird experience with these mail order Sell Your Gold To Us in some bizarre place. It’s just not it’s not face-to-face and a lot of people especially now with gold.

Charlie, when you what started the company you see you talked earlier gold was worth about we set about  300 bucks and ounce and then you watched it grow to 600 and went: ”Whoa, ok.” Now it’s worth a thousand dollars more than that an ounce. It’s up around 1600 bucks an ounce.

An amazing climb in value, over such a short period of time.

Charlie: Yeah, the last ten years of just been an unprecedented for what’s happened with gold price. It was sitting around 300 an ounce from the 1980’s till about 2000. We started the business after that climb started because that’s when it really became worthwhile to dig through your old gold but now that it’s kind of continued on that same trend for the last for the last couple years so it’s now at 1600 dollars an ounce roughly, 5 or 6 times what it was when a lot of people would have bought their gold.

Stirling: I think Greg, that that causes people to think about selling more so when you know its 1600 buck an ounce on the open market.  Maybe I’m sitting on something that may actually have some real (value). I’ve got to do this cleaning,  I’m either going to throw this stuff out or maybe I should go have it appraised because at 1600 bucks an ounce it’s… worth my time and effort. You get quite a.. quite a colourful group of people coming in with gold.  So let’s talk about what sort of gold you accept.

Because all I’ve talked about so far is rings and  jewelry pieces and I have a feeling that only represents a small portion of your business .

Greg: It does vary quite a bit. I mean we’re seeing people basically that are bringing items in that they don’t really have any want or need for any more … and with the price of gold so high, you know, the threshold for what is worthwhile hanging on to what’s not  starts is a little bit lower. If you’ve got something that’s been sitting there for 10 years and you don’t think that you’ll be wearing it again for other ten years  then really at 1600 dollars an ounce is probably pretty good time to cash it in and use that money for something else.

Stirling: What if it’s kinda ugly and old and I would never have worn the darn thing in the first place but it was a gift, so what the heck?

Greg: No, you know to be perfectly honest we see a lot of ugly old jewelry and  that’s fine,  I mean that’s what were in that that’s for a business to do is .. you know something that is broken or worn out … in terms of pure gold content isn’t worth any less than a perfectly brand new piece of jewelry.

So you know that’s a type stuff would actually prefer to see we don’t want people to have to be selling something that’s really nice and brand new and that  they might want to otherwise want to keep.

Stirling: Right

Greg:  Because, you know;  the gold content in an item is going to be..  that only represents one part

of the value of it obviously.

Stirling: Charlie accuse me of being old and creepy if you will, but I’ve got to ask you this

what about gold teeth?  Do people do buy teeth and the people bring teeth to your store?

Charlie:  Oh yeah we…

Stirling:  They used to be really popular you know, back a generation before me that was  – it was a very acceptable kind of thing to do – have a shiny gold tooth!

Charlie: Even though the gold teeth that.. so first of all to answer your question we see a lot of gold teeth. that’s almost a perfect example of what we buy it. It’s something that really of no use to you to keep  and this is the perfect time to cash it in.

Stirling: Okay, alright.

Greg:  and by the way, this is a tooth that’s already been taken out of someone..

All: Laughs

Greg: We don’t provide dental services at the store.

Stirling: There are no extraction services provided at Vancouver Gold. Good to know.

Charlie: The gold teeth we buy are not necessarily  gold colour always, we do buy the white gold ones.

They usually have a little less gold content in them, but they’re. We buy it all basically.

Stirling: It sounds;  judging by the expression on your face, sounds like it’s fairly commonplace?

Charlie, Greg: It is. Absolutely.

Stirling:  Of course, of course.  Gold is up and down. It’s a roller coaster ride and if you’re a gold person and that’s your  retirement it could be a stressful .. holding, unless you’ve got lots and lots of it.

But in terms of the consumer… if you have  this written estimate describing all of your

uh… submissions, that gives you a pretty powerful weapon if you are comparison shopping Greg, as you say a lot of people do.  You can take that estimate from Vancouver Gold and run it by a couple of competitors and chances are you’re not going to get that thorough… a comparable returned quote are you?

Greg: Well certainly the other gold buyers in town they don’t have the same type of testing equipment that we have because what is all about. We have the capability to measure down to the thousandth of a percentile on our xray machines.  We’ve got density machines.  Our buyers are very highly trained  in the in the art of testing gold.

How Selling Your Gold Works

When someone brings their gold into our stores, we will sit down with them in a no-pressure environment to test the gold to give them an estimate on what it is worth. Learn how selling your gold works in this video.

Stirling:  Let’s take even one step back away from there yeah and talk about your company the one you founded and you co-own with your brother’s across Canada.  What exactly does the company do Charlie?

Charlie:  Absolutely yeah, we buy gold.  We focus on jewelry, so you know anything people have lying around their house.. we buy silver jewelry, gold jewelry and when you come into our office. We kinda sit down one-on-one with each person in kind of … you know that the no-pressure environment and will test the gold and we’ll give  an estimate on what that’s worth, and if they’re interested in selling uh… we buy it on the spot there for them.

Stirling: Interesting now, this is a very timely conversation Greg and Charlie because what just a couple of days ago spring that happened. A lot of us are well, stuck with spring cleaning job jar assignments for the next few weeks and during the course of spring cleaning over the next few weeks, more than a few of us are going to come across some thing … a bit of jewelry,  an object, may be something that was a gift maybe something goes back to your high school graduation or even further… and you’re going to go my gosh I forgot my even had this thing well now what do i deal with it maybe it’s worth something how do i go about finding out if this object I haven’t seen for twenty years and discovered at the back of that old drawer is actually worth something,  Charlie. What do I do?

Charlie: Yeah, absolutely.  We’ve got four stores in the lower mainland. We’ve got a Vancouver store on Broadway,  we’ve got one in Surrey,  one in Richmond and one in north Vancouver . So  you just kinda gather up whatever you have, you don’t have to know what it is or what you’re expecting. We can kind of let you know what it is, so you come into whatever stores no appointment necessary yoi just kind of walk in the world sit down with you and give you all the details.

Now we’re talking about gold Charlie by the ounce – of this astronomical sixteen hundred dollars but when you talk about pricing to the consumer you do it by the gram. So.  Why?

Charlie: When we see someone come in with a little bit of gold jewelry, it’s going to be point zero three – like it going to be so small, usually that point zero three s actually going to be more than that. It’s usually a more useful units and something people understand a little more easily, something people can compare I to what they know.  One gram of gold is worth between – you know if it’s ten karat gold – we do post the prices online on but by roughly one gram of gold; for ten karat gold is going to be worth about sixteen dollars a gram. If you get up to twenty four karat gold you’re going to be looking at over thirty dollars a gram and that depends it is worth a little bit more if it’s a coin or bullion than jewelry ’cause we don’t have to refine those.

Stirling: Sure

Charlie:  but yeah i just wanted to just to give people an idea of what maybe what they can expect our average customer. We run the numbers –  look at what they come in with and it’s more than five hundred dollars people leave with and these are people often expecting that you know they have a couple of old chains.. something… they don’t know what they have, right?

Stirling: Few of us do

Charlie: Exactly

Stirling: But it looks like it might be worth something so it’s worth a trip to the store to find out.

Charlie: If they find a broken chain in they were going to throw it out but someone told them to you know check it out, bring it in then we get lots of referrals that way and that’s great.

Stirling: So how do we how do we can we figured grams? Not many of us have scales that are that fine give us uh… a benchmark is uh… how to recognize weight that way

Charlie:  Yeah absolutely. A Canadian quarter weighs four grams a loony weighs seven grams.. so just.. it’s not going to be perfect. We weigh it all, that’s no problem.

Stirling: Oh that’s a good ballpark

Charlie: But it’s a ballpark, it gives you an idea. So if you have for piece of jewelry that weighs the same as a loony if it’s ten karat gold you’re looking at little over a hundred dollars.  If its fourteen karat gold, you’re looking at a little over a hundred and fifty dollars, just to give you a very rough idea there.

Stirling: I’m looking at some of the tips and this is from the website uh…, friends and it’s a terrific website at if you are as many of us are these days, spring cleaning or just uh… moving things around the house and come across at more than a few objects that you figure could be worth something then that’s why you’ve tuned in to the right radio program this time around because of there are now options for you to look at and uh… taking these in for appraisal at Vancouver Gold .. is a really a strong option to consider and from the website the better business bureau people Charlie, say the true price of gold may not be what you receive. If gold is worth of for round numbers sixteen hundred bucks at house and you actually managed to bring an ounce of gold tool for appraisal, you may not receive $600.00 right uh…


Charlie: That’s a great point actually. A lot of people wrongly assume that since there’s a market price of gold, no matter where they sell their gold, it doesn’t matter, that you’re going to get that price but no, no one is really paying a hundred percent. There’s some refining fees and charges basically.

Stirling: Right, Right.

Charlie: One factor is obviously the purity of the gold. If you bring in one ounce of 10 karat gold you’re not actually bringing in an ounce of pure gold prices but the other kind of more important thing to note is that you know the people who are the pawn shops.. you know you have to make sure which gold buyer you’re dealing with and there’s a huge range of what people are paying down to 20% or less is quite common – up to 80 or 90%. Our prices, we start at about 70% for jewelry .. and it goes up depending on what the items are … what the purity is – if it’s coins, it goes to the 95% or so.

Stirling: Of course. Because that has been strictly controlled right from the get-go with coins. It’s a safe reliable format.

Charlie: It’s safe and reliable. If a coin, if a Canadian Maple Leaf coin with four nines on it, that’s actually going to have a full ounce of gold in it. There’s all these other factors you know you had a ten carat gold from the eighties or before, nine point five carat is what’s actually in those pieces.

How Do I Know What It’s Worth?

It’s the question most people ask themselves before heading out to cash it in: “Will I get $50? $100? $500? I have no idea!”

The truth is that price charts, weights and stamps found on most gold buyers’ websites, including our own, mean nothing if you’ve just got a bit of gold and no way of weighing or testing it.

That’s why we’ve been busy uploading pictures and the prices we paid for some of our recent purchases. Lots of jewellery is mass-manufactured, so you might actually find exactly what you’re trying to sell in our list of items we’ve already bought. Find out exactly what your gold is worth!

You’ll see that it really doesn’t matter what your gold looks like; whether it’s broken, worn-out or just plain ugly, it doesn’t matter! Vancouver Gold pays strictly for the precious-metal content in your jewelry.

You’ll also notice there’s a loonie placed in each picture, just to give you a common reference point in case you’re wondering what size the piece is.

With a 150% highest payout guarantee, and as the only gold buyer in the Lower Mainland to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau, trust in Vancouver Gold.

Click the link below to see pictures and prices of our recent gold purchases.


Example Vancouver Gold Purchases – Actual Gold Selling Prices!
Vancouver Gold Buyer – We Post our Gold Buying Prices Daily. Vancouver Gold Proudly shares its Industry-Leading Purchase Prices. Call 604-876-GOLD Today.

When Selling Gold its Seller Beware

It seems that no matter where you go, there is some sort of ad (whether it be print, television, radio or digital) about selling your Gold. While many people are turned off by this advertising, the fact remains that Gold is at an all time high, and it represents a great opportunity for people to make a neat profit on any of their unwanted Gold.

Vancouver Gold’s Greg Neilson was recently interviewed on News 1130 about the gold buying/selling process and what buyers should look out for when looking to sell their gold or other precious metals. Here are some key points from the interview:

– Seller Beware!! You have to know what you have and understand the market value of your goods to get an accurate price. Vancouver gold posts current gold prices daily so you will know exactly how much the market value of your gold will be.

– If possible, sell your gold in person to an accredited buyer. There are many options where you can mail in your gold or sell it at some sort of travelling vendor, but unless you have a qualified, honest buyer in front of you, there is a risk of getting underpaid. Some of these vendors will only pay you 20 cents on the dollar of the actual value.

– What purity of gold do you have? This is usually marked on your gold piece with a halmark, but if not, this can easily be tested by doing what’s called the scratch test. The buyer will rub your gold on a stone and then test the purity with different acid solutions. At Vancouver Gold this will be done right in front of you.

– How much does your gold weigh? A gold buyer will weigh your gold (in grams) and that in conjunction with the purity will determine the value of your gold. For things like jewelry there will be a scrap price, but things like minted gold coins will often pe paid out at near full value.

– Make sure your comfortable with your estimate. After your gold is tested and weighed, you will be given a purchase value. There is no obligation to sell.

Like anything else, it makes sense to be educated. The more you know about the gold selling process, the less likely you are to get ripped off. Vancouver Gold is the only buyer in the Vancouver area that is recognized by the Better Business Bureau and they offer a price guarantee. If you find a better price for your gold anywhere else, they will beat it by 50%.

You can hear the radio interview with Greg Neilson here.



How to protect yourself when selling gold

Most people know there are many companies out there trying to convince you to sell your gold, it’s hard to miss all the ads. This highly competitive market attracts many different businesses which is great for consumers, but there are some important factors to consider before selling your gold.

Make sure you arm yourself with the right information before making your decision to sell, the BBB has put together a quick guide which is a great place to start:


Better Business Bureau tips to protect yourself when selling your gold and jewellery for cash – BBB News Center
Stay up to date on all the important news, alerts and breaking stories in the world of business via the Better Business Bureau’s News Center.

Turning Old Gold Into New Memories

What Would You Do With a Little Extra Cash?

Having served thousands of customers all across Canada, our gold buyers get to hear all sorts of different stories from many clients about how they acquired their items, where they came from and how long they’ve been sitting around. But often it’s the story about what people plan to do with the windfall from cashing-in their unwanted items like old gold that’s most interesting.

Here is a recollection from one of our buyers:

“I remember speaking with a divorcee from Vancouver who was finally ridding herself of all the jewellery she had received from her estranged husband over the years. The old jewellery that she never wore had been sitting at home collecting dust and she thought it might be worthwhile to bring it down to our store.

She came in with her friend who was planning on going to the outdoor equipment store next door afterwards to pick up some supplies for a camping trip that they were planning.

When we handed her over $2000 for the items that she had brought in she smiled from ear to ear. The money she got from her old jewellery was more than enough to pay for all of the camping equipment they were going to buy, it would pay for all the camping trips they were planning that summer.

When she thanked me for helping out, I could tell that she was quite happy with the situation and would be up for a joke, so I said that perhaps she should thank her ex-husband. She and her friend laughed hysterically all the way to the camping store and seemed to be pleased that an unpleasant chapter in her life had been turned into a fun day turning a new page.”

We see it all the time; when people bring in old memories so they can start over and use the money for something important in their lives, it really seems to be a great way to heal old wounds. Who would have thought that a trip to Vancouver Gold could be just as useful as (and much more profitable than) a trip to the psychologist!

Another heart-warming story we heard recently was from a single mom who was just trying to scrape together some money to go on a nice holiday with her daughter:

“My daughter has always begged me to take her to Disneyland, it’s been one of her dreams ever since she first heard about the place. I’ve never been able to afford it, and I certainly didn’t think I had enough old jewellery lying around to pay for it, I was just planning on taking her to a theme park near Seattle.

When I got a cheque for over $3200 from Vancouver Gold I was blown away. I finally had enough money to take my daughter to Disneyland and make her the happiest little girl ever!

I can’t thank Vancouver Gold enough, you were professional throughout the whole process and really helped us to fulfill my daughter’s wishes, thank-you!”

A big thank-you to all our customers who keep our jobs so interesting and make it all possible.