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375 Gold Guide - 9K Gold

Updated on July 20, 2015

Having jewelry made out of gold, or anything out of gold can be a great investment, so as long as you know what to look for. If you’ve ever turned that ring over to good light, you’ve probably seen a series of unfamiliar numbers or symbols. These numbers and symbols may seem like hieroglyphics, but truth is, they are a necessary way to identify many different things about your gold!

In this bit, I am shifting my focus to shed the light on 375 gold, specifically. What is 375 gold? Where might you find some? What is it used for? I will attempt to give thorough answers to these questions so you leave this article feeling a bit more knowledgeable!

375 Gold Percentage

Have some jewelry stamped with the numbers 375? Whenever you see three numbers stamped like this, it is a measurement of how much gold in parts per thousand. What this means is that if you take the number 375 and divide it by a thousand, you get .375, or 37.5% which is the gold content of the ring. What does this mean in terms of Karats?

  • The maximum number of Karats gold can be to be considered fully pure is 24 Karats. Any Karat number is telling you how many parts gold the ring is out of 24 Karats.

  • The minimum legal US gold standard to be truly considered gold is 10 Karats, or 417 fineness (10/24=.4166...67).

  • Gold with a fineness of 375 would be equivalent to 9 Karats, if you take 9 and divide it by 24.

In other words, you will not legally find gold marked 9K in the US, or even 375 for that matter, but other countries allow the sales of such gold, and even as low as 8 Karats such as in Mexico.

If only 37.5% of 375 gold is actually gold, what’s the rest of the metal? In jewelry making, strengthening gold with alloy metals is necessary as pure gold is very malleable and not the best choice for when it comes to jewelry. Most of the time, if you come across a piece of 24K gold jewelry, it’s more likely 24K gold plated.

So, in order to have a strong enough piece, it’s very necessary to mix gold with a stronger metal, often silver, palladium, copper, zinc, and others. In 375 gold, the other 62.5% will be comprised of some other metal and often times, the metal chosen is to enhance color. If you have a rose gold piece of jewelry, it’s likely that copper was added to give it that rose color.

Depending on the metals used, 9K gold may appear more like rose or silver colored.
Depending on the metals used, 9K gold may appear more like rose or silver colored. | Source

Uses for 375 Gold

Gold is used in various different industries, with the biggest being jewelry. Since it’s a terrific conductor of electricity, you will find pieces of gold in computer components and it’s also used in spacecraft!

375 gold, or 9K gold can also be used to craft exquisite instruments, primarily for headjoints on flutes and piccolos. These fine instrument parts fetch a pretty penny, typically starting around $18,000!

As far as jewelry goes, the least amount of gold contained in the piece, the stronger it will be. Stronger is not necessarily better, and it really depends on what you are looking for in gold. 375 fine gold may be very, very strong, but it will tarnish much easier than a higher fineness and it’s definitely not worth much as 585 or 750 gold.


375 Hallmarks

Back to the topic of those hieroglyphics stamped on your piece of jewelry, they all have a meaning and are not intended to be there for looks and questioning. Since there is no real hallmarking system in place for jewelry in the US, many Americans are not so familiar with what pictures means. The extend of hallmarks in the US go only as far as a stamp indicating the manufacturer of the ring, but in many other countries, they have these places called Assay Offices.

Assay Offices are places that will take a piece of jewelry, test it to ensure fineness, and stamp it with their seal of approval. Seals will differ from office to office, but that’s one of the points of a hallmark, to know where it was tested! Other things a hallmark might say about the ring is who made the ring and during what time period it was from, since hallmarks will change from time to time.

Although symbols may vary from country to country, one hallmark that tends to be pretty universal are shapes with a number stamped in the middle. Different shapes stand for different types of precious metals, and for gold, it’s a stretched octagon shape. The number stamped in the middle of the shape will be the fineness, and in the case of an octagon with 375, you have a piece of gold that is 375 fine, or 9K gold.


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