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916 Gold Guide - 22K Gold

Updated on July 17, 2015

Gold is one of the most valuable precious metals loved, collected, and coveted by many. Just like gemstones or even money, not all are created equal, some being worth much, much more than others. Whether you are getting into gold buying or even just in the market for gold jewelry, you’d best know what you are looking for, and what to watch out for!

Most golden jewelry, unless really antique or some handmade, should be marked one way or another showing the purity of the gold. This can be by way of symbols, numbers, or even a combination of both!

Here, I am going to focus solely on gold marked 916, what it means, what symbols you might find associated with it, and anything else that may be relevant.


916 Gold Percentage

When it comes to gold and how much you are willing to pay, you should definitely be taking purity into consideration.

As far as 916 purity goes, this is a measure of Millesimal Fineness, which is purity in parts per thousand. Put into terms of parts per hundred, that number would be 91.6, which is the same as saying 91.6% pure gold. That’s a lot of gold! It should therefore come as no surprise as to why 916 gold tends to be much more expensive. If you are more familiar with Karats, this is equal to 22K gold. How are Karats and Millesimal Fineness converted?

  • It’s best to think of both units of measurement in terms of percentages, because either way, it’s the same.

  • 916 gold is 91.6% (or 91.7% is rounded up) pure

  • The maximum number of Karats you can have is 24K which is considered pure. Any other Karat is how many parts out of that 24 are gold.

  • 22K gold is also .916/.917 or 91.6/91.7% gold (22K divided by 24K=.916...67)

Once you understand how to convert both units of gold fineness into percentages, it becomes much easier to convert between the two!

Although 91.6% is a lot of gold, what makes up the rest of the metal? If gold is not 100% pure, then it must have something else making up the rest of the 100%, right? Right! So the only way to do this is to make it an alloy.

Sometimes alloys are used for the purposed of basically diluting the gold in order to make cheaper gold jewelry, but in the case of 22K jewelry, an alloy is used for the sole purpose of making the gold slightly strong enough to be jewelry. I say “slightly” because pure gold is very, very malleable and even 22K is an iffy strength for jewelry, in my honest opinion.


Uses for 916 Gold

Gold is used in many different industries from dental to technology, but not surprisingly, the most common use for it is in the jewelry industry.

More than 75% of gold used annually is in this industry, and for 22K gold, you’re most likely to find earrings or a beautiful, bright, gold chain necklace.

With such a soft gold, it’s best that the jewelry be worn in a place where it’s not subjected to much force, and mostly on special occasion in order to preserve it’s beautiful appearance.

Also, some gold coins are made out of 22K gold, such as the popular American Eagle coin. This coin is minted in both gold and silver, and if you're interested in getting started investing in precious metals, these might be great options for you!

Maybe you’re a collector of coins, in which case you should definitely consider adding this golden beauty to your collection!

916 Hallmarks

Hallmarks are those little stamps found somewhere on your piece of gold and their purpose is to help identify what purity of gold you have, when it was made, who it was made by, and where it is from.

Yes, the symbols can say all of this! Let’s start with the purity symbol though.

If you are looking at a stamp of 916, chances are, it is inside of a shape that looks like a stretched out stop sign. This elongated octagon shape is the standard shape indicating you have gold. There’s other shapes for other types of precious metals, but I won’t get into that since we’re on the topic of gold. Moving on…

Also found on a piece of gold might be a maker’s mark which is nothing but a stamp showing the name of the person or company who made the piece of gold, but more importantly, you’ll find a third stamp from an Assay Office. An Assay office will provide a stamp of their seal after testing the gold to verify its purity, and stamps will vary from office to office, and what point in time the gold was hallmarked.

Now that you know all about the stamp 916, you can proceed with comfort in your shopping excursions!

Gold Testing (What Gold Buyers Don't Want You to Know!)


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