Shopping for gold, you’re bound to come across a plethora of numbers, letters, and symbols stamped on the gold piece somewhere. Just what you find depends on the requirements on the individual country and laws in which the gold is from! Not only that, but the symbols and numbers actually mean something!
Just what does the number stamp “417” stand for, and what else might you find with it? While 417 might just seem like a random number, it is far from a random stamp chosen for jewely, so lets delve into the meaning behind it and much of what there is to know!
417 Gold Percentage
As soon as you see the number 417, assume that it stands for the purity of the gold you are holding in your hands. It makes virtually nothing when you don’t know where 417 falls on a purity scale, until I tell you this: It’s a measurement of gold in parts per thousand. What this means is that number, when translated to parts per hundred, is 41.7, aka 41.7% gold! If you know anything about Karats in gold, you would know that this is the US equivalent to 10K gold. How is such a conversion made?
- Karats are measured in 24 parts, as 24 Karats is the finest you can buy.
- When a piece of gold is said to be 10K, it is said to be 10 parts gold.
- 10k/24k=.416...67, or 417 purity.
Once you learn about converting between the different fineness scales, it becomes a breeze as all it really is, is simple math! Knowing that 417 means 10K is also important because in the US, the minimum gold standard to legally be called pure gold is 10K, but other countries will allow lower karats such as 9k or even 8k, which is a measly 333 purity (only 33.3% gold)!
What is an Alloy?
If only 41.7% of the gold in 417 gold is actually gold, then what is the rest of the metal? Well, since gold is a very malleable metal, or not very strong, it needs other metals added to it in order to make it strong enough for jewelry. When gold is mixed with metal, it becomes an alloy. A variety of metals are known to be added, and usually the type of alloy depends on the type of gold you purchase. You might find copper, zinc, silver, platinum, palladium, or even nickel. The more expensive the alloy, and the higher the gold content, the more the piece of jewelry will cost.
417, or 10K gold is known to be really cheap as it is 58.3% some other metal, which means that anything you find that is marked 10K or 417 is less than half gold, with the other part being a metal to strengthen it! They say “you get what you pay for” and that could not be anymore true than when it comes to shopping for gold!
Uses for 417 Gold
We all immediately think of jewelry when we hear the word gold, as more than 75% of gold used annually is for the jewelry-making industry! When it comes to 417 gold, you certainly will not find any in coin form, and if you did buy some, somewhere, somehow, consider yourself duped!
417 gold is best used for jewelry due to its strength. Although not very valuable, it’s a great option for those who love gold, but cannot afford 18K or even 14K. It’s also one of the best forms of gold to buy for someone who works an industrious job and it will withstand an awful lot of pressure when put to the test! Best used for rings and necklaces, you can find virtually any piece of jewelry in 10K of 417 purity.
If you are shopping at a place that stamps their gold in parts per thousand instead of Karats, than that number stamp is bound to be accompanied by other strange symbols. These are known as hallmarks and can be just as important of an identifier as the actual purity stamp itself!
Reason being, many other countries have a standard for certifying their gold, by way of sending it off to what are called Assay Offices. There, the office will verify the gold content and give it their seal of approval, which will vary by office. Not only is this a good way to tell that the gold is indeed real, but it can also tell you just where it came from. It’s also important to state that hallmark symbols will change from time to time, which makes hallmarks a valuable dating tool for jewelry.
If you have the 417 stamp, then it might be encircled by a shape. Different types of precious metals have different shapes assigned to their hallmark stamp, and for gold, that stamp is an elongated octagon with the purity number stamped in the middle. Seeing this shape is an immediate identifier of gold, and the number as how much gold.
In most instances, there will be a makers mark as well, which is the company who made the jewelry and sent it off to the Assay Office for certification. The order in which you will find all of these marks on a ring can vary, but a standard order would be maker’s mark, purity stamp, assay stamp.
Now that you have learned about pros and cons of 417 gold, and what all of those stamps mean, you should be quite the gold guru, right? Right!
How to Test Your Gold's Purity
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- 999 Gold Guide - 24K Gold
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