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Gold rings typical range between 3 and 7 grams, varying significantly in value because of their gold weight and purity. The gold used in rings is often alloyed with other metals, so the weight of the gold is substantially less than total weight of the ring. Therefore, the gold value of a ring is related to the weight of the ring, the purity of the gold and the trading price of gold. An additional aesthetic value may be attached to a ring, related to it collectible or artistic qualities.
Gold has a number of characteristics that have contributed to its long demand in jewelry. Unlike many other metals, gold has a peculiar yellow-orange color. Gold is relatively nonreactive with many other elements, including water and oxygen, allowing gold jewelry to remain untarnished and uncorroded for thousands of years. Gold has an extremely high density making it heavier than most other metals. It is also extremely soft and highly malleable.
The purity of gold rings is graded in karats -- not to be confused with the term carats often used to measure the mass of precious stones such as diamonds. Each karat is defined as 1/24 part gold up to pure gold, also termed fine gold, given as 24 karats. Gold rings are typically given as 10-karat, 14-karat, or 18-karat gold. For example, an 18-karat gold ring contains eighteen parts of gold and six parts of another metal. Although, it is often assumed that higher-karat gold is softer than lower-karat gold, this depends on the type of metal used, with 18-karat gold rings often having a hardness similar to those with lower gold content.
Gold is traded on commodity markets in troy ounces. These aren't to be confused with the ounces more familiar to most Americans. A troy ounce is slightly heavier, at 31.103 grams, than the regular ounce, which is 28.350 grams. When measuring the weight of gold jewelry, note the specific unit of measure used and, if necessary, convert to troy ounces for comparison to the trading price of gold. To convert grams to troy ounces, divide the number of grams by 31.103. To convert ounces to troy ounces, multiply by 0.911.
Gold is traded on commodity markets in troy ounces with price changes occurring throughout each trading day. However, consumers looking to cash in on the gold content of rings and other jewelry shouldn't expect this price for their gold but somewhat less. Different buyers offer different prices. Consumers are also advised to be wary before leaving their jewelry with an appraiser or mailing to a buyer without documenting their jewelry first.