Understanding Gold Prices – Gold Jewelry vs Gold Coins

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In the international markets Gold prices are always related to the U.S.dollar. The bench mark price on any given day is guided by what is known as the ‘London fix’, which is the price determined by the London bullion market after taking into consideration various factors prevailing on a given day.  The London bullion market releases the ‘London Fix’ twice on all working days.  This rate is converted to price per ounce in US $ using the currency exchange factor prevailing on the day. When you are trading in gold it is important to understand this relationship between gold prices and US dollar currency movements.

gold price chart for 30 years

Different market segments

Various formats and denominations are used to offer gold to market segments that are distinct from one another.  While large buyers like Central banks around the globe and financial houses would be trading in terms of tones, for the small and medium scale investors/traders, gold is offered in a range of packages beginning with as low as 1 gram and going up to 400 troy ounces (about 12400 grams). Apart from this, you will also find gold coins offered by mints, commemorative coins offered by governments and numismatic coins (old and rare coins, often of vintage origin). When you embark on gold shopping, it is essential that you have a firm grip of these market segments.

Pure gold

Pure gold is offered in 24 karats and investors can pick up any quantity ranging from 1 gram upwards. The format of the offering is either coins or bars (bars may be called biscuits in some parts of globe). Tamper proof packaging carrying the identity of the mint/producer is your guarantee of quality. However, when you are buying one or more ounces of gold, you can also ask for a certificate from the relevant mint and this comes in handy while selling the gold. Due to fragileness, pure gold is not used to craft jewelry.


Gold Jewelry

Pure gold is brittle and is therefore mixed with metals such as copper to afford workability while producing jewelry products. The gold obtained after mixing other metals is often tendered as 22 karats gold or lesser depending on the ratio between gold and other metals. The purity of 22 larat gold is generally 91.7 % and when you see a lower karat number, the purity of gold drops correspondingly. In modern times, electronic gadgets are available in most markets to help you determine the karat value of the gold you are buying and therefore the right price in relation to spot gold prices on the given day. Gold prices are measured by the purity of the gold, Karats.


Gold Coins

Another form of investment in gold is, gold coins. Most of these coins are issued by governments as commemorative coins or special coins minted as limited edition coins. A few centuries ago, gold coins were minted as currency and the practice has been stopped after gold prices moved up sharply. These coins are available generally for a brief while and the limited edition adds further value to it. The issue price of these coins is always at a premium to the ruling spot price of gold. Some gold mints also issue coins at intervals, but the numismatic value of these coins pitch lower compared to the commemorative coins issued by governments.

Most people collect gold coins for the numismatic value.  Oldest gold coins are rare though you may find some of these coins listed for sale at e-commerce platforms like e-bay. This business is pretty tricky except when you are a seasoned coin collector yourself. You can learn more about numismatic coins by using the power of friendly search engines like Google.

In a few countries, gold has a different facet. Especially in countries like India, purchasing gold is a tradition and also a reflection of the social status. However, due to fluctuation in the gold prices, “buying gold” has been changed to “investing in gold”. Irrespective of the form of gold investment, gold has its value.

To enhance your knowledge about gold prices, and other facts that influence the volatility in gold prices, you should invest in quality time reading several useful articles and price movement charts such as at Kitco.

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