If you have followed the news lately, you have probably noticed that there is a lot of interest in gold prices and how they are fluctuating according to the latest market conditions of the global economy — and the health conditions around the globe.
However, the statutory price of gold is set by law. It does not fluctuate with the market price of gold and has been constant at $42 2/9, or $42.2222, per fine troy ounce since 1973. The book value of the gold held by the U.S. Treasury is determined using the statutory price. Ninety-five percent of U.S. Treasury gold ($10.4 billion in book value) is held in custody for the Treasury by the U.S. Mint, whose mission is to manufacture, and distribute circulating, precious metal and collectible coins and national medals, and provide security over assets entrusted to them.
What does this mean for those who are dealing with gold and gold items? Well, whether you are buying or selling, you better make sure the gold is real. This is especially important if the news causes a significant upswing in consumers deciding to sell their gold coins, bullion, and other items.
The livelihood of the businesses that buy and recycle gold depends in part on being able to identify fake gold and to determine the accurate karat (K) weight of gold jewelry. In the past, shop owners have relied on their own skills and experiences to sort out the fake from the real precious metals; and as a backup, many conduct the not-always-accurate ping tests, magnet, and acid tests. (Download the infographic: 8 Reasons to Not Use Acid to Test Jewelry.)
Businesses are now turning to portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers for fast, accurate, and most importantly, nondestructive analysis of the precious metals that come into their shops. These gold spectrometers quickly provide the exact karat weight and percentages of all elements within an item – easily identifying non-standard, under-karated, and even advanced counterfeit gold with fire assay-comparable accuracy. (You can see how a portable XRF precious metals analyzer works in this video.)
These portable XRF analyzers are also used by numismatics operations to help ensure they do not get fooled by counterfeit coins and bad Krugerrands. As we mentioned, XRF technology quickly provides the exact karat value and weight percentage of the gold, as well as the percentages of all the precious metals and major alloying elements within an item – easily identifying non-standard, under-karated, and even advanced counterfeit material. The instruments can even analyze encapsulated coins through the plastic protectors. (Read more about Numismatic Testing Methods.)
How does portable XRF work? Each of the elements present in a sample produces a unique set of characteristic x-rays that is a “fingerprint” for that specific element when illuminated by primary x-rays. XRF analyzers determine the elemental composition of a sample by measuring the energy of the characteristic x-ray emitted by the different elements in the sample when it is illuminated by primary x-rays. By simultaneously measuring the fluorescent x-rays emitted by the different elements in the sample, a portable XRF analyzer can rapidly determine those elements present in the sample and their relative concentrations. This is referred to as the elemental composition of the sample. Almost instantly you will have an accurate purity analysis for on-the-spot sorting and valuation of gold, silver, and all precious metals…as well as quantification of other desirable and undesirable elements.
With so many unknowns in the economy affecting the volatility and high price of gold and other precious metals, gold buyers and sellers cannot afford the time or the potential inaccuracies of traditional precious metal testing methods to determine the value of items being bought, sold, or recycled.
Accurate and reliable test results remove variability – and subjectivity – in measuring the value of gold and precious metals. And health conditions don’t matter.
Editor’s note: Image displayed in article is a stock photo