Troy, Ounce and Gram: Comparing Apples, Oranges and Peanuts

Weighing in on units of weight for precious metals

When you sell precious metals, the weight can be measured using a variety of units. This can be confusing when trying to compare rates to determine whether you’re getting the best deal. An explanation of the different units can help you when it comes time to sell your gold, silver or platinum.

An ounce is a standard ounce, and there are 16 of them in a standard pound. If you have a typical U.S. digital scale, such as a postage scale, you can still weigh your precious metals on it, but since most gold buyers use grams or troy ounces, you’ll need to convert the weight.

A gram is a unit of weight under the metric system. One gram equals approximately 0.03527 ounces. To put it another way, one ounce is the equivalent of 28.349 grams.

A troy ounce equates to approximately 31.1 grams. Just to make things a little more confusing, a troy pound consists of 12 troy ounces, which means that it takes more than 14 troy ounces to make a standard, or imperial, pound.

A pennyweight is a unit of measure that’s not as popular as it once was, but you may still encounter it when reviewing rates. One troy ounce equals 20 pennyweights, and one pennyweight equals approximately 1.555 grams.

To demonstrate the differences between the various units of weight, suppose you use your postage scale to weigh the scrap jewelry you’re planning to sell. You separate everything by karat, because the rates depend on the purity of the gold—24k gold is “pure” gold, 14k gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts “filler” metal, and so on.

Your scale reports that you have 3 ounces of gold. Using the handy online converter, you get the following information:

• 3 ounces = 85.049 grams
• 3 ounces = 54.687 pennyweight
• 3 ounces = 2.73438 troy ounces, or 2 troy ounces and 14.688 pennyweight

To keep the math simple, let’s assume that the gold buyer is paying $100 per troy ounce. Your three ounces of gold would net you $273.44. If the unit was the standard ounce, the same weight would yield $300.

Now let’s assume that the buyer’s quote is in grams at $3 per gram. Your three ounces of jewelry would be worth $255.15. If the quote were $3 per pennyweight, the same three ounces would only bring $164.06.

When you sell your precious metals, you need to make sure that the buyer uses the same unit to weigh your items that they use to calculate your payment. For example, they can’t weigh it in pennyweights and then pay you per gram unless they convert it properly. You should also make sure that each karat value is weighed separately and your payment is calculated accordingly.

If you’re in the Cheektowaga, NY, area and would like more information on selling your precious metals, contact Premier Gold Silver & Coins. We offer the highest prices, and since our valuation process is completely transparent, you won’t ever have to wonder whether you’re being swindled. Let our friendly professionals help you appraise your gold today.