Millesimal fineness

Millesimal fineness

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Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of platinum
Platinum
Platinum is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto, which is literally translated into "little silver of the Pinto River." It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. For example, an alloy containing 75% gold is denoted as "750". Many European countries use decimal hallmark stamps (i.e. '585', '750', etc.) rather than '14K', '18K', etc., which is used in the United Kingdom and United States.

It is an extension of the older carat
Carat (purity)
The karat or carat is a unit of purity for gold alloys.- Measure :Karat purity is measured as 24 times the purity by mass:where...

 (karat in North American spelling) system of denoting the purity of gold by fractions of 24, such as "18 carat" for an alloy with 75% (18 parts per 24) pure gold by mass.

The millesimal fineness is usually rounded to a three figure number, particularly where used as a hallmark
Hallmark
A hallmark is an official mark or series of marks struck on items made of precious metals — platinum, gold, silver and in some nations, palladium...

, and the fineness may vary slightly from the traditional versions of purity.

The most common millesimal finenesses used for precious metal
Precious metal
A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high lustre, are softer or more ductile, and have higher melting points than other metals...

s:

Platinum

  • 999 (also known as three nines
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine)
  • 995 (what most dealers would buy as if 100% pure; the most common purity for platinum bullion coins and bars)
  • 950 (the most common purity for platinum jewellery)
  • 900 (also known as one nine
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine)
  • 850

Gold

  • 999.999 (The purest gold ever produced. Refined by the Perth Mint
    Perth Mint
    The Perth Mint is Australia's oldest currently operating mint ....

     in 1958.)

  • 999.99 (The purest type of gold in the market)
  • 999.9
  • 999 (Fineness equivalent to 24 carat, also known as three nines
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine)
  • 995 the minimum allowed in Good Delivery gold bars
  • 990 also known as two nines
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine
  • 958.3 (equivalent to 23 carat)
  • 916 (equivalent to 22 carat)
  • 833 (equivalent to 20 carat)
  • 750 (equivalent to 18 carat)
  • 625 (equivalent to 15 carat)
  • 585 (equivalent to 14 carat)
  • 417 (equivalent to 10 carat)
  • 375 (equivalent to 9 carat)
  • 333 (equivalent to 8 carat; minimum standard for gold in Germany after 1884)

Silver

  • 999.9 (Ultra-fine silver used by Royal Canadian Mint in the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
    Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
    The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a silver bullion coin issued annually by the government of Canada. The coin has been minted by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988....

    )
  • 999 (Fine silver used in Good Delivery bullion bars, also known as three nines
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine)
  • 980 (common standard used in Mexico ca.1930 - 1945)
  • 958 (equivalent to Britannia silver
    Britannia silver
    Britannia silver is an alloy of silver containing 95.84% silver, with the balance usually copper.This standard was introduced in England by Act of Parliament in 1697 to replace sterling silver as the obligatory standard for items of "wrought plate"...

    )
  • 950 (equivalent to French 1st Standard)
  • 925 (equivalent to Sterling silver
    Sterling silver
    Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925....

    )
  • 900 (equivalent to Coin silver in the USA, also known as one nine
    Nine (purity)
    Nines are an informal, yet common method of grading the purity of very fine precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Based on the system of millesimal fineness, a metal is said to be one nine or one nine fine if it is 900 fine, or 90% pure. A metal that is 990 fine is then described as...

     fine)
  • 833 (common standard used in continental silver especially among the Dutch, Swedish, and Germans)
  • 830 (common standard used in older Scandinavian silver)
  • 835 (a standard predominantly used in Germany after 1884)
  • 800 (minimum standard for silver in Germany after 1884; Egyptian silver; Canadian silver circulating coinage)
  • 750 (uncommon silver standard found in older German, Swiss and Austro-Hungarian silver)

See also

  • Gold as an investment
    Gold as an investment
    Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a hedge or harbor against economic, political, or social fiat currency crises...

  • Gold coin
    Gold coin
    A gold coin is a coin made mostly or entirely of gold. Gold has been used for coins practically since the invention of coinage, originally because of gold's intrinsic value...

  • Silver as an investment
    Silver as an investment
    Silver, like other precious metals, may be used as an investment. For more than four thousand years, silver has been regarded as a form of money and store of value. However, since the end of the silver standard, silver has lost its role as legal tender in many developed countries such as the...

  • Silver coin
    Silver coin
    Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks. Their silver drachmas were popular trade coins....

  • Platinum coin
    Platinum coin
    Platinum coins are a form of currency. Platinum has an international currency symbol under ISO 4217 of XPT. The issues of legitimate platinum coins were initiated by Spain in Spanish-colonized America in the 18th century and continued by the Russian Empire in the 19th century...