The True Weight of the Matter: Gold Bricks
Buyers should be aware that there is some inherent difficulty in giving a simple answer regarding the weight of a gold brick. That difficulty is in the lack of a standard. The following must be considered before the weight of the gold may be determined:
- The size of the bar
- The purity of the gold
- The unit of weight
Of these three items, the unit of weight is of the least concern – gold is typically measured in what is called a “troy ounce.” In terms that are probably more familiar, that’s a little bit more than 31 grams. You may also hear the term “troy pound,” which is approximately 373 grams.
For those who like fun facts, the atomic weight of gold is 196.966569 g x mol-1.
Obviously, a smaller gold bar will weigh less than a large gold brick. As it happens, there’s not actually a particular size that is “the” gold bar. As long as the gold is in bar form, rectangular or trapezoidal, it’s considered a gold bar. Some common sizes are one kilogram (which is about two pounds) and 100 gram bars.
To put that size into perspective, the one kilogram bar can be worth between $8,000 and $10,000.
A giant gold brick isn’t going to be worth much if the gold isn’t particularly pure. It’s the beauty of the gold and the properties of gold – malleability, the variety of uses (coins, jewelry, etc.) – that make it valuable.
Other metals, such as copper or silver, are often mixed in with gold to strengthen it. The purity of gold is measured in karats and karats represent a fraction. Specifically, a karat measures the parts of something per 24. 24-karat gold is the purest gold, because, 24/24 is 100%.
18-karat gold is 18/24 which is 75% gold. Depending on the metal mixed in, the weight of a gold bar would change.