“Gold opens all locks; no lock will hold against the power of gold.”

2 min read

When did gold become powerful?

Thousands of years before common era (BCE), humans traded rare natural objects, such as gold, silver, amber, and copper.  The Egyptians were the first to recognise the value that gold could be beaten into 5µm sheets and pulled into fine threads. Gold was used abundantly in Ancient Mesopotamia, and  these early humans learnt to smelt gold. They used charcoal and blowpipes to reach the required melting temperature, and they alloyed gold with other metals. The Babylonians taught us that natural gold was seldom pure, and they assayed gold for its purity. The Mesopotamians knew that gold was soft, and to make it stronger, they alloyed pure gold with other metals.  By adding copper, silver, or palladium to gold, different colours like white gold and rose gold are created. The Egyptians believed that Ra, their most important God, ruled the earth and the sky and that Ra, like gold, represented power. Gold was used in enormous quantities to adorn kings, priests, royalty, temples, and statues.

The first known use of gold as a currency was the Mesopotamian shekel, weighing 11.3 grams. Shekels consisted of 66% gold and 33% silver. Monetary coins made of gold and silver became the standard unit of value.

What does gold karat mean?

If you have some gold to sell and you want to get cash for gold, you should know what the karat value of the item. Pure gold is 24 karats, but most gold items contain small percentages of other metals. Alloyed gold is a fraction of twenty-four parts. Gold is engraved, and the hallmark is either engraved in karats like 18k or by its fineness. Fineness is in parts per thousand (ppt).

Table 1 Different purity, fineness, and characteristics of the different gold karats

Karat Parts gold per 24 parts Purity % Fineness (ppt)


24 24/24 99.0 999 Bright gold colour, soft and pliable
22 22/24 91.7 916/917 Bright gold, slightly more durable
18 18/24 58.3 583/585 Rich colour, easily scratched
14 14/24 50.0 500 Affordable and durable
9 9/24 37.5 500 Very affordable, pale gold colour

Colours of gold

If you want cash for gold, you need to know about the value of different colours of gold. Today gold is manufactured in several colours by alloying different percentages of other metals with the gold and creating a different effect. Gold value is related to the karat value of gold and not to the colour of gold. So 18k yellow, 18k pink, or 18k white gold all hold the same value.

Table 2 Different compositions of metals in gold alloys to achieve different colours.

Colour of Gold Alloy Composition

22k yellow gold



Gold 91.67%
Silver 5%
Copper 2%
Zinc 1.33%
  Gold 75%
18k rose gold Silver 2.75%
  Copper 22.25%
  Gold 75%
18k pink gold Silver 5%
  Copper 20%
18k white gold Gold 75%
  Platinum or Palladium 25%
  Gold 75%
18k white gold Palladium 10%
  Nickel 10%
  Zinc 5%