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24 Carat Gold Bars? - Not Quite!

The first thing we should point out is that it is almost impossible to economically or commercially obtain absolutely pure gold. 24 carat gold would be absolutely pure. Before electrolytic refining, highly refined gold was usually .9995 pure (99.95%). If we convert this to carats, it would be 23.988 carats. London good delivery gold bars are acceptable at .995 which is "only" 23.88 carats. With electrolytic refining, it became commercially economic to produce .9999 fine gold, which works out to 23.9976 carats. the Royal Canadian Mint also produce a .99999 fine gold coin, advertised as the world's purest gold coin. this works out at 23.99976 carats. It follows from this, that it is more accurate to refer to bars by their metric fineness than as 24 carat.

24 Carat Summary

CaratsPercentagePer ThousandDecimalPronounce
2410010001.000Pure or Fine
23.997699.99999.9.9999Four Nines
23.98899.95999.5.9995Three Nines Five
23.8899.5995.995Nine Nine Five

Four Nines

Almost all of the bars we sell are "Four Nines" = 99.99% pure. This is the highest purity of gold bar which is economic to produce for the investment market. Only scientific market would not anything of greater purity, and the production costs would increase disproportionately.
Most of the time, we simply refer to them as "gold bars", and there is no need to specify the purity, as it is understood to be .9999 fine.

Wrong Question

If you are looking for or asking for 24 carat gold bars, you are asking the wrong question, in which case you are likely to get a wrong answer. To understand the answer to this question, you need to understand something about truth, accuracy, and honesty. If you ask the question in imprecise terms, you should not be surprised if the answer you receive is at a similar level of imprecision or approximation. Perhaps we are being slightly pedantic, but we prefer to give accurate information, and the shortest answer is not often the most precise.

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth?

Perhaps the gold standard should be the oath taken by witnesses in English courts, and that is to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth".
If we were asked whether our .9999 fine gold bars were 24 carat, one could answer yes or no with equal accuracy. "Yes" would be correct as any bar of 97.9166% or higher purity is nearer to 24 carat than it is to 23 carat. (In the USA, gold jewellery manufacturers are legally allowed a half carat tolerance or leeway). A mathematician would recognise that this was a matter of "precision", numbers can be rounded to a number of decimal places or a number of significant figures. There is an implication that 24 can mean anything between 23.5 and 24.5, but 24.0 indicates anything between 23.95 and 24.05. Similarly a number written as 24.00 24.000 or 24.0000 would indicate a number accurate to the penultimate decimal place, so that each of the three numbers specifies an increasing degree of precision.
The answer "no" would be equally correct but a four-nines bar (99.99% pure), is "only" 23.9976 carats, as shown in our table above. As 23.9976 is not the same as 24, then the negative answer is correct.
To state the whole truth, it is necessary to explain that 24 carat gold does not exist except in theory or possibly in infinitesimally small amounts in scientific laboratories. This should be followed by a statement of its purity indicating or specifying the degree of precision.
Other solutions to the dilemma would be to ask the questioner what he means by 24 carat, or perhaps a quicker solution would be to ask whether he meant to ask for four-nines.

Minimum .995 - 23.88 Carats

The minimum accepted standard for gold bars to be treated as VAT free investment gold in the EU is 995 parts per thousand, equivalent to 23.88 carats.

Gold Bars Index
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Other World Coins

0.9999 Fine Gold Bar by Johnson Matthey

0.9999 Fine Gold Bar by Johnson Matthey

0.996 Fine Gold Tola Bar by Johnson Matthey

0.996 Fine Gold Tola Bar by Johnson Matthey


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