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Newbie Question about Karat Weight


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#1 Navybob

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:38 AM

I prefaced the question by saying newbie because Im sure this is such a basic beginners topic, please forgive me in advance.

Is there any rhyme or reason way some insignias are 12K instead of 10K gold filled?

One of the things I like are Navy Garrison badges, and I have found several, some unmarked that are 12K.

Thank you for your help.

#2 JBFloyd

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:44 AM

Probably cost and expected wear. Lower gold content saves money and, if you're making hundreds of thousands of pieces, a penny or two saved on each one can mount up.

Since gold is a soft metal and easily scratched, dented, etc, a lower gold content means the badge can probably be worn longer before it gets too salty to be seen in public.

Of the two, I'd guess that cost is the more common deciding factor.

#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 07:45 AM

I prefaced the question by saying newbie because Im sure this is such a basic beginners topic, please forgive me in advance.

Is there any rhyme or reason way some insignias are 12K instead of 10K gold filled?

One of the things I like are Navy Garrison badges, and I have found several, some unmarked that are 12K.

Thank you for your help.


Think of "gold filled" (called "rolled gold" in Europe) as a hollow tube of gold filled with some other medal. If it's 12K then there is a higher percentage of gold than with 10K. Gold filled is 100 times thicker than gold plate, which can be worn off, and something gold filled should continue to look nice for many decades. I have some pre-WWII GF insignia and it looks like new.

#4 QED4

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:20 PM

Karat in reference to gold is the percent of gold in an object with 24 karats being pure gold the number of karats when placed over 24 is the fraction of the gold content, 12/24 or 50% gold. This applies only to the gold used in the plating or fill not the ratio of base metal to the plating. Gold fill is gold of what ever karat value bonded the the base metal while plating is gold molecules transferred to the base metal, which dose not wear near as well as gold fill. Carats in reference to diamonds is a total different thing with carats being a unit of weight.

#5 USAFnav

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 06:36 AM

You will find items marked something like: "1/10 12K GF". This means that 1/10 of the weight of the item is 12K gold. If you see "1/20 10K GF" it means that 1/20 of the weight of the piece is 10K gold, etc. Usually, I see 1/10 and 1/20, but you might see other marks. My own Air Force tie clip is marked "1/20 S.F." This means that 1/20 of the weight of the small emblem on the tie clip is sterling silver. Not very valuable!
Pete


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