For thousands of years, the precious metal has been the epitome of luxury and prosperity. Gold has long been owned not only by the nobles and the rich but also by millions of ordinary people, for example as a wedding ring or piece of jewelry. In times of crisis, gold is also in demand as an investment. Since gold trading is mostly about large values, the industry attracts fraudsters. So if you want to buy or sell gold, you should be careful and be well informed.
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Gold is not just gold: Pay attention to the alloy
The value of gold depends crucially on its quality. In practice, there is no pure gold. Even the highest quality bars, so-called fine gold, contain a small amount of other substances. In many cases, metals such as nickel, silver, zinc, or copper are deliberately fused with gold, for example, to change their hardness and malleability. The gold content in these so-called alloys corresponds to the weight percentage per mille and is stamped into the gold piece. For example, if a ring is embossed with “333”, 333 out of 1,000 parts by weight are made of pure gold – 33.3 grams out of 100 grams total. Common gold alloys are also 585, 750, and 900. The purest fine gold is 999.9. Refiners can separate alloys again and thus produce bars from melted jewelry.
Gold prices are subject to price fluctuations
The gold price is constantly being re-determined on stock exchanges and is often given in US dollars per troy ounce (31.1 grams). So German investors have to take the exchange rate into account. From 2010 to 2020the gold price per troy ounce increased from around 800 to 1,700 euros – albeit with strong fluctuations. For precious metal dealers, only the pure gold price counts. If you want to sell jewelry there, you only get the material value. Jewelry dealers usually give a little more because they also take into account the processing of the gold. Those who buy new jewelry also pay significantly more than the pure gold price.
Investors buy gold bars or gold coins
Investors who do not want to wear gold as jewelry are best invested in coins or bars. Common weights are 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100 or 1,000 grams and, especially for coins, 1 troy ounce (oz). The larger the bar, the cheaper the price per gram. Nevertheless, it can make sense to buy several small bars, for example, if you only want to sell part of the gold later. Coins are a bit more expensive in relation to their weight, but in some cases have additional collector value.
Buy and sell gold
Buying and selling gold is a matter of trust. Laypeople can hardly tell whether the gold offered is a real precious metal. Supposedly cheap offers can therefore become a flop. Gold should only be bought from banks, refineries, or reputable dealers. Caution is also advised when selling. Some buyers pay prices well below their true value. Sellers and buyers can quickly find out about the current gold price on the Internet. Comparison portals name the prices of various dealers. To do this, the alloy and the weight of the gold must be known.
Is it worth investing in gold?
Investing in gold is a bet on future price developments. Nobody can reliably predict how and when the gold price will rise or fall. In contrast to other investments – for example in stocks or time deposits – gold does not generate any ongoing returns. The profit can only be in the increase in value, a total loss is however impossible with physically available gold. In addition, there are costs with every purchase and sale, as well as with safekeeping, for example in a safe deposit box. Experts advise not to invest more than five to ten percent of your assets in gold.