One of the keys to great investment is timing and staying ahead of the pack. I receive many enquiries from keen investors asking about the prospects for silver. Everyone has seen how well gold has performed over the years and many commentators feel that silver has huge upside potential.
I always describe gold as ‘reducing the risk in your life’, while silver is about ‘taking risk’. Obviously with higher risk, comes higher potential reward. Nearly half our customers buy silver, compared to a minority of around 10% a decade ago. These customers feel silver has vast profit potential, so are willing to take the additional risk.
As a purely speculative punt, buying silver may be worth a bet but only as part of a well balanced portfolio. You’d certainly need nerves of steel to put significant funds into silver. However, dig a little deeper and silver may not live up to being the new gold investment at all.
Here are 7 reasons why buying physical gold is still the best precious metals investment;
There is much less research and analysis available on the silver market as it’s less developed as an investment market. The more research available, the better chance you have of assessing an asset’s prospect
If you buy gold there is no VAT to pay on the purchase. However, silver is not VAT exempt so you’re 20% down before you’ve even started
The gold market has evolved into a highly competitive and efficient arena. So the bid/offer spread (or difference where a dealer will buy and sell a piece of gold) is relatively tight (perhaps 5-10%). However, with less competition silver spreads can be 3 or 4 times those of gold, so silver needs to rise significantly in price before you break even
Silver is less ’precious’ than gold as there’s more of it in existence! The lack of supply and difficulty in extracting gold provides a huge support to its price. If you have an asset who’s supply could increase significantly, the price of that asset is always exposed to a sharp fall
Due to silver’s lower price per kilo you will literally get more product for your money than with gold. This means that a £50k gold investment can be shipped cheaply and discreetly whereas the equivalent in silver would be heavy and expensive to deliver
Storing silver is also more problematic to gold due to its cheapness. £50k of gold can fit into a tiny safe at home. But £50k of silver needs 70-80 times more space (that’s alot of silver coins!)
With the global economy at its most unstable in history, and the expectation of inflation and a huge post-Covid recession – the Safe Haven tag of gold provides one of the most compelling reasons to buy gold. Silver quite simply is not known as the ultimate safe haven so is less relevant as a portfolio insurance in today’s climate.
So if you want exposure to the silver market it may be better seeking a more efficient method such as mining shares or ETCs. If you still seek the comfort of owning the physical metal itself, then buy gold coins or bullion.
While most UK investors have owned property, shares, bonds and ISAs at some point, gold investment is still pretty new. If you’re a novice, what’s the best place to start a physical gold portfolio? In our opinion Gold Sovereigns provide a perfect starting point for the new gold investor!
1. Great value – Sovereign coins have existed for hundreds of years so there’s a very deep second hand market. This means that older Sovereigns provide a lower price per ounce as than any other gold coin – perhaps along with Krugerrands. Buying any asset at a low price is a great starting point!
*Pro-tip: Buy the pre-owned ‘Best value’ Sovereigns. They’re cheaper than brand new ones, but will obtain the same price when you sell.
2. Further discounts with volume – Specialist dealers like Physical Gold will generally be able to offer even lower prices if you buy 50 Sovereigns or more. In fact discounts can be achieved on a sliding scale once you look at more than a single coin. Our website has handy volume discount tables for each coin.
3. Easy to sell – Sovereign Gold Coins are arguably the most established bullion coin in the market so you’ll always be able to sell the coins at a great price. If you try to sell an obscure coin, the reduced number of buyers will be reflected in a lower price per ounce for that piece of gold
*Pro-tip: Give your dealer a week or two notice that you wish to sell, and you may achieve a slightly higher selling price if the dealer can match up your sale with a buyer.
4. Affordable – While 1oz gold coins are now trading around the £1,400 mark, Sovereign coins are around a quarter of the size and price. This provides a great opportunity to dip your toe in the market or even set up a regular gold savings scheme, whereby you receive a Sovereign coin every month
5. Tax free – Sovereigns are VAT exempt like all other forms of investment grade gold. However, they have the huge added benefit of also being Capital Gains Tax free due to their status as legal tender in the UK. For a novice seeking to buy gold, this provides peace of mind that you’ll never be hit with a tax bill
6. Flexible – Due to their small size, even a modest investment of say £2,000 will provide 6 Sovereign coins. This provides versatility that you can sell as little as one coin at any time of you need to realise some cash. Larger coins or bars do not offer this flexibility
7. Talking Point – The sheer variety of issue dates and Sovereign heads available means that a novice investor can own a piece of history as well as a superb investment. For anyone who’s enjoyed watching The Crown on Netflix, modern Sovereign coins date back more than 200 years, reflecting the various monarchs and periods of reigning.
So if you want get started in the world of gold, buy Gold Sovereigns and you won’t go far wrong.
Gold has always been one of the most attractive asset classes pursued by investors. Throughout history, gold has been viewed as a great store of value and has delivered good returns for investors over the short and long term. Gold is today sold in a regulated market, based on a dynamically changing spot price, which is applicable across the world. Yet, when we buy gold and look at the spot price, this applies to pure gold, which is considered to be 99.9% pure or 24-carat gold. However, it is useful to understand the different types of carats that are available in the marketplace.
Origin of the term “carat”
It is believed that the term ‘carat’ dates back to mediaeval times. The use of carob seeds was associated with the system of weighing things thousands of years ago. It is not known whether these seeds were used to measure the gold and other precious metals at the time. A weight of 200 mg was derived as the specific weight of a carat.
However, there is historical evidence of its use during the Greek and Roman periods. There are a total of 24 carats that make up pure gold. Numismatic research about the coinage used by the Romans has proved that these subdivisions were associated with the Roman Libra. Historians believe that the Libra was used to measure gold at the time and that it was equal to 24 silver coins, which the Romans called a ‘siliqua’. It is possible that the number 24 has been handed down from these ancient times.
During the 19th century, the German ‘Mark’ had a weight of 24 carats, equivalent to 4.8g.
How many carats are there in pure gold?
There is a total of 24 carats that make up pure gold. Each is of equal value and so is 1/24th pure gold by weight. Investment-grade gold is either 22 carat (most common amongst Sovereigns and other popular bullion coins) or 24 carats (now used for some 1oz bullion coins like the Britannia and most gold bars). Even 24-carat gold isn’t completely pure but instead will be somewhere in the region of 99.9% gold.
Pure gold is therefore represented by the number 24 in carats. Each is of equal value and so is 1/24th pure gold by weight. So, 18-carat gold is 18 parts pure gold, with the balance of six parts constituting other alloys and base metals. In reality, it is difficult to measure the actual purity of gold, using scientific methods. One way that has been used in modern times is the use of XRF (X-ray fluorescence). This scientific development analyses the purity of metals, based on the light reflected off them. However, only a surface evaluation is possible. Consequently, the industry still relies on reputed and reliable dealers for the supply of pure gold.
Investment-grade gold is either 22 carat (most common amongst Sovereigns and other popular bullion coins) or 24 carats (now used for some 1oz bullion coins like the Britannia and most gold bars). Even 24-carat gold isn’t completely pure but instead will be somewhere in the region of 99.9% gold. Jewellery can commonly be made of lower carat gold such as 9 carats and 18 carats which are more resilient than higher purities, cheaper and more suited to clasping precious stones.
Increased resilience with lower purity levels
Jewellery can commonly be made of lower carat gold such as 9 carats and 18 carats which are more resilient than higher purities, cheaper and more suited to clasping precious stones.
So, we can see that pure gold is often blended into an alloy with different base metals to make the gold harder. Pure gold is malleable and difficult to shape into jewellery. This is probably how alchemists started creating gold with varying degrees of purity over centuries.
A similar concept was used when minting coinage, as the metal needed to be resilient for public circulation. The higher the carat of gold, the greater is its purity. However, as we can see, this creates a practical problem when the metal is moulded into coins, bars, or jewellery.
Why is 24-carat gold the purest?
Refiners must declare the purity number of gold, in addition to its carat value. 24-carat gold is simply considered to be the purest since it has a negligible percentage of other metals. In the UK, this is considered to be investment-grade gold with a purity of 999.9. The metal is distinctive due to its bright yellow colour and buyers will pay the highest price for this purity of gold. But, its density is also lower and due to its softness. 24-carat gold is unsuitable for manufacturing jewellery. Its use is most prevalent in manufacturing gold bars. When minting coins, a tiny amount of base metals is introduced in the mix to make the coins durable. Pure gold is in great demand for industrial uses, like the manufacture of electronics and medical devices.
Normally 22-carat gold will have a purity of 91.67%. This leaves 8.33% of other metals, which can be silver, zinc, copper, nickel, or other base metals. Jewellery manufacturers may not use it for making jewellery that holds precious stones. This is because 22-carat gold is still too soft to hold the stones in place.
The percentage of gold is much lower in this form. 18-carat gold will usually have 75% pure gold mixed with 25% of base metals. It’s a lot less expensive than buying 22 or 24-carat gold. This is the preferred purity of gold used by jewellers, as it can withstand daily wear and tear. It has a warm yellow shine, which is great for manufacturing wedding bands and other ornamental jewellery.
This is a number that represents gold which is only 58.3% pure. The balance 41.7% in this form gold, comprises other metals like nickel or zinc. This form of gold is durable and sturdy and preferred by many to make jewellery. It is also more affordable and ideal for people with skin metal allergies.
It is the cheapest form of gold and has a pale tone due to the presence of base metals. Usually 10-carat gold will have at least 41.7% of gold. Since it has a gold level of 10 parts out of 24, it is called 10 carats. While it is more affordable, it also tarnishes easily.
It is widely used in the jewellery industry due to its affordability. When you purchase jewellery, the carat value will be clearly demarcated. Interestingly, US laws state that jewellery made from gold below 10 carats cannot be labelled as gold.
Get in touch with our gold experts to find out more about gold investments
Physical Gold is a highly reputed gold dealer in the UK and we are always open to fielding queries from customers like you. Please call us on (020) 7060 9992 or drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.
Gold is an interesting metal. It is a metal as well as an element. It also comes in different forms. There are many types of gold that are distinguishable by their colour and properties. Gold is visible in different forms like gold coins, bars and jewellery. Within these, gold can be differentiated by its purity or carat value. Let us explore the different types of gold and how we can identify them.
The most common distinctions
The most common distinction between gold types is their carat or purity. This can be difficult to simply detect with the naked eye. 24-carat gold is virtually 100% pure, while 9-carat purity is as low as 37.5% purity. In its purest state, the gold will be relatively soft, while it tends to feel harder to the touch when mixed with more alloys. The colour can also vary, with pure gold displaying a distinct yellow-orange.
When mixed more with silver, the white gold effect is present, while red gold contains a higher amount of copper. Assay marks on the gold will display the purity but not all gold will be hallmarked. Other than that, it’s best to take it to a jeweller to safely perform a test and determine if it’s real in the first place!
The concept of carat value comes from 24 parts of gold. So, if the gold is 18 parts pure gold it is considered to be 18 carats. Similarly, if it is 22 parts pure, it is known as 22-carat gold. But, this is only one way to differentiate one type of gold from another. Gold is often available in a variety of colours and this can be another way of distinguishing its types.
The colours of gold
Different colours can be achieved by introducing other precious metals or base metals into the gold mix. Blue gold is a popular type of gold that is created by adding indium or gallium. These are rare metals that create a bluish hue to the gold when added. Another colour of gold is green. Green gold is also known as Electrum and can be manufactured through the introduction of silver and copper. Colours of gold like blue and green are often used by jewellers, due to their aesthetic appeal.
Purple and rose gold
Gold is also available in the colour purple and this is done by introducing 79% pure gold and 21% aluminium. Purple gold is also a type of 18-carat gold, also known as amethyst gold. However, purple gold is more brittle than other gold alloys and is unsuitable for the electronics industry. It can, however, be used to decorate gold jewellery.
Rose gold gets its colour from being mixed with copper. There are different types of rose gold. 18-carat red gold is created by mixing 75% gold with 25% copper. But, another type of 18 carats rose gold contains 75% gold with 22.25% copper and 2.75% silver. Also, included in the 18-carat category is pink gold. Pink gold contains 75% gold with 20% copper, while the amount of silver in the mix is increased to 5%. The last category, which is also the cheapest is 12-carat red gold, where the gold is only 50% and the rest is copper.
White and yellow gold
White gold has gained popularity over the years and the hardness of the mix is achieved by introducing Palladium, which is another precious metal. However, in some cases, silver may also be added along with Palladium and nickel. A popular formulation of white gold contains 90% gold with 10% nickel. Many jewellers also plate the white gold with a coating of rhodium, which gives its steely look and shine. The industry typically uses Palladium and nickel as bleaching agents to change the colour of gold to white.
Yellow gold is a derivative of the normal colour of gold. 18-carat yellow gold is created with 75% gold, 12.5% copper and 12.5% silver. However, it darker shade of yellow can be achieved by increasing the percentage of copper. Here, the proportions change to 75% gold, 15% copper and 10% silver.
Call our experts to know everything about the types of gold
Physical Gold is one of the U.K.’s most reputed gold dealers. Our team of experts can help you decide which type of gold to buy and advise you on the best way to make gold investments. Call us today on (020) 7060 9992, alternatively, drop us an email by visiting our website.
Gold is a much sought after metal with very interesting properties. We often think of gold as being primarily attractive to investors and collectors of gold coins. Gold jewellery is extremely popular across the world, especially in Asia. However, the largest demand for gold comes from the industry.
While a variety of industries use gold for their manufacturing operations, gold has certain properties that make it very attractive to the electronics industry in particular. Gold is one of the most conductive metals on the planet. It is also highly malleable, which means that it can be sheathed onto surfaces. Gold is also very ductile and a small amount of gold can be stretched into wires that run into metres. Therefore the electronics industry has a large appetite for gold.
Why is gold used in the electronics industry?
With a conductivity score of 70%, gold is a popular choice for use in electronics. Most commonly, gold is used as an electroplated coating on contacts and connectors. It shines as the superior choice due to its high conductivity, corrosive resistance, and resilience (especially when mixed with nickel). Copper and silver are both cheaper and more conductive than gold, so tend to be used in a far wider array of electronic applications. Encasing electronics in gold is increasing in popularity to appeal to the luxury market such as the Gold Apple watch.
A deeper look at the use of gold in the electronics industry tells us that gold is a far superior conductor of electricity when compared to copper, silver and aluminium. This simply means that gold offers minimal resistance to the electricity flowing to and fro. However, its properties like ductility and malleability create a tipping point for its use in the electronics industry. Due to these properties, gold is very user friendly and easy to work with. It is easy and convenient to introduce the yellow metal into miniature electronic circuits, which are often found in mobile phones, gaming devices and other electronic accessories. Gold is also resistant to tarnishing, a property that ensures longer life of the devices and circuit boards in which the metal is used.
Electronics processes, where gold is used
Perhaps one of the largest users of gold in the electronics industry is in plating connectors and contacts. Semiconductor packages also use gold bonding wires, while a wide array of other processes also use gold. These include hybrid circuits, printed circuit boards and their coatings and soldering, contact points for electronic components and metal layers on semiconductors, which can be frequently used as conductor tracks and contacts points.
Due to its corrosion resistance properties and high electrical conductivity, gold has become the metal of choice for use in connectors and contacts. It is most preferred for low voltage, low current and contact force applications. Gold is often electroplated onto nickel and if the device or circuitry needs to function in hostile environments, the thickness of the gold is often increased. This may be true for its use in the electronic car industry, where the e-vehicles need to be driven throughout the year across a range of seasons.
Wire bonding is another area of use in the electronics industry, where the demand for gold had already doubled in six years from 1994 to 2000. In the last 20 years, the demand for gold for these processes has skyrocketed. Wire bonding is usually found in many electronic devices, for example – computer motherboards and their components.
Our experts are available to answer your questions about gold
Physical Gold is one of the country’s most reputed and successful precious metal dealers. Please call us on (020) 7060 9992, or get in touch with us online with all your queries about gold and its investment opportunities.