Grains, Grams, Pennyweights?
So How Much Is My Gold Worth?
As appearing in The Gold Nugget, July 2001
by Gary S. Turk, President of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado, Colorado Springs

[ Arkansas Gold ]

You will hear people talking about their gold in terms such as flakes and flour. Some people will tell you that a nugget they found weighs a pennyweight. When you are new at this, these terms sound real foreign. So, just what do all these things mean?

What To Call That Gold You Found

Flour -- This should be obvious. The gold you found looks like baking flour, only it is gold. Sometimes it is even microscopic in size, and people wonder how you found it without a magnifying glass.

Spec -- This is going to be just a bit bigger than flour, but it is still very small.

Flec -- This is similar to a "spec," but it is flatter in shape, and still very small.

Flake -- Now we're getting somewhere! A "flake" is going to be larger in size. You will begin to get excited when the gold you are finding reaches FLAKE size. A FLAKE is still too small to pick up with your finger, but you can get it with a tweezers.

Picker -- Yahoo! This is a piece of gold big enough to pick up with your finger and thumb. If you have to fumble around to get it, it is a "small picker." If you can pick it out rather easily, it qualifies as a "nice picker." If it is real easy to pick up, it is probably a "big picker."

Plinker or Small Nugget -- When you actually hear a piece of gold hitting the bottom of your pan or the bottom of your sluice, you may get real excited. Some people call these "plinkers," but for the most part, they are "small nuggets."

Nugget -- If one dents your pan or sluice, no doubt about it, you got a "NUGGET!"

This Is the Way to Compute Actual Value of the Gold You Have

Please note that the gold value used in the following computations ($650.00) is only for demonstration purposes, and is not necessarily the current value of an ounce of gold.

Grain -- Take the value of gold and divide it by 480. This will give you the value of a grain. For example, $650 divided by 480 = 1.35. So, each grain of gold you have is worth $1.35.

Pennyweight -- Take the value of gold and divide it by 20. This will give you the value of a Pennyweight (dwt). For example, $650 divided by 20 = 32.50. So, each pennyweight of gold you have is worth $32.50.

But wait! There's more! -- If your nugget is large enough to be made into a jewelry piece, its value increases. Also, if your nugget has "character," that is, it looks like something or somebody in particular, then it also has increased value. This value can double or even triple the value of the nugget you have.

These Are the Scientific Measures of Gold

1 Ounce (oz) = 20 Pennyweights or 31.10 Grams or 480 Grains
1 Pennyweight (dwt) = 1.56 Grams or 24 Grains
1 Gram (gm) = 15.43 Grains

So, Figure It Out

If you find a "picker" that weighs 48 Grains, it also weighs 2 dwt (Pennyweight), and it also weighs 1/10th of an ounce. To add just a bit more confusion, this measurement system is based on "Troy ounces." These are not the same ounces as we normally use to weigh and measure everything else. "Troy" is used for measuring precious metals only. You see, a pound" in "Troy" is only 12 ounces! When you measure flour or whatever, you are using the "Avoirdupois" weight system. That is, 16 ounces to a pound. Why? I don't know, it's a French thing. Just remember, when you have a "pound" of gold, it is 12 "Troy ounces.

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© 2001 Gold Prospectors of the Rockies