What is the difference between .999 and .9999 fine Gold ?


By now you have probably seen different purities of Gold or Silver, the most common ones being .999 and .9999. What is the difference between them? What these numbers essentially determine is the percentage of the fine metal; so it would be 99.9% and 99.99%. They are both very high levels of fineness. The gold purity is defined by numbers .999 and .9999.

How can we determine what makes them different?

To begin, it all comes down to the refining process of the yellow metals. This process varies from refinery to refinery, and the fineness of the metal is determined after it has been refined. Typically, 99.5% pure Gold is the very minimum pure the precious metal can be in order to be accepted. Most investors lean more towards the 99.9% and 99.99% pure bullion, however, when it comes down to taxes the Government looks at 99.5% as the minimum, anything lower will be taxed.

You will also see a big difference in the premiums for each product depending on the level of purity. 99.99% will have a higher premium as compared to it’s 99.9% and 99.5% counterparts. This is due to the cost it takes to refine the metal but you must also take into consideration that you are receiving a finer metal. 

There are some pieces of bullion that actually come in 99.999% purity; they tend to either be rare pieces or collectibles. It is much harder to refine Gold to have the ‘five nine’ purity, hence why the premiums on pieces like this will be significantly higher. 

The Refining Process

Refining Gold to reach 99.99% and beyond involves more steps from the refiners end. As mentioned earlier, the refining process varies from refinery to refinery however, we can give you a basic understanding of how the Royal Canadian Mint refines their metals. 

They begin by using the Miller Refining process, which involves blowing chlorine gas all over molten impure Gold. This step will refine Gold to the 99.5% purity level. As demand is lower for 99.5% they then use the Wohl will Refining process. This is an electrochemical process that refines Gold to the 99.99% standard everyone nowadays is looking for. This process can actually go even further and refine Gold to the highest level of the ‘five nines’.

So in the end the main difference between the different purities of Gold and other precious metals is all determined through the process of refining. Now when you are shopping for your next bullion investment you will be able to understand and justify the difference in purity and the higher premiums for a finer metal. If you are looking to purchase precious metals, check out Au Bullions selection of fine metals. We carry metals with purities of 99.5%, 99.9% as well as 99.99%!