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A piece of alloy metal containing a precious metal may have the weight of its precious component referred to as its fine weight. For example, 1 troy ounce of 18 karat gold (which is 75% gold) may be said to have a fine weight of 0.75 troy ounces.
Many precious metals are used in the form of alloys. Other metals are added to increase hardness, to make the metal more practical for use in such items as coins and jewelry, or to decrease the cost of the alloy. For example, copper is added to the precious metal silver to make a more durable alloy for use in coins, housewares and jewelry.
A traditional measure for the fineness of silver in Britain is the mass of the amount of silver in 12 troy ounces of the resulting alloy. Britannia silver has a fineness of 11 troy ounces, 10 pennyweights, or about 95.83% silver, whereas sterling silver has a fineness of 11 troy ounces, 2 pennyweights, or about 92.5% silver. In other locations fineness is measured in units of mass per thousand. In the United States, silver coins often had a fineness of 900, meaning 90% silver and 10% copper.
- London Bullion Market Association. "Glossary of Terms".
- Seyd, Ernest (1868). Bullion and foreign exchanges theoretically and practically considered. E. Wilson. p. 146. Retrieved 21 March 2012.