Gold Bars (or Gold Ingots)
A gold bar, or gold ingot, is a piece of gold bullion that is produced by a recognized bar manufacturer to a specific weight, size and purity. While most gold bars are rectangular shaped, gold bullion bars issued in foreign countries often comes in fancy shapes such as donuts, square and even boat-shaped. Gold bullion bars are issued at a low premium on top of the prevailing value of their gold content.
The name of the issuer, weight and purity are marked on the face of the gold bar. Larger bars are often imprinted with their own unique serial numbers as a mark of authenticity.
While the bulk of gold ingot bars are consumed by jewelry manufacturers and other industrial applications, their low premium also makes them attractive to gold investors looking to take up a small position in the precious metal.
Types of Gold Bars
Depending on the manufacturing process used, gold bars can be loosely classified into two types: cast gold bars and minted gold bars.
Cast Gold Bar
Most cast gold bars are produced by pouring hot molten gold from a crucible into a ingot mould with the appropriate dimensions. Once cooled, the melted gold will hardened into blocks of solid gold ingot bars.
Minted Gold Bar
To produce minted gold bars, a cast gold bar is first rolled into a uniform thickness and then a die is used to cut it to the required dimensions.
Pure gold is extremely soft and easily damaged. In fact, 100% pure gold is so soft that it can be molded by hand. To increase its hardness, gold is mixed with other metals to form an alloy.
|9999||9999 parts gold in 10000 parts||99.99%|
|999||999 parts gold in 1000 parts||99.9%|
|995||995 parts gold in 1000 parts||99.5%|
The purity is important as it is used to calculate the amount of fine gold contained in the gold bar.
The purity, or fineness, of the gold bar is normally declared in parts per 100, 1000 or 10000.
Weights & Sizes
Gold ingot bars comes in various weights and sizes, ranging from as little as one gram to as large as the "400 troy ounce", brick sized London Good Delivery gold bars.
Gold bars are generally considered large if it's heavier than 1000g. Put it in another way, if it looks like a brick, it's a large gold bar. If you can hold it in the palm of your hand, it's a small gold bar.
The most common units used to indicate the weight of the gold content are usually grams, kilograms or ounces. Note that when the weight is denoted in ounces, it is troy ounce and not the avoirdupois ounce normally used to weigh food.
A troy ounce is about 10% heavier than an avoirdupois ounce. One troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams. One avoirdupois ounce = 28.349523125 grams