The fineness of a precious metal refers to the ratio of the primary metal to any additives or impurities. Most precious metal is used in the form of an alloy. 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.

The fineness (or purity) of gold is commonly measured in carats or karats. The upper end of the scale is 24 carat for 100%. Thus 18 carat = 18/24% = 75%.

ee also

*Millesimal fineness

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  • Fineness — Fine ness, n. [From {Fine}, a.] 1. The quality or condition of being fine. [1913 Webster] 2. Freedom from foreign matter or alloy; clearness; purity; as, the fineness of liquor. [1913 Webster] The fineness of the gold, and chargeful fashion. Shak …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fineness — Fineness. См. Чистота. (Источник: «Металлы и сплавы. Справочник.» Под редакцией Ю.П. Солнцева; НПО Профессионал , НПО Мир и семья ; Санкт Петербург, 2003 г.) …   Словарь металлургических терминов

  • fineness — index quality (excellence), sensibility Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • fineness — [fīn′nis] n. 1. the quality or state of being fine 2. the proportion of pure gold or silver in an alloy …   English World dictionary

  • fineness — noun 1. the quality of being very good indeed (Freq. 1) the inn is distinguished by the fineness of its cuisine • Syn: ↑choiceness • Derivationally related forms: ↑choice (for: ↑choiceness) …   Useful english dictionary

  • fineness — praba statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Tauriojo metalo masės dalių skaičius tūkstantyje lydinio masės dalių. atitikmenys: angl. assay; fineness; hallmark; purity; standard of purity rus. проба …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • fineness — Ⅰ. fine [1] ► ADJECTIVE 1) of very high quality. 2) satisfactory. 3) in good health and feeling well. 4) (of the weather) bright and clear. 5) (of a thread, filament, or hair) thin. 6) of delicate or intricate w …   English terms dictionary

  • fineness — noun see fine III …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • fineness — /fuyn nis/, n. 1. the state or quality of being fine. 2. the proportion of pure precious metal in an alloy, often expressed in parts per thousand. [1400 50; late ME; see FINE1, NESS] * * * …   Universalium

  • fineness — noun a) The ratio, in a precious metal, of the primary metal to any additives or impurities. b) The ratio of a ships length to her beam …   Wiktionary