12k gold is a type of gold that is common with older jewelry items such as chains, rings, and earrings. Below we'll provide more detail about this gold type and how much it can be worth.

What Is 12K Gold?

12k gold is real gold with a relatively low purity. 12k refers to the gold's level of purity, and it means that your item is 12 karats out of a maximum of 24 karats. It's composed of 50% gold and 50% alloy. 12k gold is the same as 500 gold.

This type of gold is more durable and more affordable than the higher purity alternatives. This is because it contains 50% alloy. However it won't be as shiny as the higher purity types due to the alloy content. In addition, high alloy content can irritate skin for some individuals.

12K Gold Bracelet
A 12k gold chain

How to Find Markings

Markings or hallmarks are easy to spot for any type of gold piece. You should clearly see 12k or the number 500 engraved on the piece. On jewelry the number may be small and concealed, but it should still be visible.

You may encounter some other markings on your gold jewelry. For example, some pieces may be branded "12KP". This indicates that the item in question is plumb gold and is 12 karats exactly. An item labeled "G.P" is gold-plated. Similarly, jewelry labeled "G.F" is gold filled, which essentially means that it has a thicker layer of gold-plating.

12K Gold Stamp

The Value of Your 12K Gold

In order to get the melt value of your 12k gold piece, you'll need to multiply the total ounces of gold by the spot price of gold. We make this easy for you with our gold calculator. All you need to do is load up the calculator, select 12k from the purity dropdown box, enter the weight of your item, and then click the 'calculate' button.

It's always good to know the value of your gold item. If you were ever going to sell your item then you have a base price.


Gold items come in several different types of purities. Below we will review three similar alternatives to 12k gold.

10K Gold

10k gold, also known as 417 gold, is similar to 12k gold. The only difference is that 10k gold has 11.2% more alloy content.

14K Gold

14k gold is a popular choice for jewelry. It has 16.6% more gold content.

16K Gold

16k gold has one-third more gold content. It's also noticeably shinier due to the higher gold content.