All about 333 gold: what is it and how much does a gram of this alloy cost today?

Traditional methods of assessing the quality of gold, for example, using iodine, a magnet or “by the tooth”, are unreliable. If you need accurate results, contact a pawnshop. Pawnshop appraisers are professionally trained and use a range of modern methods to determine the grade.

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What kind of sample is this

Alloys of 333 standard are called low-cork because of the lowest content of pure precious metal compared to other samples - only 33%. Accordingly, they are cheaper than other gold alloys.

Expert opinion

Vsevolod Kozlovsky

6 years in jewelry making. Knows everything about samples and can identify a fake in 12 seconds

In Russia, 333 gold products ceased to be produced after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In their place were products made from 375-karat alloys, the minimum permissible proportion of noble metal in which, according to the requirements of the state standard, is 37.5%.

Jewelry marked “333” can still be found today, but they were produced before the collapse of the USSR or abroad.

Hallmark 333 on a ring - what does it mean and what kind of metal is it, an echo of the Soviet jewelry industry

333 gold purity is equal to 8 carats, the composition of the purest gold for work with such markings is only 33%. Currently, this precious metal is not used in the jewelry industry of the Russian Federation. 333 metal replaced 375 standard immediately after the collapse of the USSR.

New products with this mark are produced only abroad.

Hallmark 333 on a gold ring

How is the purity of a precious metal determined?

The most accurate way to test gold is to apply a reagent to it. Based on the reaction of the reagent to the connection with the alloy, the percentage of precious metal content is determined. For example, the standard of gold from which the jewelry is made is determined in a pawnshop.

There are different types of reagents, each sample has its own. There are three main types:

  1. acidic,
  2. chlorine gold,
  3. potassium iodide.

Only a specialist can determine the gold sample. It is impossible to do this on your own at home.

How to determine the authenticity of 333 samples

First of all, it is always worth inspecting the markings. The presence of all the necessary signs minimizes the risk of buying a fake.

The product can be taken to a pawnshop or jewelry workshop, where it will be checked for authenticity using reagents or special devices.

By the way, professional jewelers can determine the sample itself if the composition of the alloy is in doubt.

Determining the authenticity of 333 samples in a pawnshop

Composition and properties

The composition of alloy “333” includes at least 33.3% pure metal and 76.3% alloy (impurities from various non-ferrous metals). The following are used as ligatures:

  • copper,
  • brass,
  • nickel,
  • silver,
  • platinum,
  • zinc,
  • bronze,
  • tin.

333 is common in Europe, where the standard metal color is yellow. Therefore, brass is used as an admixture for color correction.

Depending on the types of ligature present in the gold alloy, its melting point ranges from 900 to 1200 °C.

The alloy does not corrode and has high hardness.

How to check gold in a pawnshop without deformation?

If you do not want your jewelry to be scratched or sawed, look for a pawnshop that determines the gold standard using a special device - a spectrometer. The appraiser will place the product in a chamber where, under the influence of x-rays, the metal will begin to emit a spectrum. The computer will compare this spectrum with the samples included in the program and calculate the chemical composition of the product. You will see the percentage of all elements on your computer monitor. The spectrometer will determine the composition of the alloy and the thickness of the coating layers. The estimation error of this method is 0.01%, so it can replace the visual and acid method of determining the gold sample.

Alloy color chart

Let us give an example of alloying gold using the most common impurities.

ColorGold, %Silver, %Copper, %

What types of gold exist?

You can find out what standard of gold the jewelry is made from by the markings that must be applied to each product. In jewelry, the following gold samples are used: 375, 583, 585, 750, 958. In some countries, another standard is used to create jewelry - 333 (such an alloy quickly oxidizes). This is not an exhaustive list - GOST 6835-85 mentions 18 different samples and 40 gold alloys.

Sample 375

Composition: 37.5% gold, 62.5% silver and copper.

  • Used for making chains, earrings, bracelets, pendants, wedding rings.
  • Due to its low price and durability, it was widely used in the Soviet Union for the manufacture of “gold” wristwatches and wedding rings.

Depending on the percentage of copper and silver, the alloy can range in color from yellow to deep red (more copper means more red). Sometimes palladium is added to the composition (with 40% palladium and 10% silver, a very delicate creamy shade is obtained). The material is durable, strong, but is susceptible to oxidation, which is why it loses its attractiveness and becomes grayish when polishing is lost. Jewelers jokingly call this sample “an alloy of copper and silver containing gold.”

Sample 583

This alloy was the gold standard of the USSR. Most of the jewelry at that time was made from this material (almost every family preserved rings or earrings of 583 standard, which were once worn by mother or grandmother). In 2000, 585 sample became the standard in Russia.

Sample 585

  • Used to make wedding rings, earrings, crosses, tie clips, and church utensils.
  • The alloy is durable and easy to process; various technologies can be used with it - laser welding, weaving, blowing.

Composition option 1: 58.5% gold, 33.5% copper, 8% silver.

A durable alloy with a reddish or yellow tint, easy to solder. The metal is malleable and does not tarnish in air.

Composition option 2: 58.5% gold, 41.5% nickel and palladium.

Durable alloy with a white tint, easy to solder, does not oxidize.

Sample 750

Composition option 1: 75% gold, 25% silver.

Material with this composition has a greenish tint.

Composition option 2: 75% gold, 21% copper, 4% nickel.

Reddish alloy.

Composition option 3: 75% gold, 15% silver, 10% copper.

Yellow alloy.

All three versions of the 750-grade material have excellent characteristics: they are durable, wear-resistant, and easy to solder, cast, and polish. They tolerate contact with the environment normally, but due to their increased softness they require careful and careful handling. The alloy of this sample is most often used to create frames for fragile precious stones, in the manufacture of products with filigree, as a basis for applying enamels (to prevent the enamel from tarnishing, choose a composition with a copper content of up to 16%).

Sample 958

Composition: 95.8% gold, 4.2% silver and copper.

The metal is bright yellow, malleable and soft, and was formerly used to make wedding rings. Today, domestic jewelers almost never use this high-grade alloy in their work, but products made from it are often found in Arab countries. Due to its softness, such an alloy is prone to deformation; polishing on jewelry made from it does not last long.

Sample 999

Almost pure noble metal with a negligible amount of impurities. Bank bars are made from this gold. It is not used to create jewelry due to its tendency to deform.

How many carats are in this sample?

In European countries, the content of pure gold in an alloy is indicated by carats, in Russia by fineness. 333 gold is 8 carat.

The table below presents three sample systems in which the precious metal content in the alloy is determined by the number of milligrams in 1 gram, carats and percentages.

Metric Assay System, mg/1 g999958750585583500375333
Carat assay system, kar24231814141298
Amount of precious metal in the alloy, %99,995,87558,558,35037,533,3

Who tests?

In Russia, the gold marking process is regulated by the State Assay Office under the Ministry of Finance. It is this state assay supervision body that carries out analysis, testing, and hallmarking of gold products.

A hallmark on a piece of jewelry is a guarantee that it is truly made from the appropriate precious alloy. If the sample is missing, looks fuzzy or suspicious, then you may have a fake. You can check the sample of the product at the assay office.

Where is gold usually sampled? Most often - on the inner surface of a ring, on a link in earrings, on a link near a lock in chains and bracelets. To preserve the aesthetic appearance of the decoration, the markings are made miniature.

How much is 1 gram of gold in this sample?

Prices vary in accordance with the quotation of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation for 999-carat gold. Based on it, the cost of 1 gram of gold of the required standard is calculated.

For 333 alloy, the minimum price is 870 rubles per gram. The cost changes along with the change in the price of pure gold.

Price 999 standard according to the Central BankMarket value of the sample todayScrap pricePrice in jewelry

Soviet gold markings

The location of the mark will depend on the type of product. On rings, the markings can be found inside the bezel, while bracelets are marked on the last link.

Throughout Russia, the state inspection inspectorate handles the marking of jewelry products. The marking looks like an outline of two rectangles, inside of which there is an imprint of a woman’s face in a kokoshnik, a sample and a special code.

Soviet gold was branded differently. Instead of a woman's profile, the product can be seen imprinted with a five-pointed star, an integral symbol of that era.

Thus, jewelry made from 333 alloy from the times of the USSR must have a hallmark containing three hallmark numbers, a star sign and a letter indicating the year of manufacture.

Ring and earrings made of old Soviet gold

Recommendations for care and cleaning

To prevent products from losing their shine and scratches, you must follow simple rules:

  • Avoid contact of perfumes and cosmetics with the surface of jewelry. Wash your jewelry periodically using a soft brush and soap.
  • At least once a week, remove and wipe the products, check the operation of the locks and the presence of dirt.

Does gold darken

Gold does not darken, even the lowest grade. There are exceptions, but not because of the poor quality of the metal, but because of its reaction to the individual characteristics of the skin of the owner of the jewelry. This happens, as a rule, quite rarely.

However, if your jewelry is darkening or leaving marks on your skin, you should first check the quality of the metal.

Why do gold turn your fingers black?

Most often, the cause of blackening of fingers is a high percentage of copper impurities in the alloy of the product. A lot of copper is found in red alloys, and it is from them that fingers turn black. Most often, the reaction occurs to low-grade gold 333 and 375, but this is not a necessary phenomenon.

The appearance of stripes on the skin from gold

If you run gold jewelry over the skin, sometimes streaks remain on it. There is a myth that this indicates damage to a person. But this is just a consequence of a chemical reaction. The reason again lies in the impurities in gold. Streaks may appear due to their interaction with the skin that has produced sweat, or when a cream or other product is applied to the skin. Alloys react to perfumes, household chemicals, and acids.

Below watch a video about how to test gold using a probe:

How to check gold for authenticity in a pawn shop using acid?

At the second stage, specialized acids are used. The features of the method depend on the weight of the decoration.

Small products are checked in a gentle way. The appraiser selects an inconspicuous place on the jewelry and runs it along a special black block - a touchstone, leaving a thin line. With the naked eye you will not be able to see any traces of this action on the product. Next to the line from the decoration, lines are drawn with samples with a precisely defined sample, after which nitric acid is applied to all strips and they are compared. If the color of the control line matches the color of one of the samples, then the product has the same hallmark as the sample.

Items weighing more than 5 grams are more likely to be gold-plated rather than gold, so they are tested differently. A small cut, 1-2 mm deep, is made on an inconspicuous part of the decoration. A drop of special acid is applied to the file, which detects the 585 sample. The absence of color under the drop is a sign that the jewelry has a standard of 585 or higher, and a brown spot is a sign of a lower standard. To clarify the results, test acids are used for the 750th and 333rd samples.

Jewelry with a large weight cannot be valued only by the outer layer, and some pawn shops will offer to cut the product. If you brought scrap gold, you can agree to this. When scrapped, the uniformity of the metal or gilding will be visible. After cutting, the sample is also determined using acids.


Veronica, 23 years old: “Mom gave me a ring, an old one, 333 samples. It is beautiful, big, but impossible to wear. After a day of wear, marks appear on the skin and it looks ugly.”

Alina, 48 years old: “Since my youth I have been wearing 333 earrings, which I bought in the Czech Republic. They are comfortable, light, do not darken and are no different from other jewelry with a breakdown above. I’m very pleased.”

Alexey, 30 years old: “When we went to Europe, I bought 333 earrings as a gift for my wife. A week later my ears hurt and I couldn’t wear earrings. She wears other jewelry beautifully.”

Gold valuation

We hereby inform you that in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Law dated 04/03/2020 No. 106-FZ “On Amendments to the Federal Law “On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia)” and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation regarding the specifics of changing the terms of the loan agreement, agreement loan" and the regulatory legal acts adopted in its development, including Government Resolution No. 435 of April 3, 2021 "On establishing the maximum amount of credit (loan) for credits (loans), under which the borrower has the right to contact the lender with a demand on changing the terms of the credit agreement (loan agreement), providing for the suspension of the borrower’s fulfillment of its obligations”, Information Letter of the Bank of Russia dated 04/05/2020 No. IN-06-59/49 “On the specifics of the application of Federal Law dated 04/03/2020 No. 106-FZ”, Pawnshop borrowers are entitled to holidays on consumer loans. The borrower can apply for a credit holiday until September 30, 2021; this opportunity is given once for each loan agreement.

The borrower can submit an application for a credit holiday in the manner provided for in the agreement, including by telephone specified by the borrower when registering it.

Credit holidays can be issued only for those contracts that were concluded before 04/03/2020.

Credit holidays can be issued for any required period of up to 6 months. In this case, the start date of the credit holiday should not be later than 14 days after submitting the application.

One of the conditions for granting holidays is a reduction in income for the month preceding the application by more than 30% of the average monthly income of borrowers for 2021.

The borrower must provide the pawnshop with any of the following documents within 90 days of filing the application to verify the decrease in income:

  • certificate in form 2-NDFL for 2019-2020,
  • certificate of unemployed status,
  • sick leave for a period of 1 month or more.

For the purpose of obtaining documents confirming a decrease in income in electronic form (if providing them from the accounting department of the employing organization is difficult), we recommend that you follow the Letter of the Ministry of Finance of Russia dated May 27, 2020 No. 05-06-06/3/44742 and use the following electronic services: (for obtaining a certificate in form 2-NDFL and information about the status of an individual personal account from the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation - for those working under an employment contract), (to obtain a certificate about the status of calculations (income) for professional income tax (KND 1122036) - for the self-employed).

Unemployment status can be obtained on the website:

Please also note that during the grace period (during credit holidays) interest is charged on the principal amount at a preferential rate of 2/3 of the rate under the loan agreement. So the deferral is not free.

We also draw your attention to the fact that the pawnshop has the right to refuse to provide a credit holiday if, when checking documents, it turns out that the borrower does not meet the established criteria. In this case, the deferment on payments is canceled, and the borrower will have to repay the missed payments in full for the entire term.

How to determine gold purity by the color of the alloy

The color of pure gold is bright yellow, but due to its softness, this metal in its pure form is not used to create jewelry. Jewelry is made from gold alloys, in which only part of the composition is allocated to gold. Ligatures (additives) make the connection harder, stronger, and give it different shades.

Based on the shade of the alloy from which the product is made, one can assume its sample. But this method of determining the composition is imperfect; only examination can accurately determine the percentage of gold and other metals.


This shade is characteristic of alloys containing silver and copper, in particular the following samples:

  • 375: dark pink,
  • 585: soft pink;
  • 750: slightly pinkish.


If you see a piece of jewelry with a white tint, most likely it is 750-grade metal. 25% of the composition is occupied by silver and palladium or silver and nickel.


  • Dark green color is typical for 750 standard with the following composition: 75% gold, 15% silver, 6% copper, 4% cadmium.
  • The pale green material is obtained when 23% copper and 2% cadmium are added to 75% gold.
  • The yellow-green metal is most likely 750 fine, and 25% of the composition is silver.


Gold jewelry may have a purple tint if it is made from a 14-karat alloy that contains 25% aluminum or potassium. If the color is rather bluish, then with a high probability it is a composition of 46% noble metal and 54% rhodium, cobalt or indium.

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