Is 12K Gold Worth Anything? 12K Gold Value Explained

Short Answer: Since it contains 50% gold, solid 12K gold is worth half as much as pure gold — about $28.50 per gram (at the time of writing). Gold-filled and gold-plated pieces are worth less since they contain less pure gold. For more details about how much 12K gold is worth and how to calculate the value of particular pieces, see below.

Is 12K Gold Worth Anything?

While less valuable and common than other types of gold (such as 14K or 24K), 12K gold does have value. The value of a 12K gold item will depend on a few factors:

  • The current spot price of gold; 12K gold contains about 50% pure gold[1]
  • Whether the item is solid, gold-filled, or gold-plated[2]
  • Any other metals and/or gems present in the item

The average spot price of gold over the past year at the time of writing is about $57 per gram.[3] Since 12K gold contains about 50% gold, its base spot price will be half that of pure gold — or about $28.50 per gram.

However, keep in mind that 12K gold jewelry is often gold-filled or gold-plated, meaning it contains even less pure gold and has a lower spot price. Gold-plated jewelry is usually under 1% pure gold, while gold-filled jewelry is at least 5% gold.[4]

How to Identify 12K Gold

Precious metal jewelry is stamped with a hallmark that indicates the metal’s purity. Look for the following marks to determine what type of 12K gold you have:[5][6][7][8]

  • Solid: Most valuable; includes a hallmark of 12K, 12KT, 12CT, or 500
  • Gold-filled: May be marked 1/20 12K GF, indicating it contains 5% solid 12K gold; 1/5 12K GF, meaning it contains 20% solid 12K gold; or 1/10 12K GF, meaning that it contains 10% solid 12K gold
  • Gold-plated: Least valuable; may be marked RGP, HGP, GEP, HGE, or HGEP and contains less than 5% solid 12K gold

Estimating the Value of 12K Gold Items

When you purchase jewelry from a professional jeweler or designer, you pay for the cost of the materials and markup for labor and retail profit. Although many factors influence the retail price of gold jewelry, including the weight and composition of each particular piece, our research found that the average retail prices for 12K gold pieces are approximately:[6][9][10]

  • Necklace (solid): $300 to $800
  • Necklace (gold-filled): Around $15 and up
  • Bracelet (solid): Around $300 to $400
  • Bracelet (gold-filled): Around $25 and up
  • Ring (solid): Around $300
  • Ring (gold-filled): Around $20 and up

Note that the age of jewelry items may add to the retail value in some cases. For example, if you have an antique 12K piece from a well-recognized brand like Tiffany & Co., the brand recognition and rarity may increase its value.

Tools

There are calculators available online to help you estimate the value of your particular 12K gold pieces. See Mid-States Recycling & Refining’s Karat Calculator to calculate the value of solid 12K gold based on its weight and the current spot price. For gold-filled items, try Gold-N-Scrap’s calculator.

Where to Sell Gold

Find out more about how and where to sell gold jewelry in our lists of jewelry stores that buy jewelry, gold buyers nearby, and where to sell broken jewelry. If you find that you have a different type of gold than 12K, we also explain the value of 10K gold, 750/18K gold, and white gold.

4 comments

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Michael! We were unable to find any information about a “12k8f” stamp. Are you sure it doesn’t read “12K GF” (for 12K gold-filled)? “TLC” is probably the maker’s mark — a stamp used to identify which jeweler made the necklace. Since it is difficult to determine the meaning of jewelry stamps without examining the piece itself, you may want to contact an antique appraiser through JustAnswer to learn more about your necklace. (Note that FQF may receive a commission if you sign up for JustAnswer and ask a question.) Best of luck!

  • Michele E. Hutchinson says:

    This article is very helpful. I found my mother’s mother’s gold filled bracelet and after the jeweler fixed and shined it I got a magnifying glass which showed 12k gold filled E. M. C. I was mainly interested in the meaning of the initials that were not included in this article. I’ll continue my search but still learned much from this article. While I have no intention of selling, only leaving the bracelet to my daughter, I’d like to pass on the value and as much information that I find. I’m pleased…

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Michele! The “EMC” marking may be the maker’s mark of the company that crafted the bracelet. For more information about the initials, you may want to contact a jewelry appraiser or sign up at JustAnswer and ask an expert. (Note that FQF may receive a commission if you sign up and ask a question.) We’re glad to hear that you found our article helpful!