A troy ounce is a unit of measurement used to weigh precious metals. Many people often see “troy ounce” and think it is a fancy way to say “ounce” and that it is an equal form of measurement to the ounce we use in our daily lives. This is not true. A troy ounce is a specific measurement, primarily used for precious metals.
The troy ounce can be traced back to Troyes, France during the Middle Ages. Troyes was known for its prominent trade market. Traders from all over the globe traveled there to trade goods, including gold and silver. In order to standardize trading, the merchants developed a system of weight for products going through the market. Their system is thought to be based on the Roman monetary system. Their currency was weighed in “aes grave” or what today we would call a pound. 1/12th of an “aes grave” was called an “uncia” or an ounce. Like the Roman monetary system, 1/12th of a troy pound is a troy ounce.
As this system became more popular, it spread to other parts of the world. French-born King Henry II of England decided this system should be adopted by the British coinage system. It was not until the 15th century that we saw troy weights, as we know them today, being used. 100 years later in 1527, the British recognized the troy ounce as the official measurement of gold and silver. The United States adopted this standard in 1828.
Why do precious metals use the troy ounce?
Today, the troy ounce is the last used metric of the troy weighting system. This troy ounce is the primary weighing unit used at most sovereign and private mints around the world. This helps to ensure the purity of the precious metals as well as provide consistency among weights of various bars and coins. This measurement system has been used since the Middle Ages and provides constant weight standards throughout history.
Troy Ounce vs Avoirdupois Ounce
When someone thinks of an ounce, they are thinking of the avoirdupois ounce. This ounce is used to weigh everyday items like sugar or grains from the grocery store. Although they have the same name, their weights are slightly different. This idea is similar to the difference between a nautical mile and a mile. One troy ounce weighs 31.1 grams while one avoirdupois ounce weighs 28.3 grams. A troy ounce is approximately 10% heavier than an avoirdupois ounce.
Although this might seem like a small difference, it is very important when buying and selling bullion. When you see the price of gold or silver per ounce, it is in terms of troy ounces. Most transactions are more than one troy ounce, so the difference in ounces could easily add up if you are not careful. Some sellers could list a product at 100 ounces, but the product would only weigh 90 troy ounces, leading the buyer to lose 10% of the value of the product. Very rarely will you see bullion in terms of avoirdupois ounces, but if you ever do, you can multiply that weight by 0.91 to find its weight in troy ounces. Make sure to check the item’s specifications to ensure its weight.
Even though a troy ounce weighs more than an avoirdupois ounce, an avoirdupois pound weighs more than a troy pound. This is because there are 16 avoirdupois ounces in an avoirdupois pound, but only 12 troy ounces in a troy pound. This could be confusing, but since troy ounces are only used for precious metals, there is no necessity to know the conversion to troy pounds.
GoldClub Direct weighs all of their products using troy ounces or grams. By understanding what a troy ounce is, buyers will have a better understanding of the precious metals market. If you have questions about the weight of the products or would like to learn more, do not hesitate to reach out at 1-800-700-4715.
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