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It is impossible to tell the precious metal content of any item simply by looking at it.Precious metals such as old, silver, and platinum are too soft to use alone for making jewellery, cutlery and other goods.This safeguard was to ensure the Office was run for the benefit of the consumer as well as the manufacturer.Once a piece was assayed, it was marked using a "hallmark", making the hallmark perhaps the oldest mark of consumer protection.Addition of some copper gives "rose gold", a soft pink colour.Remarkably other colours such as purple (a gold:aluminium alloy), blue (a gold:indium alloy) and even black (a gold:cobalt alloy) may be formed.Gold has always fascinated people and gold is certainly one of the very first metals known.
White gold is commonly used for wedding rings in the USA.Two thirds of the world's supply comes from South Africa, and of USA production is from South Dakota and Nevada.Gold is found in sea water, but no effective economic process has been designed (yet) to extract it from this source.It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and is unaffected by air and most reagents.
Gold is readily available commercially and its price changes day by day and is one of the most widely tracked commercial prices.
While there are assay offices in the USA, there is no hallmarking scheme.