A troy ounce is equivalent to 31.21 grams and is a measure used for determining the weight of precious metals like gold and silver. There is an important difference between the troy ounce and the regular ounce. A lot of people mistakenly believe that they are alike, but they are different from each other. There are 16 normal ounces in a pound. But, when measured in trot ounces, there are 14.6. So, the troy ounce is actually heavier than the ounce.
The troy ounce – a guide to its history
The troy ounce was used as a unit of measure first introduced in a place called Troyes in France. That’s how the name first came into day to day use. The adoption of the troy ounce dates back to medieval times. It is possible that the troy ounce as a unit originated during Roman times. According to historians, the Roman Empire utilised bronze bars which could be split into 12 pieces, each weighing 31.1 grams. Each of these pieces were called ‘uncia’, from which the name ounce was derived.
Europe soon developed into a business hub and the need of the hour was to have a standardised weighing unit. Merchants who came from Troyes at the time may have introduced the troy ounce as a standard measure. By the year 1527, Britain had adopted the troy ounce as the official recognised standard for weighing gold and silver. The US adopted this system in 1828. This tradition was handed down through the years and today, the troy ounce is the only ancient measure still in use for weighing precious metals like silver and gold.
One of the reasons why the troy ounce is still in use is because gold and silver are measured using beam balances. When we compare the troy ounce to the regular ounce, we realise that the troy ounce has 2.75 grams more precious metals. If you are new to buying gold, it is important not to make the mistake and buy gold in regular ounces. It may not seem a lot at first, but if you purchase 100 ounces, this quickly adds up to 275 grams of gold. At the current spot price of gold of $42.66 per gram, this means that you have lost $11,731 of gold. Spot prices of gold and silver used in international markets around the world are always based on troy ounces. So, when we see that the price of gold is stated per ounce, it implies the troy ounce is in use as the unit of measure.
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Image credits: Michael Steinberg