Gold Analysis in the Precious Metal Trading Industry

Highly unstable prices and the high value of gold pose a significant and continuous financial threat to the precious metal trading industry. Even the slightest deviation in the estimated karat …
Read more

Highly unstable prices and the high value of gold pose a significant and continuous financial threat to the precious metal trading industry. Even the slightest deviation in the estimated karat weight and percentages can cause a severe monetary loss across several transactions.

To avoid financial loss and boost profits, the industry uses various methods to determine the actual cost of the traded items accurately. When it comes to choosing the most suitable technique, the available testing time and the desired accuracy need to be considered.


Fire assaying (cupellation) is the traditional technique for gold content determination, whether for gold bars, coins, or valuable jewellery. It is the most ancient method and the most accurate to this day.

However, Fire Assaying is hugely time-consuming, requires the use of acids, and, worst of all, damages valuable items. When a buyer only has a few minutes to precisely determine the value of precious metals presented for sale non-destructively, alternative methods prevail.


The cheapest, fast, but least accurate method to estimate the value of precious metals is Touchstone Analysis or so-called Acid Test.

Unlike the Fire Assay, it leaves valuable objects as a whole. However, Acid Test still damages presented items for sale, leaving scratches and marks.

Even though the Touchstone Analysis is very affordable and instant, it involves dangerous corrosive chemicals that make it hazardous for operators.


To achieve fast test times and preserve valuable items, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) remains the best method for obtaining instant and accurate test results.

The technique is entirely non-destructive, leaving valuable items in their original state and shape, without any wear marks. Precise results with accuracy approaching that of Fire Assay (0.02-0.05%) can be obtained in a few seconds.

The Golden Standard in XRF Equipment

High-end XRF instruments from Helmut Fischer GmbH are specifically designed to determine precious metal content accurately. Our equipment provides precision rates of 0.1% or better within seconds, which helps jewellers, assayers, and refiners significantly increase profits and make their operations leaner.

Table 1 shows the results from ten measurements of a 14 karat Gold object coated with 0.4 microns [µm] of Rhodium, using FISCHERSCOPE X-RAY XAN 250.

Rh [µm] Au [%] Ag [%]
Mean 0.402 58.33 31.02
Standard Deviation 0.001 0.150 0.188
Coefficient of Variation [%] 0.24 0.257 0.61
Range 0.003 0.518 0.55

Table 1. Repeat measurement of coating thickness and base material combination (includes only the main elements. The limit is 24.). Ten readings on a rhodium-coated 14 karat gold sample.

XRF instruments from Helmut Fischer GmbH can deliver a precise and reliable analysis of precious metals. Fast and easy to use, our equipment features excellent durability, with most of our customers using machines for more than 15 years without any major issues.


Cost effective XRF that features measurements in a small spot on precious metal samples. Allows high throughput with increased safety


Highly compact XRF series for fast material analysis and coating thickness measurements

The Most Reliable Partner

Many organisations contact Fischer Instrumentation daily to learn more about the precise determination of precious metals using the XRF method.

We’ve worked with London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, and Dublin Assay offices for the last 20 years, and they continuously rely on our equipment to provide accurate analysis of large volumes of precious metals.

By following the links in this article, you can learn how Birmingham and London Assay offices use Helmut Fischer XRF systems in their hallmarking processes. Having the equivalent premium standard equipment in your business will undoubtedly boost reputation and trust among your customers.

Why look any further when you can have the best equipment trusted by top players in the precious metal trading industry?

Contact Fischer Instrumentation (GB) Ltd. today, and we will demonstrate how our equipment can precisely determine precious metal content within seconds from a single press of a button at the most affordable rates.