Korean Gold

Table of Contents

Just like in China, Korean gold is generally high quality, 24 karat gold. During Doljanchi or Dohl, where the family comes to celebrate a child’s first birthday party, Koreans will bring gold jewelry as a gift  – usually little 24 karat gold rings and bangle bracelets. 

Just how important is gold in South Korean society? During South Korea’s 1997-1998 financial crisis, the Korean government started a fundraising campaign called, “Collect Gold for the Love of Korea”. By the end of the campaign more than $100 million in gold had been donated by more than 100,000 South Koreans.

Jewels and gold coins over dark background
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Mass production of Gold

South Korea is known for another type of gold jewelry: Mass produced gold jewelry

South Korean gold jewelry that is inexpensively mass produced on machines is generally 10k or 14k. This type of gold plated jewelry is usually produced specifically for export. Korean gold tends to use copious amounts of gold solder so even when this gold is stamped as 14k (for example) it is more accurately a 12k in its true fineness. This is the jewelry that you will see in the stores at malls. It is low quality but it serves its purpose.

Gold coins and bars

South Korea has a history of producing gold and silver coins and bars that are valuable to collectors. Below is a list of popular 2020 coins and bars: 

  • South Korean gold coin ½ oz Chiwoo Cheonwang
  • South Korean gold coin 1 oz Chiwoo Cheonwang
  • South Korean gold bar 1 oz Chiwoo Cheonwang
  • South Korean gold coin 1 oz Phoenix
  • South Korean gold coin 1 oz Tiger
  • South Korean gold coin 1 oz SIN Rattus
  • South Korean gold coin 1 oz Gold Crown 

Also, South Korea produces a variety of different sized gold bars, which are produced for retail as an investment. The sizes of South Korean gold bars include 10g, 50g, 100g, 500g and 1kg.

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What parts of Korea does Korean gold come from?

South Korea is the 49th biggest exporter of gold. It exports to Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Thailand. Additionally, South Korean gold is imported from Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada –  making South Korea the 29th biggest importer of gold. 

In museums and the Treasury 

South Korean museums and the South Korean Treasury house gold and silver artifacts from the country’s dynasties. The city of Gyeongju is known for its 16,333 artifacts and 31 of the country’s 319 national treasures. Some of the most important are the gold crowns of Silla, taken from the gold crown tomb circa the 5th and 6th centuries. 

In South Korean homes

South Koreans have a history of helping their country pay off debts with their own, personal stashes of gold jewelry and ornaments. In Korea, like many other places across the world, gold jewelry is not only a wearable status symbol or pretty ornamentation meant to dazzle the eyes , it also provides its owner with financial freedom. During the 1997 financial crisis we spoke of (above) it was estimated that South Korean individuals and families owned roughly $20 billion in gold. We are talking about $20 billion worth of gold jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, rings, statues, ornaments, coins, gold bars, medals, pendants, religious items, heirloom military items and much more. Much of this gold held sentiment and memory even more valuable than the actual gold. It is estimated that each South Korean donated $640 in their own personal gold collection toward the cause.

How many karats are in Korea gold?

South Korean gold is generally high in purity: 24 karat, 22 karat and as low as 21 karat. It will usually be at least within the 22 karat range.

How can you tell if it's Korean gold?

Korean gold should be within the 22 karat range. You may see a stamp on the gold piece, marking its purity. For example you may see “.999”.  To see if the gold is real you can test it with a magnet. Real gold will not be attracted to the magnet because real gold is not magnetic.

Common types of Korean gold jewelry

South Korean gold jewelry is generally high in quality and purity (again, usually within the 22 karat range). Both gold and silver are incorporated in South Korean jewelry pieces as well as gemstones, including amethyst, amber, coral, jade and pearl. Popular pieces include necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Pendants incorporating flowers are also popular as are ornamental and decorative pieces like swords.  Let’s take a look at some interesting South Korean gold jewelry pieces of long ago: 
  • Ttolchcham – an oval or rectangular pin incorporating jade in the design of a flower or butterfly. 
  • The Phoenix – a bird containing prestigious symbolism: peace and honor; incorporated on hair pins, pendants and buttons. 
  • Tanchu buttons – long ago buttons were purely ornamental and used merely as an embellishment. These buttons came in various shapes, including flowers and butterflies. 
  • Dragon shaped items – whether pins or other ornamental jewelry, this shape was meant to be worn by supreme leaders. 

Can you sell Korean gold? 

Yes, you can sell your gold from South Korea because this type of gold is highly valuable due to its purity. If you’re thinking of selling any of your South Korean gold jewelry or coins, bring them to a knowledgeable dealer who will properly value your pieces.

Can you buy Korean gold? 

Yes, South Korean gold coins and bars are an excellent investment opportunity. Additionally, South Korean gold jewelry can be an excellent investment or just a beautiful, wearable piece. You don’t have to travel all the way to South Korea to find these gold pieces – you can buy them from the comfort of your home.

Choose Crown Gold Exchange

Why choose us? Crown Gold Exchange holds the utmost respect for you and your valuables. When you visit one of our locations, we make sure that you feel welcome, and that your property is protected. We use industry-standard equipment to ensure accurate measurement of your valuables, and we have a special process to keep your valuables safe. Our accuracy enables us to offer you top dollar, and we have several different payment methods available for your convenience, so you won’t be waiting around to get paid.

Crown Gold Exchange will purchase any kind of gold you bring us, including 8-karat, 10-karat, 14-karat, 18-karat, 21-karat, 22-karat, 24-karat, or anything else. We buy gold bars, gold bullion, gold jewelry and some gold plated items like pocket watches. If you happen to be in possession of an exclusive piece made by a top gold designer such as Cartier, Tiffany, Rolex, or Patek Philippe, we will often pay more than the weight of the item. Such special pieces often command a higher price on the secondary market due to their superior craftsmanship

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