What does .999+ mean for precious metals?

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In the context of precious metals, the term ".999+" refers to the fineness or purity of the metal. It indicates that the metal is of extremely high purity, with only a minimal amount of impurities present.  

Because precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum are naturally occurring elements, they are rarely found in their purest form in nature. They often contain impurities such as other metals or elements. The highest level of purity achievable for these metals is usually .999 (or 99.9%) pure, meaning that only a small number of impurities remains. The purity or fineness of a metal is typically expressed as a decimal fraction (for example, a fineness of 0.999 means that the metal is 99.9% pure).

The term ".999+" is commonly used in the precious metals industry to indicate a high level of purity beyond the standard 0.999 fineness. It assures buyers that the metal they are purchasing is of exceptional quality and purity, suitable for investment, bullion, or other high-value purposes. For example, the Royal Canadian Mint considers their Gold Maple Leaf coins as .9999 fine (99.99% pure), which exceeds the .999+ level. Other mints have their own specifications and standards for purity. To verify the purity of a precious metal item, it is often assayed and marked with a hallmark: a symbol or stamp that indicates the metal's purity and sometimes its origin.

Even though precious metals with a purity of .999+ are considered of extremely high quality, achieving absolute purity of 100% is technically challenging and rarely practical or necessary. The small amount of impurities present in .999+ metals does not significantly impact their value or performance in most applications.

When purchasing precious metals, particularly for investment or collection purposes, we recommend looking for reputable sources, such as government mints or trusted dealers like Bullion.com, who can provide proper authentication and guarantee the purity of their products.