What is a Troy Ounce?

Posted - March 21, 2022
What is a Troy Ounce?

Whether you’re a new bullion investor or a veteran collector, you should be familiar with the Troy Ounce. Nearly every bullion product you purchase will be measured using this unit, and the Troy Ounce comes with an impressive history of application. Strangely enough, it’s not common to see any product outside of bullion measured in terms of its Troy weight. If you’ve ever wondered why this is the case, then you have come to the right place. 

Many new bullion investors struggle to get familiar with the Troy measurement system. How does Troy weight compare to the measurements we use in daily life? Is a Troy Ounce the same as a regular ounce? Why are Troy ounces used almost exclusively to measure gold, silver, and other precious metal content? Today, we’ll be walking you through everything the discerning bullion customer needs to know about Troy Ounces. 

Navigating the world of bullion products can be complicated. For people who want to establish a solid portfolio of gold, silver, or platinum, a basic understanding of Troy Ounces is an absolute must. Our intention is that even brand new bullion investors can use this guide to develop all the knowledge they need in order to purchase bullion with confidence. 

What is a Troy Ounce?

Put most simply, Troy Ounces are the way that we measure the gold content of a given bullion product. You’ll very rarely find any gold or silver coin, bar, or round measured in non-Troy measurements. Troy Ounces are only one of several units of measurement originating from the Troy Weight system. Understanding how different measurement systems work is relatively simple. For example, consider the difference between the U.S. and Metric systems. Neither system is inaccurate; both provide us with an understanding of the weight of the things we choose to measure. 

But the bullion sector operates a bit differently. Instead of using U.S. or Metric units, we often weigh our gold and silver items using their Troy Weight. Troy Ounces can be abbreviated in two main ways: t oz or oz t. Both are acceptable and often used interchangeably. Some people mistakenly believe that the Troy Ounce represents a unit of weight significantly different from the Imperial ounce. This is not the case. 

Troy Ounce Versus Ounce

In reality, a Troy Ounce is equal to 1.09714 Imperial ounces. This difference in weight is negligible when applied to many regular items we weigh in daily life. A difference of .09714 ounces can make a great deal of difference when applied to something as valuable as gold, silver, or platinum. Still, you should know that the Troy Ounce is generally close in weight to the regular Imperial ounce. 

To be more direct, the Troy Ounce is about 2.75 grams heavier than an Imperial ounce. Imagine buying gold and receiving 2.75 grams less than you intended to buy. With the current price of gold, this would be a difference of around $145! When the price of gold is higher, the difference between an Imperial ounce and a Troy Ounce is even more economically significant. 

You should understand the difference between a Troy Ounce and a regular Imperial Ounce. If a bullion seller lists their product in ounces instead of Troy Ounces, you might be led to believe that you’re getting more gold than you actually are. This is sometimes a trick used by shady bullion dealers, but it could also just be an oversight on the company’s website. In either case, knowing the difference in mass between a Troy Ounce and an Imperial ounce can save you headaches – and cash! 

History of the Troy Ounce

The history of the Troy Ounce actually originated in the Middle Ages. The term “Troy” is derived from “Troyes,” a town in France. Merchants in this town often used Troy Ounces to conduct their trade. According to some historians, the actual history of the Troy Ounce goes back even further – all the way to Ancient Rome. Romans traded using bronze bars that were broken into twelve equal pieces. They called each one of these pieces “uncia,” which eventually became “ounce.” Although the Romans were unlikely to have been as particular about their weighing systems as we are today, each “uncia” was about 31.1 grams in weight. 

When Troyes’ merchants were working to develop a standardized measurement system for their bullion units, historians argue that they attempted to replicate the system used by the Romans. Despite these origins of the Troy Ounce as a term, the actual Troy Ounce as we know it only became a thing in England, under the rule of King Henry II in the 1500s. Henry II was born in France and wanted to pay homage to his ancestry by standardizing coinage measurements using the Troy Weight system.

The Troy Ounce has been used as the official form of measurement for British bullion since 1527. The United States took a bit longer to adopt this system. This is understandable, considering that it would be at least a couple centuries before the American coinage legacy would be officially established by the Treasury. The U.S. adopted the Troy Ounce as its standardized measurement unit for gold and silver in 1828. 

Other forms of measurement exist within the Troy Weight system. But the Troy Ounce is the only unit which has stood the test of time. At one point, the grain, the pennyweight, and the Troy Pound were used to measure bullion. Could you imagine ordering and buying a pennyweight of gold? 

To be fair, historians still argue over the precise origins of the Troy Ounce as a system of measurement. One thing we can be sure of: this unit of measuring mass has persisted for hundreds of years within the bullion sector. 

Why Use Troy Ounces? 

Why should we use Troy Ounces instead of another unit of measurement for gold and silver bullion? The biggest reason is standardization. Bullion trade is a uniquely global enterprise. Some sources estimate that the world trades around 27 million Troy Ounces of gold per day. Gold is shipped to and from just about every country in the world. There are three main standardized systems of measurement used globally: System of Units (SI), the U.S. Customary System, and the British Imperial System. Minor systems are used in some parts of the world. 

Differences between these systems of measurement can make it difficult for traders to find common ground. It is intuitively necessary that traders find some way to standardize the way they communicate about weights. We discussed earlier how it would feel for an individual buyer to receive 2.5 grams less gold than they anticipated receiving. But imagine that you’re an organization purchasing a thousand Troy Ounces of gold. $145 in price difference quickly turns into $145,000 if a seller inappropriately labels their Troy Ounces as Ounces. 

Buyers of gold and silver could also quickly become confused if companies failed to find a standardized way to list measurements. When bullion companies trade bullion with one another, they often trade significant sums. How complicated could things get if every trade involved converting different units of gold? Again, mistakes in a world without Troy Ounces could get very complicated very quickly. 

But why not just accept one of the existing units of measurement and go with that? Surely, bullion companies could just agree to list their prices in regular ounces, right? Absolutely! The truth is that part of the reason why everyone in the bullion sector uses Troy Ounces comes down to tradition. Troy Ounces have been used for many centuries as a unit of measurement, and the system has been used officially by both the U.S. Mint and the British Royal Mint for over two centuries. 

So the reason why we use Troy Ounces comes down to tradition and history more than anything else. After so many decades of using Troy Ounces as a standardized form of measurement, why stop now? 

How to Convert to Troy Ounces

Still confused about how to convert to Troy Ounces? We explained earlier in this article that one Troy Ounce is .09714 regular ounces. But it can still be difficult to make comparisons between the Troy Ounce and other units of measurement. For example, do you know how many Troy Ounces are in a pound? What about the number of grams in a Troy Ounce? The good news: you don’t need to know! We’ll include a chart below to explain how Troy Ounces convert to other popular weight measurement units. But the easiest way to convert Troy Ounces to other units is to use Google. You can simply google “convert to troy ounces.” Google will generate a calculator that can convert between Troy Ounces and basically every other mass measurement unit. 

But if you’d like to know how Troy Ounces stack up to other common units of measurement, check out this chart: 

1 Troy Ounce

1.09714 Ounces

1 Troy Ounce

0.0685714 Pound

1 Troy Ounce

31.1035 Grams

1 Troy Ounce

.0311035 Kilogram

1 Troy Ounce

.00489796 Stone

There are a few reasons why you’d want to convert between Troy Ounces and ounces, pounds, grams, or kilograms. The most common reason is that you want to figure out the kind of deal you’re getting. Gold and silver are sold in relation to spot price. Spot price is the current market value of gold. Spot prices are almost invariably listed in terms of Troy Ounces. Some dealers might list their gold and silver products in grams, pounds, or kilograms. This is especially common with smaller dealers. 

If you want to find out how close a dealer’s price is to spot, you’ll need to convert the weight of the gold product to its weight in Troy Ounces. For example, consider that a dealer is offering to sell you one kilogram of gold bullion. If you know the spot price of gold in Troy Ounces, then you need to find out how many Troy Ounces are in the kilogram of gold you plan to buy. For a kilogram, this number is 32.1507. By multiplying the current spot price of gold by this number, you’ll find out the approximate spot price of a kilogram of gold. 

For most individuals interested in purchasing gold, the struggle is the opposite. It’s common to want to buy smaller sums of gold, especially if you’re new to gold investments. However, sellers generally price smaller gold denominations higher over spot than they would larger pieces. A kilogram of gold will usually be much closer to the spot price of gold bullion than a gram of gold. Because of this, you’ll want to convert smaller denominations into Troy Ounces in order to figure out whether or not you’re getting a fair deal. 

It’s very important that you know how to convert between Troy Ounces and other units of measurement. Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking to score a gram of gold bullion or a seasoned investor wanting to purchase an entire kilogram of gold or platinum, proper conversion is an easy way to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. 

Final Thoughts: Measurements in Gold Bullion

Gold is usually measured in Troy Ounces. The history behind this important gold bullion term is quite impressive; Troy Ounces go all the way back to the Ancient Romans, although the modern usage of the unit really started with Henry II of Great Britain. We still use this system of measurement today. And Troy Ounces are extremely important to the bullion sector. For small purchases, the difference between an ounce and a Troy Ounce may not mean very much. But when it comes to larger purchases, knowing the difference between the two can mean thousands of dollars. 

Feel free to consult our Troy Ounce conversion table whenever you need to convert between Troy Ounces and other units of measurement. And as always, be sure to contact Hero Bullion with any questions you might have!

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Hero Bullion provides an environment that is informative and safe for those looking to own physical gold and silver bullion as an investment. We love helping folks at all stages throughout their bullion journey making progress towards acheiving their financial goals. Whether you are a seasoned bullion investor or brand new to the game of gold and silver bullion ownership, we're here to help and serve you in any way we can.