troy ounce

The troy ounce (oz t) is a unit of imperial measure. In the present day it is most commonly used to gauge the mass of precious metals. One troy ounce is currently defined as exactly 0.0311034768 kg or 31.1034768 g. One troy ounce is equivalent to approximately 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces. There are 12 troy ounces in a troy pound, and 14.5833 troy ounces in an avoirdupois pound. The troy ounce is part of the troy weights system, many aspects of which were indirectly derived from the Roman monetary system. The Romans used bronze bars of varying weights as currency. An aes grave weighed equal to 1 pound. One twelfth of an aes grave was called an uncia, or in English an “ounce”. Later standardization would change the ounce to 1/16 of a pound (the avoirdupois ounce), but the troy ounce, which is 1/12 of a troy pound (note that a troy pound is lighter than an avoirdupois pound), has been retained for the measure of precious metals. At 480 grains, the troy ounce is heavier than the avoirdupois ounce, which weighs 437 1/2 grains (exact by definition), about 10 percent more than the avoirdupois ounce, which is 28.349523125 g (exact). To maintain purity standards and common measures across time, the troy ounce was retained over the avoirdupois ounce in the weighing and pricing of precious metals (for example gold, platinum, silver). Likewise, the grain, identical in both the troy and avoirdupois systems, is still used to measure arrow and arrowhead weights in archery along with projectile (bullet) and propellant (powder) weights in ballistics. The troy ounce and grain were also common to the apothecaries’ system long used in medicine, but have been largely replaced by milligrams.

Written by
Nathan Tarrant
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Written by Nathan Tarrant