• Guide to Stamps and Inscriptions on Gold Jewelry

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    Hallmark on a gold ring

    Most authentic gold jewelry is stamped or etched with some sort of indicator. These jewelry inscriptions can be very hard for the lay person to decipher. In fact, many professionals are not sure what some of them mean because these marks are not as standardized as they should be. However, there are some common ones which make up the vast majority of the gold stamps.

     

    Authentic gold jewelry should have a stamp to indicate the purity of the gold in the piece. This mark can be in several different formats. For example: 585, 14kt and 14K all mean 14 karat gold. All of these formats are easy to understand, except possibly the 3 digit number format.

     

    3 Digit Numbers

    These numbers tell how pure the gold is. They are in the thousandth, so if you want to know the purity percentage, just move the decimal point in one space. For example: 750 is 75.0% pure gold (or 18 karat)

     

    Here’s an easy chart:

    999.9, 999 24 carat; also called “three nines fine”
    995
    990 23 carat;also called “two nines fine”
    916, 917 22 carat
    833 20 carat
    750 18 carat
    625 15 carat
    585, 583, 575 14 carat
    417 10 carat; minimum standard for U.S. gold
    375 9 carat
    333 8 carat; minimum standard for gold in Germany after 1884

     


    Hallmarks

    Beyond just telling you the karat purity of the piece, the jewelry stamp will often have another standard marking to give you more information.

     

    GF Gold Filled
    GP Gold Plated
    P Plumb Gold (guaranteed to be at least the amount of karats on the stamp
    KP Karat Plumb
    Pd Palladium
    PT Platinum
    PLAT Platinum
    Silver Sterling Silver
    S. Silver Sterling Silver
    Sterling Silver Sterling Silver
    SS Stainless Steel
    Steel Stainless Steel
    St Steel Stainless Steel
    cw Carat Weight (usually refers to the karats of the diamond or gems in the piece)
    CZ Cubic Zirconia (the gems are cubic zirconia and not diamonds)
    SOL Solitaire Diamond
    6,7,8… Some relatively low number. This usually indicates the ring size.

     

    Jeweller’s Marks

    A lot of jewelry will have several stamps or marks. Often there is one stamp to indicate the purity of the gold (“14K”, as mentioned above). The purity mark can be accompanied by a second mark called a maker’s mark or a jeweller’s stamp. These are custom stamps or engravings placed in jewelry by whomever manufactured it. Sometimes they are letters or initials, and sometimes they are ornate icons (like a heart or a bell, for example). There is a huge number of unique jeweller’s marks. Matching these stamps back to the original manufacturer can be extremely difficult. Your best tool to do this is Google. There are a number of decent websites that have listings of some of the hallmarks. But be prepared, it will probably take some digging!

    • Sir ,
      Could you please explaine to me what is a yellow gold SZ 7.25?

    • Maria,
      Sounds like it is a size 7.25.

    • Hey I have a bracelet that has two stamps. One is ‘ PPL ‘ and the other is ‘9ct’ could you please tell me what the PPL stamp means? Thankyou

    • Hi James,
      I’m not familiar with the “PPL” stamp. Platinum is generally denoted with “PLAT” or “PT” and palladium is usually “PALL” or “PD”

      It’s possible that the “PPL” is the jeweler or manufacturer stamp. I’m not sure who that would indicate, but maybe it’s a start. Wish I could be more help!

    • Please could you tell me what a Stamp of a Bell with R letter inside it means on 14K Bracelet and does it increase the value in any way.

      Thank you.

    • This stamp is not one that I’m familiar with. I did come across this person that has a piece of jewelry with the same stamp on it. You could try posting a reply to see if the original poster ever got her question answered.

      Whether the stamp increases the value or not really depends on who the stamp ends up being from. The look of the piece in the link above is interesting. It sounds like it has some distinct features, so you never know, you may have an exciting investigation in front of you. Good luck!

    • my ring says what does this mean?

      and another, a neckace i found has 18k stamped on its clamp,..but when i tried it on a magnet, it stuck to the magnet,..does this mean its fake? thanks a bunch!

    • Hi Starr,

      First, the magnet test is not at all conclusive. If your gold is not pure gold, there is a chance it will be attracted to a magnet. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “fake”. Also, your piece could be gold plated. This doesn’t mean it’s totally fake, it’s just not pure gold. One option you could try is the nitric acid test. There’s more info on that here: How To Know If Your Gold Jewelry Is Real

      However, the bottom line is if you think your necklace could be worth some money, bring it to a professional and get is appraised.

    • I have a ring that says AR 950 and 19k. What does the AR950 mean?

    • Hi Ana,

      There is a jeweler named Arezzo that uses “AR” as their stamp. The 950 is curious. That number is often used for platinum or silver content. Is your ring composed of two different metals?

      A trusted local jeweler could take a first hand look at your piece and give you more accurate info.

    • Hi there – I have a bracelet that has the follwoing stamp – 9 (in a square box) then .575 (in another rectangle box) – The bracelet weighs 9 or 9.5 gram and I am not sure whether this is 9k or 14 k – does the first “9” relate to a weight possibly and it’s 14k? Or is it a 9k but with a slightly higher gold content or something?
      Thanks

    • You can never be 100% sure without bringing it in to a professional. However, my best guess would be that your bracelet is 57.5% pure gold, or 14 karat. The nine in a square box could be the weight or possibly a jeweler’s stamp. A professional local jeweler should be able to tell you for sure though.

    • I have a gold necklace that is stamped with GF 1/20 10k. What does that stamp mean? Thanks a million

    • Starr, when a magnet picks up the clasp it does not mean it is fake or plated at all. pretty much every clasp on either a necklace or bracelet will be magnetic due to the fact that there is a little tiny spring inside made out of steel

    • Rae – GF stands for “Gold filled”, which means that this piece is plated with gold and has some other metal underneath. The “1/20” means that 1/20th of the total weight (or 5%) is real gold. The 10k simply stands for 10 karat, which is the purity of the gold plating.

      The full translation of this stamp would be: “Gold plated jewelry with 5% of the piece’s total weight consisting of 10 karat gold, and the other 95% consisting of sterling silver, brass, or some other less valuable material”

    • Can you tell me what 926 CHINA on my bracelet means and 825 on my moms antique ring means?

    • 926 CHINA should mean 22kt gold from a Chinese jeweler (92.6% gold purity). 825 is generally used on lower quality sterling silver, however it can occasionally be used on gold pieces. It indicates 82.5% purity of whatever metal it is made of. Since this number is most often used in regards to sterling silver, you should look carefully to see if it is just plated gold with silver underneath.

      Either way, you should either test your jewelry to see if it is real or bring it to a trusted jeweler to make the most accurate determination.

    • I have a stamp on an earring. IDK what it means, the stamp is 14K and under that is an M???

    • @Jennifer – Sorry for the delay. The 14K stands for 14 karat which is about 58% pure gold. The “M” stamp could be a couple different jewelers. One of the more notable possibilities would be I. Michelson. Take a look at this website to see some of the possibilities for who the “M” stamp might identify… Jewelry stamps starting with M

      Wish I could give you a more definite answer. Tracking down jewelry stamps can be difficult and time consuming, but hopefully this gives you a good lead to follow =)

    • I have a stamp on a brooch 750 558AL, are you familiar with it?

    • I have a chain that is only marked MB, I want to know whether is a real gold or not.

    • Temmy, try a couple of the methods in this article:

    • Douglas – The 750 should mean 18kt gold. The 558AL could stand for a number of things. Does the brooch have any other metals in it (maybe aluminum)?

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