People who often buy precious metal jewelry will definitely notice such a detail: in the corners of those jewelry, some mysterious letters and numbers are usually marked. What do they mean? why some of the jewelry don't have these stamps?
According to the regulations on the purity of precious metals and the naming method, jewelry must be stamped with corresponding characters in order to meet the specifications and be considered qualified products, otherwise the quality cannot be officially guaranteed.
Know those common marks on jewelry is very important, because as a consuming precious metal buyer, you want to know if what you're buying is real and you don't want to be swindled by fake jewelry.
1. Symbols Stamped on Jewelry: The "ID Card" of Jewelry
Not all jewelry will have stamps, such as jade bracelets and bracelets. Because it is not beautiful to mark on their surface, so to verify its authenticity, the main way is to look at the authoritative jewelry appraisal certificate.
Only jewelry made of precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper, or precious metals used to inlay jade and gemstones, will have various marks to indicate the origin, material, and content of the material.
1.1) The Benefits of the Marks on Jewelry
You will get an infinite sense of security when you find the marks, that is one of the benefits of having official stamps on jewelry.
However, even if jewelry has this stamp, it may not be 100% reassuring. Unqualified jewelry marks mainly fall into 3 situations:
- Number 1: Marking is incomplete, for example, the manufacturer code is missing;
- Number 2: The purity of the precious metal is wrongly marked.
- Number 3: When jewelry is made of of different materials or purity, they are not marked separately.
By the way, if the fineness of the precious metal is not good, it cannot be stamped!
1.2) Does All Jewelry Have Markings?
All the real gold/ silver jewelry do have a stamped purity, unless it is custom made, then it would have a jewelry mark on it. But be remembered that sometimes the marks wear off especially with vintage and antique jewelry.
If you can't find the stamp and you are not sure if it's real or not real, you can try on a hidden spot to take a little metal off with a nail file, and if the color of the metal changes, underneath you know it's plated.
1.3) Some of the Basic Places to Find the Marks
How to find the marks on jewelry that is important for your to know first. In fact, they are not always easy to find, so sometimes you need to prepare a loop for help.
The marks might be hidden, and some of the basic places marks usually are on the back, on a clasp, on an edge, or they might be on a flat area of a piece, or even on a lobster claw hook.
So just take your time, and with the help of the loop to look through the whole piece of jewelry, and try to find that all important marks. And you may also need to check the interior of a ring to find the marks.
1.4) Basic Types of Marks on Jewelry
If you're looking for different types of marks, there are 3 basic types of marks: fineness (purity), maker's mark, location mark.
- Fineness means how good the piece of jewelry is, or how pure it is of the metal. Also known as purity mark or fineness mark.
- Maker's mark means who made this jewelry: It might be an initial, a pictogram or a whole name, it all depends.
- Location mark usually indicate where the jewelry was made.
And you might typically see the most common types of marks that together are usually a maker's mark and a fineness mark.
For example, "925nc" - this is simply the symbol for 92.5 sterling silver (S925) and the maker's mark (nc). "14 k KC" - means simply 14 k gold (14K) and the maker's mark (KC).
What is the C in circle mark mean? It's usually just a copyright mark.
2. What Do the Letters and Numbers Mean on Jewelry?
Generally, the symbols stamped on jewelry contain the following types of information:
2.1). Brand Name (Logo)
It is also the trademark we talk about every day. Many jewelers will engrave their logo on their jewelry, like Cartier, which is basically engraved on the inner ring, and it must be spelled in English.
In addition to distinguishing brands, these marks can also be used to identify genuine and fake products. If the logo is printed with missing letters or a few more letters, it must be a fake.
2.2). Gem Weight
Many jewelry will be inlaid with beautiful gemstones. In addition to the weight of these gemstones, it can be found on the identification certificate, and some brands will also be directly engraved on the jewelry.
For example, the marks of diamond jewelry is divided into two parts, one part is the marks of the ring, with the information of the precious metal; the other is the marks of the diamond, with the information of the 4Cs (colour, clarity, cut, size) engraved on it.
2.3). Jewelry Composition
For jewelry, the most important meaning of the stamps is to represent what the material is and what the content is. Different materials have different corresponding codes.
Below chart is the list of some common material symbols, basically we can use these information to identify the markings on the metal jewelry:
Almost every type of precious metal jewelry will be stamped with an exclusive mark before it is placed on the sales counter. We are more familiar with PT for platinum, S925 for silver and so on.
There are also some numbers after the letters, or some other modifications before the letters. These are the identity marks of precious metal jewelry. They abbreviate the components of the jewelry into a mark.
After reading these marks, it will be clear what the material of jewelry is when choosing precious metal jewelry.
3.1) What Do Symbols Mean on Gold Jewelry?
Ordinarily the 3 most common marks you'll see on gold jewelry are 10k, 14k and 18k, occasionally we'll find their numerical counterpart which for 10k is 417 (means 41.7% pure gold), while 14k is 585 (means 58.5% pure gold), and 18k is 750 (means 75.0% pure gold).
Be sure to check for the following letters or numbers listed before or after those markings:
- G.E or G.E: Indicates that is "Heavy Gold Electroplated" or "Gold Electroplated" (about 1% gold);
- G.P: Indicates that is "Gold Plated";
- G.F: Indicates that it is "Gold Filled" (about 2-3% gold);
- 1/20: Also indicates that it is "Gold Filled" (about 2-3% gold).
Because of the few percentage of gold in these items, we cannot purchase them, hope this information will help you figure out just what you got and what you should send.
Gold is much too soft on its own, so there are several variations of gold mixes and there are what they actually stand for.
Mixing gold with other metals can change its color. Pure gold is yellow, yet gold jewelry can be white or silver, red or rose.
What does "K" mean when referring to gold?
In this case "K" stands for karat. Karat is the term used to measure the gold content or purity. Karat is usually stamped "k, K or kt" and is different from carat, carat is for measuring the weight of gems and not metals.
What's the differece between 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K Gold?
Gold at its pure form, is called “24K gold”, where K is a unit. 24K gold means it contains 99.9% pure gold. 24K gold is also called pure gold or 100% gold.
18K Gold means it has 18 out of 24 parts of gold content, 18/24= 0.750, and therefore sometimes you will see a “750” or "AU750" stamp on 18K Jewelry. 18K gold means it contains 75% pure gold.
14K Gold means it has 14 out of 24 parts of gold content, 14/24= 0.585, and therefore sometimes you will see a “585” or "AU585" stamp on 14K Jewelry. 14K gold means it contains 58.5% pure gold.
10K Gold means it has 11 out of 24 parts of gold content, 10/24= 0.417, and therefore sometimes you will see a "417" or "AU417" stamp on 10K Jewelry. 10K gold means it contains 41.7% pure gold.
The higher the proportion of gold used in the final metal, the more valuable and expensive the metal will be. For example, an 18K ring will be more expensive than a 14K ring, and a 14K ring will be more expensive than a 10K ring.
What does WGD mean on gold jewelry?
WGD is kind of like karat meaning weighted gold. For example, 18 karat weighted gold or 18k.
What does a KP stamp mean on jewelry?
This is stands for Karat Plumb and is a certification that it is at least the karat marked or better. For instance, 14kp means it is at the very least 14K or higher.
3.2) What Is the Symbol for Silver on Jewelry?
A fineness mark is a mark put on a piece of jewelry to indicate the percentage of pure silver. There are 2 types of fineness marks for silver: word marks and numeric marks.
The numerical marks usually represent the number of parts per of pure silver out of a thousand contained in a piece of silver.
S999 Fine Silver
S999 is what we call pure silver, also fine silver, which is 99.9% silver. Being a soft metal, it is unsuitable for any item or jewelry that will be subject to wear.
S925 Sterling Silver
S925 is what we call sterling silver, which is 92.5 percent sterling or 925 out of 1000 part silver, this simply means that, by weight the piece is 925 parts silver and 75 parts some other metal, usually these are copper, nickel or zinc.
The reason why pure silver is mixed with different metals is very simple: to improve its functionality. Pure silver on its own is very soft and it's not very practical to neither for jewelers to work with nor for customers to wear.
While a gold color ring stamped 925, means that the base metal is sterling silver with gold plating.
3.3) What Markings Does Platinum Jewelry Have?
Platinum is currently one of the rarest precious metals in the world, with an output equivalent to 1/20 of gold. Its purification is also a technical task, and about 10 tons of raw ore can be extracted from it to about 28 grams of pure.
It also has its own mark, which is Pt. The purity is generally divided into four types: Pt999, Pt950, Pt900 and Pt850, namely 99.9%, 95.0%, 90.0% and 85.% of platinum. The higher the number, the higher the purity.
3.4) What Is the Stamp Mark for Palladium Jewelry?
Palladium is much cheaper than platinum, but the two almost look the same. However, the stamp of palladium is Pd or palladium, which is different from platinum's Pt.
According to the purity, there are generally Pd1000, Pd950, Pd900, Pd850. It costs about the same as gold and is more brittle than white gold.
3.5) What Does ABF Mean on Jewelry?
ABF on jewelry commonly means it has an antique bronze, antique copper or antique brass finish over some other type of metal.
3.6) What Does ABP, ACF or ACP Mean on Jewelry?
ABP jewelry stamp means antique brass-plated;
ACF jewelry stamp means antique copper finished;
ACP jewelry stamp means antique copper plated.
3.7) What Does AGF, AGP, ANP, ARF, ARP, ASF or ASP Mean on Jewelry?
All of these stamps on jewelry mean they are plated over some other material as follows:
- AGF jewelry stamp - Antique gold finish;
- AGP jewelry stamp - Antique gold plated;
- ANP jewelry stamp - Antique nickel plated;
- ARF jewelry stamp - Antique rhodium finish or imiation rhodium finish; ARP jewelry stamp - Antique rhodium plated;
- ASF jewelry stamp - Antique silver finish;
- ASP jewelry stamp - Antique silver plated.
3.8) What Does "steel, s.s. or st.steel" Mean on Jewelry?
This is the mark for a stainless steel piece. Stainless steel is one of the more affordable options for people who tend to turn green as it is usually hypo-allergenic.
3.9) What Does ALE Stamped on Jewelry Mean?
This is basically the maker's mark for Pandora Jewelry. This is stamped in almost all Pandora jewelry except for maybe a few smaller pieces. “ALE” stands for Algot Enevoldsen, the father of Pandora founder, Per Enevoldsen.
Do you know other symbols stamped on the jewelry? Please kindly share with us in the comment.
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