Gold & Jewelry Stamps, Markings And Inscriptions
Fine jewelry (and costume jewelry) are both stamped (or marked or inscribed) to help you identify the metal whether it be gold, platinum, or gold plated.
This blog post includes a table to help you identify what the stamp means and how you can use it for an instant quote for the value of your jewelry.
The stamp is an important tool in knowing if your piece is fine jewelry or costume. I define fine jewelry as items that are made from precious metals (think gold, silver, platinum, and palladium) and precious gemstones (diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and more). Costume jewelry is crafted from less expensive materials such as base metals, beads, or imitation gemstones. Both types of jewelry have their place. Costume jewelry can be fun and less stressful; fine jewelry is what really has value.
Within the jewelry industry, most companies abide by an unwritten rule to use a gold stamp or metal stamp. I have seen beautiful pieces of jewelry from Thailand with intricate designs and amazing craftsmanship which bear the same stamp as used in most workshops in the United States. Fine designers in Italy and across the rest of Europe, use gold stamps, so consumers know what metal they are buying. Even costume jewelry manufactures stamp their jewelry. How well this rule is followed surprises me.
Even though most jewelry is stamped with the metal and purity, I should say that the stamp does wear down. I buy and sell a lot of estate jewelry some of which has been worn. Beautiful gold jewelry with decades of wear will not have the stamp as it has rubbed out, but chances are, at one point, it was stamped. If the stamp is still there, you can find out the metal type and weight and know the value instantly.
The picture here shows a metal stamp in a ring made in the shop. The stamp is the final step in the jewelry making process. The jeweler hammers the stamp against the piece (in this case a ring). In this case, we do not have a palladium stamp, so we etched PD on the ring. As you can see, the stamps should be in a place where they are not noticeable such as the inside shank of the ring. The gold stamps are often on the clasps of chains or bracelets or the back of a pendant. Earrings are stamped in various places but often on the back.
Normally adjacent to the gold stamp is a jewelers’ trademark. These trademarks go back centuries. The oldest ones I have seen are from watchmakers who repaired a pocket watch and trademarked it. Letting the world know who worked on it. Now, only the manufacturer trademarks rings.
Below is a table outlining different trademark stamps.Stamp Meaning Purity Most Common in Fine Jewelry 10K 10 Karat Gold 416/1000 or 41.6% 14K 14 Karat Gold 585/1000 or 58.5% 18K 18 Karat Gold 750/1000 or 75% 22K 22 Karat Gold 913/1000 or 91.6% PD Palladium ~100% PL or PLAT Platinum ~95% PT950 Platinum ~95% 925 Sterling Silver 925/1000 or ~92.5% Other Known Stamps 14K GF Base metal with 14 karat gold plating 0/1000 or 0% 14K GP Base metal with 14 karat gold plating 0/1000 or 0% SS Stainless Steel N/A 24K 24 Karat Gold 999/1000 or 99.9%
If you have any other questions about the gold stamps or inscriptions, please contact me or visit my Denver office.