Ring Stamp Meanings:
If you are considering selling your gold, it may be helpful for you to be armed with a little information before you venture out.
If you know what the metal stamps on your jewelry mean, you will have a way to know if the buyer is being honest with you. There are many stamps on jewelry. These stamps are usually found on the inside of a ring, on or near the clasp of a chain or bracelet, on the back of a pendant, and on the back or even the posts of earrings.
Stamps are used by manufacturers to give information about the jewelry’s manufacturer, designer, gem carat weight, and metal purity. The most important stamp when selling gold is the stamp which identifies the metal and purity of the metal. This article deals with metal stamps.
Here is a list of the most common metal stamps and what they stand for:
Karat with a “k” or “kt” is a measure of the purity of a gold alloy.
- 10k stands for 10 karat gold
- 14k stands for 14 karat gold
- 18k stands for 18 karat gold
- 20k stands for 20 karat gold
- 22k stands for 22 karat gold
- 24k stands for 24 karat gold (pure gold)
A small “p” after a gold stamp stands for plumb (which means “exactly”)
The stamps above indicate purity in "parts." 24k gold is pure gold. 18k gold is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts alloy (totalling 24 "parts" altogether. 14k is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts alloy. A recent ruling by the Federal Trade Commission declared that metal with any gold at all can be called "gold." This means that we may start seeing 6k, 1k, etc. in stamps. These numbers would express the parts, out of 24, that are pure gold.
- .417 stands for 10 karat gold
- .585 stands for 14 karat gold
- .750 stands for 18 karat gold
- .833 stands for 20 karat gold
- .999 stands for 24 karat gold (pure gold)
To explain the numbers above a little bit better, they are actually percentages of pure gold. For example, .585 means that the ring is 58.5% pure gold and the remaining, unstamped, percentage (41.5%) indicates the amount of alloy in the piece of jewelry. Since pure gold is very soft, alloy (other stronger metals) are mixed with the gold to provide strength which is needed to hold diamonds and gems and resist bending and scratching.
The higher the karat, the more pure and soft the gold is.
Other common stamps and their meanings:
- "D" stands for Diamond
- "ct" stands for the measure of weight used for gemstones. One carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram (200 milligrams). Stones are measured to the nearest hundredth of a carat. A hundreth of a carat is also called a point. Thus a .10 carat stone can be called either 10 points, or 1/10 of a carat. Small stones like .05, and .10ct are most often referred to by point designations.
- "PLAT" stands for Platinum
- "PT" stands for Platinum
- "Pd" stands for Palladium
- "900" or "950" stands for platinum (90 or 95% pure platinum mixed with alloy)
- "10%irid-platinum" stands for platinum alloyed with 10% iridium
- "S.S.", "Steel", "St. Steel" all stand for stainless steel
- "Sterling" "S. Silver", "SS", and "925"stand for Sterling silver ( which can be plated with gold)
- "silver" stands for silver of unknown purity, usually below 92.5% pure
- "G.F." stands for gold filled (a term which means gold plating on a base metal)
- "G.P." stands for gold plated (over a base metal)
- "G.E." stands for Gold Electroplate (over a base metal)
- A gold stamp (ex:14k) followed by "H.G.E." means the jewelry has a heavy gold electroplated finish, but is a base metal underneath.
- "CW" stand for the Carat Weight of the Diamonds or Gems in the ring
You may see many other stamps in jewelry. Stamps that are not covered in the article, especially stamps with letters or symbols, indicate the name of the designer or the manufacturing company. These images are called “Hallmarks” and can sometimes be researched under various online hallmark reference sites. Unfortunately, most hallmarks are no longer registered in online catalogues and are not searchable. Hallmarks do not tell anything about the nature of the metal and are not useful when selling precious metals for metal price. These are used in selling antique jewelry and have nothing to do with metal. Consult an antique jewelry resale site for more inforation on these hallmark stamps.
If you are selling your jewelry, ask the buyer to let you use his loupe (the magnifying eye piece that he inspects your jewelry with) so that you can see these stamps for yourself. It is important that you know the decimal stamps used to identify gold so that you are not led to believe that your gold is less pure than it really is.
At Thollot’s, we are willing to show you these stamps and help you understand what they mean. We believe that when we educate you, we empower and protect you, and we hope that in doing so, we will earn your trust.