How to read jewellery stamps or labels

Updated April 17, 2017

Jewellery can be one of life's most varied and lasting pleasures. It comes in a seemingly infinite variety of materials, forms and styles, and is often kept for several lifetimes, passed down from one generation to the next. Whether fashioned of platinum or leather, gemstones or glass beads, jewellery is, for many, an indispensable adornment. Fine jewellery is often marked with a variety of tiny symbols or words. These stamps can seem esoteric to the average person but, once understood, can reveal a lot about the jewellery itself. Use these guidelines to interpret jewellery stamps on fine metal jewellery.

Identify pure sterling silver, which contains 92.5 per cent pure fine silver, by the following stamps: ".925 Sterling Silver"; "925 Sterling Silver"; or "Sterling Silver."

Remember that a "10K" stamp means jewellery is 41.6 per cent pure gold, or 10 parts out of 24. Such gold may also be stamped "16," "417," or "10KP."

Look for a "14K" stamp to indicate jewellery that is 53.8 per cent pure gold, or 14 parts out of 24. Other stamps used to identify 14K jewellery are: "585," "585" and "14KP."

Note that "18K" means jewellery 75 per cent pure gold, or 18 parts out of 24. Such jewellery may also be stamped with the following marks: "750" or "18KP."

Know that "22K" indicates that jewellery is 91.6 per cent pure gold, or 22 parts out of 24. This jewellery can also be stamped with "916" or "917."

Find out if jewellery is 100 per cent pure gold by looking for the "24K" symbol. This jewellery may also be marked with "999."

Identify jewellery stamped "900 Platinum" as 90 per cent pure platinum, or 900 parts out of 1,000. "900 Plat," "Plat 900," "Pt900," and "900Pt" are other stamps used to identify this jewellery.

Remember that a "950 Platinum" stamp means jewellery is 95 per cent pure platinum, or 950 parts out of 1000. Such jewellery may also be stamped "PLAT," "PT," "950 Plat," "Plat 950," "Pt950," or "950Pt."


Note that the term "carat" indicates the relative purity of gold, and is usually abbreviated as "K," "k" or Kt." Keep in mind that "carat" is not the same as "carat." The latter is a unit of weight for gemstones. Know that the abbreviation "P" on gold jewellery stands for "plumb." It is an old-fashioned term that simply means that the purity level of the gold is precisely what is stamped on the label.

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About the Author

Rose Brown began writing professionally in 2003. Her articles have appeared in such Montana-based publications as "The Tributary" and "Edible Bozeman." She earned a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a master's degree in English from Montana State University. Brown has been a professional florist since 1997.