How to identify jewelry markings

Written by rose brown
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Fine jewellery is stamped or engraved with a variety of markings to indicate the materials with which it is made and its purity. To the average person, these mysterious markings can seem like a foreign language. Knowing how to interpret them can be helpful; they tell you what type of jewellery you have in your collection and enable you to describe it to potential buyers if you wish to sell the jewellery.

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  1. 1

    Note that a "950 Platinum" mark indicates that jewellery is 95 per cent pure platinum, or 950 parts pure platinum out of 1,000. Identify this type of jewellery by any of these other marks: "Plat 950," "Pt950," "PLAT," "PT," "950 Plat" or "950Pt."

  2. 2

    Remember that jewellery marked "900 Platinum" is 90 per cent pure platinum, or 900 parts pure platinum out of 1,000. Look for any of these other marks to indicate this type of jewellery: "900 Plat," "Plat 900," "Pt900" and "900Pt."

  3. 3

    Determine whether jewellery is 100 per cent pure gold by looking for the "24K" symbol. Remember that this jewellery may also be marked with "999" symbol.

  4. 4

    Identify 22-karat gold by the "22K" mark, which indicates that jewellery is 91.6 per cent pure gold, or 22 parts pure gold out of 24. Note that 22-karat gold jewellery can also be stamped with "916" or "917."

  5. 5

    Remember that an "18K" mark means jewellery is 75 per cent pure gold, or 18 parts pure gold out of 24. Note that "750" or "18KP" marks also indicate 18-karat gold jewellery.

  6. 6

    Know that jewellery marked "14K" is 53.8 per cent pure gold, or 14 parts pure gold out of 24. Look for other marks that indicate 14K jewellery, such as "585" and "14KP."

  7. 7

    Determine whether jewellery is 10-karat gold by looking for a "10K" mark, which indicates jewellery is 41.6 per cent pure gold, or 10 parts pure gold out of 24. Remember that 10-karat gold may also be marked "417," "16" or "10KP."

  8. 8

    Note that pure sterling silver, which contains 92.5 per cent pure fine silver, will be marked as "925 Sterling Silver"; ".925 Sterling Silver" or "Sterling Silver."

Tips and warnings

  • "Carat" is not the same as "carat," which is often indicated by a "K" mark. Carat is a unit of weight for gemstones. Carat refers to the purity of gold.
  • On gold jewellery, the "P" mark stands for "plumb." Plumb is an old-fashioned term that simply means the purity level of the gold is precisely what is stamped on the label---no more, no less.

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