How to Identify Hallmarks on My Jewelry

Written by rose brown
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Fine jewellery is typically made with precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver. Such jewellery is stamped with hallmarks that indicate what type of metal it is made with, along with the metal's purity. These hallmarks can vary widely, and, to the untrained eye, they may seem as difficult to decipher as a foreign language. They can, however, be explained. Once you know what the hallmarks on your jewellery mean, you will be able to ascertain the materials with which it is made as well as its value. Use these guidelines to identify the hallmarks on your jewellery.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remember that a "950 Platinum" mark indicates that jewellery is 95 per cent pure platinum, or 950 parts pure platinum out of 1000. Identify this type of jewellery by any of these other marks: "Plat 950," "Pt950," "PLAT," "PT," "950 Plat," or "950Pt."

  2. 2

    Note that jewellery that is marked "900 Platinum" is 90 per cent pure platinum, or 900 parts pure platinum out of 1000. Look for any of these other marks to indicate this type of jewellery: "900 Plat," "Plat 900," "Pt900," and "900Pt."

  3. 3

    Determine if 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 carat 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 carat 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 carat 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 carat 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 carat 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 in one of the following three ways: "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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