Gold is a popular component of all types of jewellery. White gold consists of gold mixed with a white alloy, usually nickel or palladium. It can sometimes closely resemble other metals, such as platinum and sterling silver. To determine if your jewellery is made of white gold look there are several hallmarks to look for. (Yellow-gold jewellery can also be distinguished by its hallmarks.)
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Magnifying glass
Use a magnifying glass to look for hallmarks that indicate your jewellery is genuine solid gold. Look on the inside of rings and on the clasps of bracelets and necklaces or small metal tags dangling from the clasps.
Identify 22-karat white gold by the “22K” mark, which indicates that jewellery is 91.6 per cent pure gold, or 22 parts pure gold out of 24 (22-karat gold jewellery can also be stamped with “916” or “917”). An “18K” mark means white-gold jewellery is 75 per cent pure gold, or 18 parts pure gold out of 24 (“750” and “18KP” marks also indicate 18-karat gold jewellery). White-gold jewellery marked “14K” is 53.8 per cent pure gold, or 14 parts pure gold out of 24. Other marks that indicate 14K jewellery are “585” and “14KP.” White-gold jewellery that is 10 carat gold will be marked “10K,” which indicates jewellery is 41.6 per cent pure gold, or 10 parts pure gold out of 24. This jewellery may also be marked “417,” “16” or “10KP.”
Identify platinum jewellery by the "950 Platinum” mark, which indicates that jewellery is 95 per cent pure platinum or 950 parts pure platinum out of 1000 (you can also look for these other marks: “Plat 950,” “Pt950,” “PLAT,” “PT,” “950 Plat,” or “950Pt”). Jewellery marked “900 Platinum" is 90 per cent pure platinum, or 900 parts pure platinum out of 1000. These marks also indicate this type of jewellery: “900 Plat,” “Plat 900,” “Pt900” and “900Pt.”
Identify jewellery as sterling silver, not white gold, when it is marked as “925 Sterling Silver,” “.925 Sterling Silver” or “Sterling Silver.”
Tips and warnings
- Since white gold always consists of yellow gold mixed with a white alloy, white gold will never be marked 24 carat. Twenty-four carat gold is 100 per cent pure gold, and is always yellow.
- “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 white-gold jewellery, the “P” mark stands for “plumb.” Plumb is an old-fashioned term that means the purity level of the gold is precisely what is stamped on the label, no more, no less.
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