How to Identify Gold Marks

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you are shopping for, investing in, collecting, or selling gold jewellery, it will help to know what certain marks on the gold jewellery mean. Although not all gold jewellery is hallmarked -- because of hallmarking laws introduced in 1973 -- most gold jewellery produced in the United States now contains, at least a purity stamp.

Gently wipe down the hallmark stamp area on the jewellery, coin, or gold item with the polishing side of the jewellery polishing cloth.

Look at the hallmark, using the jeweller's loupe or magnifying glass.

Write down the gold purity mark and any other hallmarks that you see.

Note what each hallmark purity stamp means, and what each hallmark pictorial drawing refers to.

14k or 14kt is one of the most common. It means that the gold jewellery item is 58.3 per cent pure gold, and the remainder is an alloyed metal, perhaps silver, nickel, or copper.

Another common one is 10k or 10kt for ten carat gold, which is 41.7 per cent pure gold, and the remainder of the jewellery item comprises alloy metals.


Check some gold hallmark reference books. If your gold jewellery, coin, or other gold item has purity hallmarks that are uncommon, you will also need to refer to the links provided in the reference section. The higher the gold content in a gold item, the softer the item will be. That is why 10 carat or 14 carat gold is often used more than 18 carat or pure 24 carat gold.

Things You'll Need

  • Jeweller's loupe or magnifying glass
  • Jewellery polishing cloth
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About the Author

Mike Marcoe is a writer/editor with more than 19 years of experience. His clients have included the Educated Investor, the University of Wisconsin, New York Life, the "Encyclopedia of Personal Finance," "Your Retirement Watch" and "The Internet Review of Books." He works as the content manager for a financial education software firm and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin.