Gold is a valuable material in the world today. As the market fluctuates, there is a chance that you could have a very valuable piece of gold in your hands. This precious metal is extremely important in the world’s economy and something that should be identified for its value. So, how do you know the value of gold jewelry that you may encounter in life? There are various markings that can help you to determine the authenticity of your jewelry and the linked value associated with that piece of jewelry.
Gold Jewelry Markings
There are several types of markings that are found on gold jewelry and it is imperative that you are aware of the markings that are found so that you can determine the actual value and authenticity. When purchasing you want to be sure that the piece you are buying is authentic and worth the sale price.
Karats- Understanding the karat rating is imperative when purchasing or selling gold jewelry. Commonwealth countries use the “ct” designation on their gold jewelry and it is interchangeable with a “K” or “kt” stamp. 24 karat gold is the purest form of gold that can be found. If the number gets lower, the purity of the gold is less. Many gold jewelry items are mixed with harder metals to help keep the gold jewelry sturdy. 22 karat gold has 2 parts of a hard metal and 22 parts of pure gold. Many believe that pure gold is too soft and not a good idea for everyday jewelry use. Pure gold is used for gold-plating and gold leaf design. As the gold is diluted with a different metal, the color turns from a deep yellow to a much paler yellow color. 18 karat gold is considered the ideal amount of gold and hard metal to use for jewelry. It is extremely durable and still a high quality piece of gold. 18 karat gold jewelry will tarnish and need to be polished more often than a harder mixture, like a 14 karat gold blend. 10 karat gold is the lowest blend of gold allowable in gold jewelry and anything lower is not recommended for wear or to be marked as gold jewelry.
Stamp- The National Gold and Silver Stamp Act of 1906 requires gold and silver jewelry to be stamped with the gold purity. There are also markings in the hundreds that will show exactly how much gold is present in the mixture, like “750” would mean that the gold is 75% pure gold. “916” is the almost the highest gold stamp, with 91.6% gold, or 22K. “1000” is the highest amount of gold that can be achieved, otherwise known as 24K. IF you are not sure of the amount, take the number you find in the hundreds and divide it by 1000, then multiply it by 24 and it will give you the amount in karats. “HGE, RGP, and EP” is another stamp that may be present indicating heavy gold electroplating, rolled gold plating, and electroplating. These stamps let you know the jewelry is not pure or solid, but that it is just plated with gold on the outside. There may be import or export stamps as well, especially in old pieces from Europe. Many times the antique gold jewelry will have wear and the markings may not be visible. You can always take a piece like this to the jewelers for them to appraise.
Brand- Many jewelers will mark their jewelry with their brand logo. This is important because it can truly authenticate the piece and even add value to the item. If there is no logo or markings, a jeweler is a great option to authenticate the piece based on wear patterns and gold tests. The brand can truly increase the value if it is historical or from a highly reputable and sought after brand.
Gold markings are extremely important to decipher in a piece of jewelry. There are many different gold blends with alloys that make them stronger and more useful in jewelry. If the gold is pure, it is usually too soft to use in jewelry and not sturdy enough to handle everyday wear. Mixing the gold with alloys increases its strength and makes it more valuable in the jewelry world. Make sure to check the markings and stamps to identify the value of the gold and the purity. If the markings are worn and not legible, consider visiting a jeweler and learn how to identify gold jewelry markings that can determine its value and purity.