Anyone with interest in fine jewelry will know that all pieces of jewelry come with unique codes or markings. These are ‘hallmarks’ that denote vital information about jewelry pieces. From metal content to purity to manufacturer’s identity – a lot can be said with small hallmarks. All jewelry owners must understand the markings on their jewelry. All they require is a magnifying glass and a bit of research. Then, they can live peacefully knowing whether any piece in their jewelry collections is inauthentic or fake. Here’s a brief jewelry markings guide to get you started –
Hallmarks Denote Metal Content
Some of the most popular jewelry marks are designed to denote the metal contents of each jewelry piece. For instance, sterling silver, an alloy of pure silver and copper, is hard to distinguish from pure silver. Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver (Ag), so all jewelry pieces made of this material are marked with the number “925.” Gold jewelry features numbers, followed by the letter “k” or the word “karat.” Jewelry pieces that mostly contain base metals but have golden sheets/surfaces are hallmarked as “Gold-Filled” or “GF.” Similarly, the hallmark “Vermeil” is found on sterling silver jewelry items with gold plating.
Hallmarks Denote Purity
If an alloy contains less than 92.5% pure silver, it isn’t pure enough to be called sterling silver. Similarly, jewelry pieces made of pure silver come with markings that say “999” or “.999.” These numbers are essentially saying that the jewelry pieces are made of 99.9% pure silver. Usually, these metal content stamps are found near the clasps on bracelets, on the inside regions of rings, and the backs of brooches, earrings, etc. If you’ve purchased actual pure silver jewelry or sterling silver jewelry, your jewelry items probably bear either of these two markings. The hallmark “Plat” on platinum jewelry denotes 95% platinum content (the platinum jewelry is 95% pure). Similarly, pure palladium jewelry pieces feature the “Pall” or “palladium” hallmark.
The marks stamped inside rings also serve legal purposes. Jewelry manufacturers are not legally obliged to inform consumers about the precious metal content of each jewelry piece they sell. For instance, a jewelry manufacturer can’t mention long lists of alloys on small rings. Instead, they use these special hallmarks and the retailers’ trademarks to demonstrate the authenticity of the items they sell. So, shoppers shouldn’t forget to look for these marks the next time they go jewelry shopping!