A guide to what jewelry stamps and what they mean – Think Engraved


A guide to what jewelry stamps mean.

Posted by Rickie Arms on

A guide to what jewelry stamps mean.

What does this jewelry stamp mean? This is one of the most common questions we get through Quora. You can fill in the blank as to what the stamp is. We will list them in a what is___ format, just as if we were answering a message. We have invested many hours of research in order to bring you this guide on the meaning of different jewelry stamps. We will start out with the most common stamps that we see and work our way through some more uncommon stamps on jewelry.

925 sterling silver stamp

What does a .925, 925 or ster stamp mean?  – These stamps stand for sterling silver. This means the piece of jewelry should be 92.5% pure silver mixed with another metal, usually copper. Silver on its own is very soft and needs another metal added to make solid jewelry.

A common question that I get is “ I have a gold ring stamped 925, what does that mean?” Much tp my dismay I have had a few people get very angry with my answer. The answer is this means that the base metal is sterling silver with gold plating. There is nothing wrong with this if you are wanting some jewelry made of high quality metals at an affordable price. The issue will normally come down to was the person selling or gifting this item to you honest? I suspect that the anger stems from the answer being no.

Other common questions are what does 925___ mean. For example what does 925nc mean or what does 14k KC mean. This is simply the symbol for 92.5 sterling silver (925) and the maker’s mark (nc). The 14k KC means simply 14k gold (14k) and the makers mark (KC). There have been thousands of maker’s marks, so if you need to know who the maker is, it will take some research to discover this.  

I’ve also seen questions like what does 14k GP mean? This means 14k gold plated, but this does not give any information as to what the base metal is.

Gold is the same as silver in that it is much too soft on its own. There are several variations of gold mixes and these are what they actually stand for.

What does 10k stamp mean?  – 41.6%  or 10 parts per 24 pure gold mixed with other metals, usually nickel, copper, zinc or silver.

What does 14k stamp mean? – 58.3% or 14 parts per 24 pure gold mixed with silver, copper zinc and nickel. These may vary slightly.

What does 18k stamp means? – 75% or 18 parts per 24 pure gold mixed with elements such as silver, copper and nickel.

What does 24k stamp mean?  – 100% or 24 parts per 24 pure gold. This means no additives. While this is pure gold it is also very soft and tends to bend and scratch rather easily. This is one of the reasons it is rare to find jewelry that is pure gold.

As a side note, palladium is added to gold to make white gold.  Also, Karat is usually stamped k, K, or KT and is different from Carat. Carat is for measuring the weight of gems and not metals.

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Another common stamp on gold (especially from England) are essay marks.  These marks are not made by the manufacturer but by the essay’s office to certify the purity. Each number  stands for the percentage of purity of gold, platinum and silver.

For gold the stamps are 375, 585, 750, 916, 990 and 999

For silver the stamps are 800,925,958 and 999

For platinum the stamps are 850, 900, 950 and 999

Please refer to the photo to see what the stamps look like as well as the essay’s office stamp.

That covers the most common stamps on gold jewelry. There may be some other variations or even country marks such as Italy alongside these markings.

So what does a  900 Platinum, 900 plat, plat 900, pt900 and 900pt stamp mean?  – 90% platinum or 900 parts per 100. Usually mixed with other platinum metal group alloys such as Ruthenium, rhodium, or palladium.  

950 platinum will simply carry 950 in place of the 900 and is 950 parts per 1000 pure platinum.

essay office stamps

Here is a great article about the above stamps here.

What does ALE stamped on jewelry mean? This is basically the maker’s mark for Pandora Jewelry. This is stamped in almost all Pandora jewelry except for maybe a few smaller pieces.

ale stamp

What does sk9 Platnaire mean? Platnaire is an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver, 5% platinum and 2.5% other elements but is nickel free, making it hypoallergenic.

What does a GE stamp on my ring mean? This means that the ring is Gold Electroplated. HE means heavy gold electroplated. Here is a blog with more in depth information on this here.

hge stamp

What does GP mean? Gp is simply gold plated.

What does GF mean? This means that the jewelry actually has a layer of gold bonded to the base metal. This is more common on items such as watches.

What does IP on my ring mean? IP means Ion Plating, and is one of the most solid plating techniques called physical vapor deposition. In the past this was often used on tools and blades but is becoming more common on quality plated jewelry.

What does steel, S.S. or st. steel mean? This is the mark for a stainless steel piece. Stainless steel  is one of the more affordable options for people who tend to turn green as it is usualy hypo-allergenic.

What does WGD mean? WGD is kind of like karat meaning weighted gold. For example 18 karat weighted gold or 18k.

What does PD mean? PD means Palladium. This is a member of the platinum family of alloys.

What does a KP stamp mean on my jewelry? This stands for Karat Plumb and is a certification that it is at least the karat marked or better. For instance 14kp means it is at the very least 14k or higher.

I will leave you with this one last answer to a question we are often asked, as I think it is very omportant to address this.

Are marks inside rings ever wrong? The simple answer is yes. There are and always be scammers out there trying to rip people off. It has become more common for jewelry coming from China and other regions to have stamps that are not correct in order to pass of jewelry as real gold or even sterling silver. Always be aware of who you are buying from and make sure they have been around a while and have great ratings and / or reviews.

Another thing to watch for is mark manipulation. I have heard many stories on this. One that stands out in my mind is a ring marked  14kg. This ring originally was marked 14kgp meaning 14k gold plated but the p was polish out but there is no 14kg.

more essay marks

 

Still need Help?
Check out this book American Jewelry Manufacturers (Amazon Link)
If you are an avid jewelry collector or just a weekend yard sell shopper, this book could provide a ton of information on jewelry stamps.

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