If you take a close look on your gold jewelry pieces, you will notice there are barely recognizable numbers stamped on the inside. Since they’re so small, people would often not take too much notice of them. However, these numbers will tell you a lot about your jewelry pieces.
The indiscernible numbers you find inside your gold ring, at the back of a gold pendant or on your gold necklace clasp is what’s called a karat hallmark. It’s an indication of the amount of gold that’s in your jewelry piece.
Gold jewelry is NOT pure gold.
You see, all gold jewelry, including 24-karat jewelry pieces, are not made of pure gold. The reason is that gold in its purest form is very soft and fragile. That’s why you can pound gold into very thin sheets to decorate antique items, carvings, and even food.
To make your gold jewelry sturdy, jewelers mix pure gold with a variety of metals. Some of these include nickel, zinc, and copper.
In short, the numbers stamped on your jewelry pieces tell you how much gold is in them.
Karat hallmark formats
These days, there are two kinds of karat hallmark stamps jewelers use to mark their gold jewelry pieces.
The first is the letter and number combination where you’ll find a 2-digit number followed by either the letters “kt” or just the letter “K.” These letters are short for the word karat while the number indicates the karat of the gold jewelry.
The second is a 3-digit combination stamp. These numbers tell you the purity level of the gold used in the jewelry piece. For example, if you find a 999 stamped on your gold jewelry piece, it means that it’s made of 99.9% gold. On the other hand, if the stamp shows 585 on your gold jewelry piece, it says that it’s only made of 58.5% gold.
Most jewelry stores would often use the 2-digit number and letter format to market and describe their gold jewelry pieces. Here’s an easy-to-understand chart to help you better understand what the numbers stamped on your jewelry piece.
|999 ||24 Karat |
|750 ||18 Karat |
|585, 583, 575 || |
|417 ||10 Karat |
A mark of quality?
Lots of people presume that just because a piece of jewelry has got the karat hallmark stamp, it’s the real deal.
Sadly, that’s no longer the case.
These days, there are deceitful characters out there that would forge the karat hallmark markings on fake jewelry pieces they sell so that they can pass for real gold jewelry pieces and charge a premium price for them. Many of these phony gold jewelry pieces are sold online because the only way you can check it is after you buy them.
That said, make sure that you choose where you buy gold jewelry online. Ask for a certification from the online seller for its authenticity. Legitimate jewelers would be happy to provide this to you.
Also, review their return and refund policies. That way, you can have your gold jewelry piece checked for its authenticity, and get your money back if the test results show a different gold percentage than what you expect