Simple steps to identify real Gold and Silver Jewellery
Categories: Jewellery 10103 Jun 2021
How do you know if jewellery is real gold or real silver? What should you look for? What do the marks on jewellery mean?
In Australia, the carat stamp or a hallmark is the 'sign' that you're buying real jewellery made in precious metal, not just plated or coloured gold or silver.
Finding the carat stamp is one of the first things to do after falling in love with a precious piece of jewellery to make sure it really is a precious piece of jewellery made to last - and we can tell you what to look for.
Understanding Carat Stamps in Australia
You may know the term "carat" as a measurement of diamond and gemstone weight. "Carat" or "ct" is also used as a measurement for precious metals. The higher the carat, the softer and more expensive solid or real gold will be as it contains more pure gold. Carat stamps or marks indicate the yellow gold content in the metal. They measure the proportion of fine gold to the other metal alloys such as platinum, palladium, nickel, copper, or silver. Combining different alloys with pure gold enables the creation of white, pink or rose gold in 9ct, 10ct, 14ct, 18ct, or 22ct.
In Australia, 9ct gold is very popular, largely due to its strength and hard wearing properties. 18ct gold is also highly desired for precious, heirloom pieces and is usually about twice the price of 9ct gold.
What are Carat Stamps?
9ct Gold is 37.5% Pure Gold and the symbol is 375 or stamped 9ct
10ct Gold is 41.7% Pure Gold and the symbol is 417 or stamped 10ct
14ct Gold is 58.5% Pure Gold and the symbol is 585 or stamped 14ct
18ct Gold is 75% Pure Gold and the symbol is 750 or stamped 18ct
In some cases you may also find the maker's mark or hallmark along side the carat stamp on a piece of jewellery so you know who made the jewellery.
What are the stamps used for Sterling Silver?
Sterling Silver can also be identified with a stamped mark or hallmark. The standard for sterling silver is 925, indicating that the item is at least 92.5% silver mixed with copper to give it strength. Marks on .925 sterling silver pieces also include 925 or Sterling.
Higher silver content metals, such as 950, also qualify as sterling silver, and fine silver has an even higher content and is marked .999.
Where do you find stamps on jewellery?
Stamps are added to jewellery after it has been made. As it is important not to ruin the look of the jewellery, the stamp will usually be find in a discreet spot, such as inside a ring or bangle or on the back of a pendant or the clasp of a necklace. On tiny pieces of jewellery, such as sterling silver and solid gold charms, stamps may be on the soldered loop attached to the charm.
In some cases the stamp can also be found on the bail or the loop at the top of a small pendant, particularly with hollow or delicate jewellery to ensure the look and integrity of the jewellery is protected. The finer the jewellery, the smaller the stamp and you may need your magnifying glasses!
How Can You Be Sure Jewellery Stamps are Real?
As usual, the old advice is the best advice. Buy from a reputable dealer. It is more than their reputation is worth to sell anything that isn't real gold or real silver and they will ensure that their manufacturers and suppliers are reputable too.
Oh My Giddy Aunt has been online since 2003, and their Australian jewellers and manufacturers have been creating solid gold and sterling silver jewellery for many, many, many decades!
Oh My Giddy Aunt jewellery is hallmarked and stamped to guarantee you are purchasing a keepsake piece to treasure.