Fine Jewelry: Precious Metal Purity Marks and Hallmarks
American and European Fine Jewelry Purity Marks:
Gold Jewelry Marks:
In America gold purity marks such as 10kt, 14kt & 18kt appear on jewelry, but in Europe a diffent set of numbers are used to mark gold jewelry.
.375 is 9kt gold, a mark often found on English jewelry.
.585 is 14kt jewelry (58.5% gold in the metal mix)
.750 is 18kt gold jewelry (75% gold in the mix)
PLAT or Platinum if the jewelry is 95% or more platinum. Other marks are Pt1000, 1000Pt or 1000Plat for pure platinum; or Pt950, 950Pt.
If less than 95%, the mix is shown such as 10% irid plat, meaning the item is 90% platinum and 10% iridium (Iridium is actually more expensive than platinum. It is added for strength.). In addition, sometimes you will see imported items with 800 Plat, an 80% platinum alloy popular in a few foreign countries.
Silver Jewelry Hallmarks:
Sterling Silver jewelry is often marked 925 or .925 (92.5% fine silver in the mix)
Other European silver jewelry hallmarks include .800, .813, .875, .935, .980 and any other number of other variations that depend upon the amount of silver content
European countries also use a variety of other symbols to mark silver jewelry and non-jewelry items.
These marks can be used in conjunction with purity or other designations.
Non-Gold Jewelry Purity Marks:
HGE is Heavy Gold Electroplate (plated, not solid gold) .
Gold Filled is marked to show, by weight, an amount of a gold layer on the outside of base metal. For example, the mark 1/12 14kGF. This means the gold layer is 14k and is 1/12 the weight of the total metal in the item.
Many gold plated items do not have enough gold to rank and be marked as plated. These will have no mark.
Vermeil is gold wash or flash over sterling silver.