What do the Stamps on Gold Jewelry mean?

When you take a look at some of the jewelry that you own, you may notice that there are small letters or numbers engraved on the inside of the band or somewhere near the clasp of the jewelry as well. These letter markings on gold jewelry usually mean something, but most of us do not understand what they mean at all.

The stamps on gold jewelry are there to tell you the type of metal the piece contains. Stamps will tell us:

  • How pure the gold is
  • Whether there is any gold in the ring at all.
  • If the piece is only made out of gold plating.

Knowing these stamp codes can help you make smarter decisions when shopping for jewelry.

These numbers are important to make sure that you know how strong the jewelry is and other important elements that you need to know about the piece as well. Let’s dive in a little bit more and learn what these stamps mean on any piece of jewelry that you purchase:

10K, 14L, 18K and More

If you take a look at a piece of jewelry and notice that this is the only stamp that is on that piece, this is telling you that the piece is made out of solid gold.

What to know if your gold is real? We reviewed the top 5 gold testers here.

The number also represents the karat fineness of the gold. We can look at an example of this with the 14K. This means that inside the piece, 14 out of 24 particles in the metal are pure gold and nothing else.

The others are often some kind of mixture of the other elements, including copper and palladium. The additional elements that you see will determine the specific color of the gold.

417, 585, or 750

This is another way that we are able to tell the content of gold in the piece. Instead of telling us how many parts out of 24 are pure gold, this is going to tell us out of 1,000.

So, if you have something that is 19K gold, then this means 417 out of 1000 parts are pure gold. The 14K will be 585 parts out of 1,000 and so on.

The higher the number on this one, the more particles are gold inside the piece.

900, 900PT, PT900, 950, 950PT, PT950

These are just different stamps that will tell us that the jewelry is made out of one of the two most common platinum alloys.

The first three options are going to signify to us that the metal we see is 900 parts pers 1000 pure platinum and the others will tell us that they are 950 parts per 1000 pure platinum.

Knowing this can help you to know what the ring is made out of.

GP

When you see this kind of designation, it is a sign that the piece of jewelry is made with plated gold, but there is some other type of metal that is under the gold plate.

It will usually have some kind of karat fineness so you know the karat weight of the gold plating. So, it may be listed as 18K GP.

This is a good way to get some jewelry at a reduced price that looks like real gold, but keep in mind that the whole item is not made out of gold, just the plating at the top.

GF

This one is almost the opposite of what we found with GP. It stands for gold-filled.

This will tell you that there is a thin layer of the gold that was bonded inside the base of the metal to help make the piece.

The whole thing may not be gold and you may have a completely different metal on the outside, such as platinum or silver, but the inside has a small amount of silver to work with.

HE

Our final marking is HE. This is going to be the abbreviation that is used for high grade electroplate.

This is another way to denote that the piece of jewelry that you are looking at may have a little bit of gold in it, but it is not solid gold.

These are also going to be pieces that display out the karat fineness of the gold for you.

Why Do the letter markings on gold jewelry matter?

The markings will matter because they tell you more about the piece. You can take a look at it to make sure that you are getting the piece of jewelry that you want and not a fake.

If you want a certain karat of ring, then you will want to make sure that marking is found on it. Or if you are looking to get a pure gold ring, you can ensure that one of the other markings will not be on it and you are not tricked to spend more than you want.


There are many different types of jewelry that you are able to choose from based on your preferences, the look that you want, and the budget that you set up.

Knowing what all the markings mean on the piece of jewelry will make a world of difference and can help you to get the exact piece that you are looking for when you go shopping.

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Carl Jones

Carl has been involved in the jewelry business since his youth. Growing up in South Africa his parents were jewelers who worked in the industry for decades.

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