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How to Decipher Gold Markings


Those of you who are interested in treasure hunting on your own might need to know what the gold hallmark stamps mean.  It may be confusing at first, but this quick guide will help you out.  The first essential you need to invest in is a jeweler's loupe--a 30 x 21 mm is what I use.  This will allow you to get an up-and-close look at the stones (to look for any chips or at the clarity) and the prongs (hopefully they are not worn).  Next, check out the hallmark.  The guide below will help you decipher what that stamp means:

  • 375   =   9k

  • 417   =   10k

  • 583   =   14k 

  • 585   =   14k

  • 750   =   18k

  • 834   =   20k

  • 875   =   21k

  • 917   =   22k

The 3-digit number hallmark is stamped on a piece of jewelry of European origin.  Above are the North American equivalents.  Some hallmarks that indicate that gold is not real, not pure are: 10kGF (meaning gold filled), 18k HGP or 18k HGE (meaning heavy gold plate/electroplate).


Above are some of the regional markings for several European nations.

Reader Comments (18)

To add to the confusion of gold stamps assay marks, I have an Edwardian necklace that is 700 or 16 karat gold.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbelle de ville

i have recently aquiered a small catapiller pin with what looks like cmall diamonds and some larger crystle type gems on it and the only mark looks like a bird inside a square with its tail pertruding out side the square the square has one point up so it might be like a diamond shape but all sides are equal im just wondering if you can tell me what compamy uses the stamp so i can send pics of it so they can look in there records to tell me what all was used to make it or if its just costume jewlery

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfrancis

Very informative. I used to have a lot of trouble with jewelry sellers from abroad. They would never admit it but most sell costume jewelry, using cheap prices to lure you in to buying them.

Irene Love
Designer Watches

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIrene Love

hi i purchased a ring at thrift shop pearls in a cluster and sapphires only marking is BETA inscribed inside ring...any info on that mark could this be a gold ring or just goldtone? it loks good...........

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersheila

clear and useful description, it really helped me. you know thanks a your cool blog where i can find everything that i need.For more info please log on to http://www.whitefleur.co.uk

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEngagement Rings

I have a men's somewhat heavy gold ring with a diamond in it. The only marking inside it is 1152. The ring looks custom made. I can't find out anything about these numbers. Can you help? Thanks.

December 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPegge

Pendent with original chain - signed 900 on a setting that holds a round piece of glass with four added metal pieces - also the letter G in script center of one side.... also marked is 54 XI

...an original work of art?

possibly - 400 / 64 XI

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMARIA

what dose malta mean on a gold chain

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterluzerking@yahoo.com

I have a ring that is stamped with 18K then GSL 3, then HEART SHAPE, then T. I only know the 18
K. Can anyone tell me what the other ones mean?

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorma

I have a pair of earrings marked 750 (18K) and a mark that looks like an enter-twined V and O or a triangle and O. Were my mom's and have a swirl fan-like design. Probably from the late 50's early 60's. April 2013 Inquiry

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGCioffii

I have a necklace with HWT 700 stamped on it... Is it real? An if it is what is its value

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBree

I have a gold bracelet with a 700 mark on it and nothing else....does anyone know what this is? Thanks!

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElla

I have an old gold and pearl brooch that is engraved with either S150 or 5150 on the back. Does anyone know what that means?

August 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I have braclet that has mark K circled and made in Taiwan around does anyone know more on this mark

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I have a set of gold blazer buttons (3 large and 4 smaller) and I'm hoping someone can help me identify who the maker is. They are marked 14k with a "circle" next to it that has either a capital "A" or "V" inside the circle with a "line" going through the center of the letter and extends to the inside edge of the circle. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTdc

I have a long, heavy, beautiful snail chain necklace that was my mother's. It appears to be gold, but I can not find any evident gold marking. However there is a small tag near the clasp that is in the shape of a tiny key, but not quite. More like an owl head on top of a "T". Any thoughts?

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I have a sapphire 14k gold ring with markings - 14k, 1k, a circle with a c in it and a B. What do these markings mean. I know it's 14k but don't know the rest. Thanks

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDay

I have a large antique sapphire like stone ring with gold/bronze looking band marked with a circular L with a dot in the center. What is this?

February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPBlasius

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