Jewelry Stamps and what they mean are important identifiers that help consumers understand the quality and composition of the jewelry they purchase. The markings give the wearer important information about their jewelry and its value.
What Are Jewelry Stamps?
If you go to a jewelry store, either to admire or to purchase jewelry, you'll notice that each piece contains small markings.
- The markings might look like a series of numbers or letters or they may contain whole words.
- While at first glance these stamps don't mean much, they're extremely important to understanding the piece of jewelry that you're purchasing.
There are different types of Jewelry Stamps and we'd be covering them in this section, keep reading!
Categories of Stamps
Quality StampsQuality stamps on jewelry give the wearer information about the metal content and chemical composition of the piece of jewelry.
- They explain why a piece of jewelry has a certain value.
- Quality stamps include information regarding the chemical composition of the metal in a piece of jewelry.
- The stamp explains the type of metal used, the weight of the metal, and the purity of the metal.
Another type of jewelry stamp that you might see is something called a maker's mark.
- Maker's marks are traditionally the initials or names of the manufacturer of the jewelry.
- For example with JewelryLab's large chain link necklace, they provide evidence that a certain craftsman created that particular piece of jewelry.
- Some countries, such as France and Italy, require manufacturers to register their maker's mark with governing agencies to help verify the authenticity of a piece of jewelry.
Maker's marks are especially important in helping historians date pieces of jewelry. They help you understand what period a piece of jewelry is from and whether it is an antique.
Hallmarks are similar to quality stamps in that they are small impressions made into jewelry as a form of consumer protection. An assay office guarantees the Hallmarks to ensure the material is of a certain quality for sale.
- The marks have a longstanding tradition, originating in England when goldsmiths had to mark their products with these stamps before the sale.
- Hallmarks vary based on the period of creation and the purity of the metal used.
- Trained professionals can identify hallmarks to verify the age of a piece of jewelry. This allows them to assign value to antique jewelry.
Another type of mark that you might find on a piece of jewelry is something called a location mark or a town mark.
- These markings are typically images that denote where the piece of jewelry originated.
- Location marks will vary based on which country a piece of jewelry originated from.
- Within a country, cities may have images that tell a buyer what part of the nation the piece originated.
- For example, a British location mark is an image of a crown while a Scottish location mark is a thistle.
Types of Jewelry Stamping and What They Mean
Have you always wondered what the stamps on jewelry mean? If yes, then the puzzle is about to get solved. The meaning of jewelry stamps depends on the type of jewelry stamping present on the accessory.
Here are a few of the common types of jewelry stamping and what they mean.
.925, 925, and Ster Stamps
When a piece of jewelry gets stamped with these stamps it means that they consist of sterling silver.
- Sterling silver means that the jewelry consists of 92.5% silver and the remaining percentage is another type of metal.
- The reason jewelers mix silver with other metals is that it is a very soft metal on its own.
- It needs the support and addition of a stronger metal to help it retain its shape and durability.
- Typically, jewelers mix silver with copper.
- However, they can mix it with other metals as well. For instance, a gold ring that has a 925 stamp means that it is sterling silver coated in gold.
- It's also important to note that sometimes there will be letters following a 925 stamp.
- The letters denote the maker's mark and let you know who manufactured the piece of jewelry.
Remember, there are thousands of jewelry manufacturers out there. You may have to do a little digging to figure out exactly who created your piece of jewelry.
10K, 14k, 18k, and 24k Stamps
These are mostly used in gold Jewelry and the stamps describe the purity of gold the jewelry contains.
- 10k symbolizes that a piece of gold consists of 41.6% pure gold, or 10 out of 24 parts. Jewelers most often combine gold with silver, zinc, copper, or nickel.
- 14k stamps show that a piece of jewelry consists of 14 out of 24 parts pure gold, or 58.3%. Most often, craftsmen mix these pieces of jewelry with nickel, silver, and copper-zinc.
- Jewelry with an 18k stamp has 18 parts out of 24 parts pure gold. This is 75% pure gold, with the remaining 25% consisting of copper, nickel, or silver.
- If your jewelry has a 24k stamp it consists of 100% pure gold. This metal has no additives, but it can easily scratch and bend because it is very soft.
Remember, metal will not have a stamp that reads 'carat'. Carat measures the weight and purity of gemstones while karat measures the weight and purity of metals.
Aside from karat marks, gold will sometimes contain stamps known as assay marks. These marks denote the purity of a piece of gold as approved by an assay office.
S.S. or St. Steel Stamps
S.S and St. Steel are stamps used to denote stainless steel. Stainless steel is an affordable metal and is hypoallergenic, making it popular for those with sensitive skin.
WGD means that a piece of jewelry is made out of weighted gold. Its meaning is similar to karat.
KP is a symbol that means karat plumb. Karat plumb is a certification that means a piece of metal meets the karat listed or a higher karat.
For example, if a piece of jewelry is stamped with 18kp, that piece of jewelry is at least 18 karat gold.
The unique way of creating stamped jewelry is something that helps us better understand the precious accessories in our wardrobes.