Silver and Gold Metal Quality Marks

by Diane Schamp.
(Great Lakes Region)

Ever wonder what the stampings on silver and gold jewelry pieces mean? Most of these markings are straightforward such as 14k means 14 karat gold and 925 means sterling silver.

But sometimes the stampings seen on gold or silver may not be so obvious.
Gold is more likely to have an array of different stampings.

Silver and Gold Metal Stamp Meanings

Gold is measured in karats, with 24 karats being 24/24ths gold, or pure gold. The most common is 14k or 14kt, which means a piece is 58.3% pure gold or 0.583 (14/24ths gold).

Sometimes you may run into a piece that is stamped 583, which is the same as 14kt. This notation is how they stamp their gold pieces in Europe. There is also 12kt or 0.500 and 18kt or 0.750.

Pure gold is noted as 24kt but most jewelry pieces or not pure gold because it is too soft for functionality and metal alloys must be added such as nickel and copper.

What about gold filled? The notation for 14kt gold filled is 14/20GF (or 1/20 14k G.F.) which is made with 14-karat gold with the gold representing 1/20th (or 5%) of the total weight of the material. 12/10GF (or 1/10 12K G.F.) denotes 1/10 (or 10%) 12K gold-filled.

Sterling silver metal is marked with 925, Sterling, or SS meaning that the piece is 92.5% pure silver.

Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. The notation for fine silver is 999. Argentium Sterling Silver is rated at 935 or 93.5% pure silver.

Silver filled notation, 925/20 is 1/20 (5%) and 925/10 is 1/10 (10%) of sterling silver layer to brass core by weight.

Diane Schamp
DianesDangles at Artfire

BeadSouk at Artfire

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  • Nata says:

    Very useful info, thank you!

    May I add a curious detail? Somewhere around early 90s the standard 583 stamping used in Soviet Union was changed to 585 following the slight increase of the gold content in the alloy (“Russian gold”, anyone?). I don’t really know why was this done and whether the practice is still in place today in the former Soviet Union republics … But I do own a few pieces with that type of stamp. It’s not a hoax. The standards were stricktly upheld by the goverment. And even if this type of stamp is not in use anymore, it can point you to a time-frame and place of origin of the piece of jewelry in question.

  • Christina says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering if anyone knows where to purchase a “14/20 GF” stamp? I just started working with gold filled wire/findings and can’t find a stamp to quality mark it!

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