Precious Metal Stamps Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.
 
Precious Metal Stamps Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.
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Precious Metal Stamps Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.
  Precious Metal Stamps Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.  
 

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Precious Metal Stamps
Author: Author Unknown (13 February 2009)
Difficulty: Not Applicable


Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.

Stamps will usually be located on the inside of the band on a ring, on the post or basket setting on a pair of earrings, on the bail (the part that the chain slides through) on a pendant, and on the connecting ring or the clasp on a necklace or bracelet. All jewelry stamps adhere to strict guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission.

The table below lists the most common precious metal stamps, their alternative stamps or hallmarks, their purity level, and alloys commonly used.

Metal Stamp Minimum Percentage of pure metal Common Alloys**
.925 Sterling Silver
Also: 925 Sterling, Sterling Silver*
92.5% pure fine silver Usually copper
10k
Also: 16, 417, 10KP*
41.6% pure gold (10 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, zinc, and nickel
14k
Also: 583, 585, 14KP*
58.3% pure gold (14 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, zinc, and nickel
18k
Also: 750, 18KP*
75% pure gold (18 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, nickel, and palladium (for white gold)
22k
Also: 916, 917*
91.6% pure gold (22 parts out of 24) Usually silver and copper
24k
Also: 999*
100% pure gold (24 parts out of 24) None
900 Platinum
Also: 900 Plat, Plat 900, Pt900, 900Pt*
90% pure platinum (900 parts out of 1,000) Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, and other platinum group metals
950 Platinum
Also: PLAT, PT, 950 Plat, Plat 950, Pt950, 950Pt*
95% pure platinum (950 parts out of 1,000) Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, and other platinum group metals

*Alternate stamp or European hallmark
**May vary depending on desired colour, such as white gold or rose gold

The term "karat" (usually abbreviated as "k," "K," or "Kt") refers to the relative purity of gold; pure gold is 24 karats. "Karat" is different from "carat," which is a metric unit of weight for gemstones.

In the context of gold jewellery, "plumb" is an old-fashioned term that means that the fineness or purity level of the gold content is precisely what is stamped on the item. The word "Plumb" or the letter P still sometimes follows the metal stamp (e.g., "14k Plumb," "14KP").

14k White and Yellow Gold

14k white and yellow gold are popular and durable precious metals for jewellery. Pure gold, which measures 24 karats, is too soft for use in jewellery. It is alloyed with other metals--silver, copper, nickel, and zinc--to increase its strength and durability. 14k white gold is not as white as platinum, as it is made from a yellow metal that is turned white mostly through nickel alloys. Most white gold items have a rhodium plating that wears away over time, so the metal may look more yellow with age. Some people prefer the slightly warmer white of white gold over platinum's grayer white.

18k White and Yellow Gold

Due to recent advances in alloy technology, 18k gold is now generally considered to be as durable as 14k gold. Because 18k gold has a higher percentage of pure gold, it has a richer gold colour than 14k gold and is slightly heavier. An 18k gold setting can cost approximately 25% to 65% more than the same setting in 14k gold.

Platinum

Platinum has great durability in holding precious stones. It is 35 times rarer than gold. A platinum jewellery item can cost approximately 60% to 200% more than the same setting in 18k gold, and 100% to 300% more than the same setting in 14k gold.


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In the context of gold jewellery, "plumb" is an old-fashioned term that means that the fineness or purity level of the gold content is precisely what is stamped on the item. The word "Plumb" or the letter P still sometimes follows the metal stamp (e.g., "14k Plumb," "14KP")
 

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  Precious Metal Stamps Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design.  
 
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