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Sunday, January 10, 2016

What Do the Markings on Gold ?

 

Gold is one colour that is universally loved. It makes a good piece of jewellery and goes with almost anything you wear. No matter which era you look into, gold was used in a certain form. It was being used by the Kings and Queens and by the rich and poor both. The rich bought it as a way to show their wealth, while the poor struggled to buy it to secure their future. Even today, people buy gold to secure their future as it is considered a type of investment that doesn't just sit idle as it can be worn as well.

It is important to know that gold is measured in caratage or 'kt'. Depending on how often you use the gold, you must buy gold in 'kt' that is sustainable. When you buy gold, it comes in various variants, 24kt, 18kt, 14kt and 10kt. The purest gold is 24kt. Since gold is alloyed with other metals to make it last, you need to understand its purity.

Types of Gold

Jewellery markings are done to inform the buyer the purity of the gold. Different manufacturers use different types of marks. Gold is a soft metal and it is alloyed with other metals to make it last longer. Gold comes in different colours as well-

  • Yellow gold is a natural colour of gold and is combined with copper and silver to hold the colour.
  • Bright yellow gold is combined with copper, nickel and zinc.
  • White gold is a big percentage of silver with nickel and zinc.
  • Pink or rose gold is a higher percentage of copper with zinc and silver.
  • Deep green gold is combination of fine copper, zinc and silver.
  • Bright red gold is a combination of gold and a large portion of copper.

Jewellery Markings on Gold

Since gold is being alloyed with either zinc, silver, nickel or copper, it is important to know the purity of gold in the ornament. The following markings are the most common:

  • 24k marking:

    The gold is measured on how many parts of gold is alloyed on a scale of 24. This means that 24 of the 24 parts is gold and this is the purest form of gold that is available. Pure gold is soft and it can wear and tear if worn on a daily basis. Pure gold is strikingly yellow.

  • 18k marking:

    This is the most common marking on any ornament. This means that your ornament is 75 percent gold and it is also marked as 750 at times. This is the most common level of purity that is available.

  • 14k marking:

    14k gold is also marked as .585 as it contains 58.5 percent gold. Even though the jewellery contains less gold, it is still valuable and easy to wear. The gold with this purity has a higher concentration of silver.

  • 10k marking:

    That means the ornament is 42 percent gold and it is also marked as .417. This is the lowest level of purity and can be legally sold as gold.

  • HGE marking:

    That means your ornament is gold plated and is the most affordable form of jewellery. It also means that the jewellery will eventually discolour. The makers uses multiple layers of different metals to slow the process of discolouration.

  • GE marking:

    A layer of gold is adhered to a base metal. The gold layer is thicker than gold plate and hence contains more gold. The markings look like 1/20 12k GF. But the jewellery will eventually wear out over time.

Markings on Silver

Silver like gold is also a soft metal. It is used for elaborate designs and fine metal work. Since the metal is soft, it is easily worn out. The markings on silver as follows:

  • 925 marking:

    Sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver and most jewellers will stamp it as 925 or .925.

  • 99.9 marking:

    This is the purest form of silver. Silver with 99.9 percent purity is used in bullion and pure silver coins.

  • Other markings:

    Silver is also available in 81.3 and 80 percent marking. Silver jewellery with the lower level of purity may cause skin irritation to those with sensitive skin and metal allergies.

Apart from all these purity markings, the jewellers also stamp a specific mark of their own or of the country of origin. This should help buyers differentiate between the make as some countries are known for their great metal work and these markings should help them get the best. However, these marks are not used universally so you cannot rely on the authentication of the jewellery.

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