What do the markings on my gold items mean? This is a question we hear often.  People just are not sure what the marking on their old jewelry means. So, let’s explore some of the most common ones.

Gold Jewelry Markings

10k or 10kt both mean 10 karat and mean the item is 10/24 parts gold or 41.7 % pure.  Sometimes the hallmark will also be engraved as 417 which has the same meaning and is to identify the purity as 41.7%.  Many gold jewelry items are made of 10k but one place you see it almost all the time is in Class Rings.  Since the gold is only 41.7% pure the other metals used provide extra strength making these rings stand up to more punishment then a higher purity ring might. 

A step up in purity and seen often is 14k or 14kt.  This means the item is approximately 58.3% pure.  Sometimes these items are marked as 585 which is also accepted as the 58.5%  purity.  That means higher purity than 10k but less room for other metals and therefore these rings tend to be a little softer but still strong enough to hold up to some banging around.

Gold Purity Chart

The last type we are going to specifically talk about is 18k or 18kt.  This means it contains ¾ parts gold and 75% purity.  This can be seen on items sometimes as 750.  These items are softer and can be prone to bending if not handled with a little more gentleness.  Most day to day tasks will not damage these items but if you put weight on them and bang them around they will bend. 

Gold Markings By Region

In the US this is what you would normally see in jewelry.  In other parts of the world other purity amounts are more common. This includes some areas being less such as 8k and some being higher including 21 or 22k and more.  

Other markings found can mean a lot of different things.  Sometimes it’s the manufacturer identifier, sometimes it is a number identifying amount of diamonds, sometimes it’s the certificate number of the diamond on the ring and there could be many others.

Now you have most of the answers to identify what type of gold you have.  The trick is finding it on your items and being able to see the marks if you can find them.  They are sometimes very small and hard to find and may require the use of a jeweler’s loop or a magnifying glass.  Feel free to stop in the store anytime for assistance as we are more than happy to help you identify the purity of your items.