From the Blog

A Guide To Understanding Gold Stamps, Purity And Value

Understanding the value of your gold can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, gold can have stamps that indicate its purity and value. But what about broken gold jewelry? Or vintage gold without a stamp? This guide will help you understand the value of your gold jewelry. 

What Is A Gold Karat?

“Karat” is the measurement of gold alloyed with other metals. The more karats a gold piece has, the more valuable it is. The number of karats is the portion that is pure gold, with 100% pure gold being 24 karats. This means that a 14 karat piece would be 58.3% pure gold, since 14 divided by 24 is .583. The remaining 41.7% of the piece is composed of other metals, like copper, nickel, silver, or palladium. 

How Do I Read The Stamps On My Gold Jewelry

The markings are often on the inside of a ring. On chains, the mark is often on the clasp or right next to the clasp. Gold jewelry sold by a vendor must have a stamp of the piece’s purity by law. If you can’t find a stamp, it’s possible it wore off over time or was sold before that law was passed. If there is no stamp, this doesn’t necessarily mean the piece is not real. If you are still unsure, bring your jewelry to Traders. We are happy to help you find the value in your jewelry.

Some stamps are apparent, with a number followed by a “K” The most common karat stamps are 10K, 14K, and 18K. 

Many other stamps indicate valuable jewelry that are not as straightforward as ‘K’ marks. Pieces are sometimes stamped with three numbers instead of a ‘K’ stamp. The three numbers represent the percentage purity. For example, the marking ‘417’ means 41.7% gold, which is 10 karats. 14 karat pieces are marked ‘583’ (sometimes ‘585’), and 18 karat pieces are marked ‘750,’ and so on.

Other Common Unknown Stamps

Karat markings are often followed by letters, which can have large implications for both the purity and value of your gold. There are a variety of these markings, and if you’re at all unsure about your piece, it’s a good idea to consult an expert to make sure you’re interpreting your stamps correctly.

A karat marking followed by ‘P’ indicates that the piece is plumb, meaning the purity is exact. For example, ’10KP’ is exactly 41.7% gold. Federal law allows the stamp to deviate .5 karats from the exact purity, so a ’10 K’ stamp could be as low as 9.5 karats, but the plumb stamp guarantees the exact 41.7%. 

Where’s the Best Place to Shop for Gold Jewelry in the San Fernando Valley? 

At Trader’s, we have an extensive inventory of authentic gold jewelry to fit every taste and budget. Have some gold jewelry that you’d like to learn more about? We have advanced tests to determine gold purity even if your jewelry is broken or has no stamp, we can assess that too. Stop by our convenient location in Reseda, where we can appraise your jewelry, tell you how much it is worth, and give you cash on the spot!