WHAT ARE HALLMARKS ON JEWELRY
If you're an experienced jewelry enthusiast, you've probably heard of hallmarks on jewelry before. But what exactly are hallmarks? And why should you care about them? Well, let's take a look at the basics of jewelry hallmarks and why they are so important when it comes to assessing the quality and authenticity of your favorite pieces.
WHAT ARE HALLMARKS ON JEWELRY?
Hallmarks on jewelry are stamps that indicate the metal purity, origin, and designer of your pieces. In other words, it's like a tiny business card for your jewelry! Hallmarks on jewelry usually appear as small letters or symbols near the clasp or on the inside of a ring band. It can be hard to spot with the naked eye, so if you don't see one on your piece of jewelry, don't worry - it's likely there!
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR JEWELRY HALLMARKS:
Contrary to popular belief, jewelry makers are not always obligated to stamp their creations. In fact, according to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, which is the legal compliance authority for the jewelry business, the standard is actually a little less clear. To meet legal standards, here are the requirements:
- Jewelers in the United States must make consumers aware of precious metal content, even if it isn't visibly marked on the product. This means it can be in the form of an appraisal accompanying the item, on a hang tag or packaging component, or on the invoice/receipt for the purchase.
- If the manufacturer does stamp the jewelry piece, they are required to place their trademark or the retailer's trademark alongside the metal content stamp. Legally, this ensures that the consumer can trust in the company's guarantee of the metal content declared for their jewelry.
- Non-precious metals like stainless steel do not need jewelry stamps.
HOW TO SPOT HALLMARKS ON JEWELRY:
There are a few distinct hallmarks you may see on your jewelry.
Know your jewelry! 10k hallmarks on jewelry indicate that the gold pieces consist of 41.6% pure gold and 58.4% alloy, while a '585' inscription implies 14 karat purity with 58.5% genuine gold content and 41.5% other metals mixed in with it. So if you're looking to purchase something made entirely out of real gold, be sure to look for the "24k" stamp- this means 24 karats or 100 percent pure gold!
Common hallmarks on jewelry for sterling silver are "STER" or "925," indicating its 92.5% silver and 7.5% alloy composition. Markings such as "950PT" or "PLAT" denote pieces that are 95% platinum and 5% alloy, while embedded on palladium jewelry, you will find the abbreviation of "950PD" to indicate it is composed of 95% palladium and 5 % alloy elements.
A maker's mark is distinct from a hallmark and can appear like anything from an autograph to a logo. Unfortunately, the United States doesn't require producers to register their marks; hence tracing a piece back to its origin may be difficult.
So that's the 411 on jewelry hallmarks. Don't feel overwhelmed if you don't know what all the symbols mean just yet - simply being able to spot hallmarks on jewelry and knowing why they are important is half the battle! Knowing these basics will help you make sure your jewelry is of high-quality and authenticity when shopping for new pieces. Happy accessory hunting!