The quickest way to tell if gold jewelry is real? Check these stamps.

There are several methods that you can use to tell if your gold jewelry is made of real gold. 

If you want to find out on your own, instead of taking it to a certified jeweler and paying a fee for the service, then read on.

Look closely at the piece for an official stamp.

Most authentic gold jewelry is stamped or etched with some sort of indicator. These jewelry inscriptions can be very hard for the layperson to decipher. 

In fact, many professionals are not sure what some of them mean because these marks are not as standardized as they should be. However, there are some common ones which make up the vast majority of the gold stamps.

Authentic gold jewelry should have a stamp to indicate the purity of the gold in the piece.

The stamp shows the grade info which is either given in finesse (1-1000 or .1-.999) or carat (1-24). Anything under 10k isn’t considered real gold in the U.S. 

This mark can also be in several different formats. For example: 585, 14kt and 14K all mean 14 karat gold. All of these formats are easy to understand, except possibly the 3 digit number format.


3 Digit Numbers

These numbers tell how pure the gold is. They are in the thousandth, so if you want to know the purity percentage, just move the decimal point in one space.

For example: 999, is the purist amount, essentially 24 karat gold with a 99.9999% purity. On the other hand, 750 is indicative of a 75% purity level, better known to most as 18 karat gold.


Here’s an easy chart:

999.9, 999

24 carat; also called “three nines fine”




23 carat;also called “two nines fine”

916, 917

22 carat


20 carat


18 carat


15 carat

585, 583, 575

14 carat


10 carat; minimum standard for U.S. gold


9 carat


8 carat; minimum standard for gold in Germany after 1884




Many times jewellery made with precious metals like gold, beyond just telling you the karat purity of the piece, the jewelry stamp will also have additional markings to help give you more information.

This is common where the jewellery item is made with a combination of metals versus a high content value of just gold. For instance, “GF” will be used for gold filled and “GP” will signify gold-plated manufacturing.




Gold Filled


Gold Plated


Plumb Gold (guaranteed to be at least the amount of karats on the stamp


Karat Plumb








Sterling Silver

S. Silver

Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver


Stainless Steel


Stainless Steel

St Steel

Stainless Steel


Carat Weight (usually refers to the karats of the diamond or gems in the piece)


Cubic Zirconia (the gems are cubic zirconia and not diamonds)


Solitaire Diamond


Some relatively low number. This usually indicates the ring size.


Jeweller’s Marks

A lot of jewelry will have several stamps or marks. Often there is one stamp to indicate the purity of the gold (“14K”, as mentioned above). The purity mark can be accompanied by a second mark called a maker’s mark or a jeweller’s stamp. These are custom stamps or engravings placed in jewelry by whomever manufactured it. 

Sometimes they are letters or initials, and sometimes they are ornate icons (like a heart or a bell, for example). There is a huge number of unique jeweller’s marks. Matching these stamps back to the original manufacturer can be extremely difficult. 

Your best tool to do this is Google. There are a number of decent websites that have listings of some of the hallmarks. But be prepared, it will probably take some digging!


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