Hallmarks & stamps

Latest Jewellery Questions And Answers

Work has been pretty hectic over the past few months.  I’m in the process of finishing some new handmade jewellery collections, as well as bringing you a many more lovely pieces of vintage and antique jewels; I’ve had boxes of old costume jewellery in storage for a while now, and have finally got round to sorting through them all. They’ll be ready to be put in my shop in the coming weeks.

A tiny handful of the vintage jewellery I've been going through and sorting, ready for sale soon.

A small handful of the piles of vintage jewellery I’ve been going through and sorting.

 

In the meantime, it’s been a while since we’ve had a Q & A session! So here are the latest jewel queries and questions that have been asked (and if you’d like to ask a question please get in touch or leave a message in the comment section below – no question is too small or far out 🙂

 

Readers Q & A:

 

Can you share any tips to find beaded necklaces on Ebay?

My first tip would be to write in the search box both ‘bead’ and ‘beaded’, as they’ll bring up more results. Also, do use the ‘Item Specifics’ area on the left hand side of the page – there are tick box lists to help narrow down your search and help filter out 1000s of unhelpful listings, including excluding International sellers (eg, if you need a necklace quickly and can’t wait for longer shipping from overseas).

Be as detailed and specific as you can; what is it that you’re looking for? Glass beads? Plastic? Faux pearl or cultured? Gold colour or bronze metal? Long or choker? Write it in the search box, don’t be afraid to use lots of words – sometimes I’ll type in a long sentence that over fills the box! If listing results are coming up that are no good for you (eg, you are searching for sparkling crystal beaded necklaces, but you’re having to go through hundreds of adverts for wooden religious rosary’s), simply put a dash mark: minus mark directly in front of the exact word you wish to remove; so if I wanted to search for a white glass bead necklace but didn’t want to see any wooden rosary’s, I would type in the search bar:

White bead glass necklace rosary rosary’s wood wooden

and this should remove all wood rosary listings from your search. Finally, some people swear by searching for miss-spelt listings, so in your case try “knecklace” “neckless” or “necklese” to perhaps strike it lucky and find the stuff no one else can see.  Hope this helps 🙂

 

What does the lion and anchor on jewellery mean?

A lion signifies that the piece is sterling 925 silver, and the anchor means is was tested and passed as genuine sterling silver (correctly called ‘Assaying’) in the city of Birmingham Assay Office in the United Kingdom. This beginner’s article on How To Read A British Hallmark should help you further.

identifying hallmarks UK British help and tips

A sterling silver 925 ingot pendant, with good large clear hallmarks. From the top: a leopard’s head, which tells us it was tested at London Assay Office, a lion ‘passant’ which confirms the silver is genuine 925 sterling, a ‘c’ (1977) which tell us the year it was tested/ made, and on this particular piece a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, as it was the Silver Jubilee 1977 celebration year.

 

Is there a fast way of dating cameo jewelry?

Generally speaking, the quickest way is to look at the quality of the carving. Smooth and beautifully detailed cameo’s tend to be pre-1920s, whilst ‘sharper’ crudely carved cameos are post 1940s. Roman mythology cameos are usually 18th to 19th Century, while pretty side profile portraits of young women with shorter or ponytail hair tend to be 1960s onward (though any type of male portrait tend to be 18th to 19th Century, just to confuse things). Pictorial / rural picture scenes are generally 19th to early 20th Century. Please note these are general guidance only, and not hard rules (eg, there are some modern cameos which are so well carved they look Victorian). If it’s a cameo brooch, I’ve written a photo guide on How To Date A Vintage Brooch, which may help.

A circa 1950s shell cameo pendant, quite crudely carved.

A circa 1950s shell cameo pendant, quite crudely carved.

A Victorian nicely carved shell cameo brooch, depicting Hebe and Zeus as an eagle, from Roman mythology.

A Victorian circa 1880s carved shell cameo brooch, depicting Hebe and Zeus as an eagle, from Roman mythology.

Thank you so much for this question, it’s given me a good blog post inspiration to do a quick-glance photo guide to dating cameos 🙂

 

How do you make micro mosaic jewellery?

Very briefly, tiny tiles (or tiny uniform pieces snapped off thin lampwork glass rods), are placed in a setting that has a strong glue or cement base in it, to form a picture such as flowers. Once everything is set and the glue/cement has dried, a type of grouting is placed over the tiles to secure them in. Unlike most other jewellery, micro mosaic making processes tend to be close guarded secrets, though these Youtube videos here and here may hopefully help further.

How to make micro mosaic jewellery tips help

A standard mosaic brooch, made from tiny glass tiles (approx 2mm to 4mm) set in cement and a gold plated frame.

Proper supplies are almost impossible to get hold of  – I’ve found that searches for micro mosaic tiles only bring up ‘small’ tiles, not the proper tinier micro mosaic jewellery ones. When I was planning on having a go at making micro mosaic jewellery myself a few years ago, the nearest tiles I could find were sold by this supplier who offers a range of Smalti tiles, (I planned use glass nippers to try and cut them even smaller).  I never ended up getting round to making traditional micro mosaic jewellery as I didn’t have the time, but if anyone does, please do let us know how you get on, I’d certainly be fascinated 🙂

If you’re not too concerned about keeping to the ‘traditional’ methods of using glass tiles, but are more interested in the final effect of micro mosaic jewellery, I’ve seen some absolutely stunning examples people have made from polymer clay. Glass seed beads set sideways (so you can’t see the hole) may also be an alternative to experiment with.

 

What does a 1/5 9ct.r.g .. m.k&co ..  stamp on my gold bracelet mean?
Any time you see a math fraction mark on gold-looking jewellery, it usually indicates a type of “gold filled” or “rolled gold” metal finish. Rolled gold is a sort of thicker gold-plating on base metal; it’s better than standard gold plating, but not as good as proper 9k/10k gold. The marks on your particular piece of jewellery mean it’s made from rolled gold, while the “m.k&co” stamp is likely to be the jewelry makers initials. You can discover more about the world of gold plating and the strange letter stamps on gold-looking jewellery here (reading it may also save you from getting ripped off by dodgy jewelry dealers!)
Helpful jewellers stamping "rolled gold" on the bangle rather than confusing us with mysterious fractions and letters.

This helpful jeweler stamped “rolled gold” on the bangle rather than confusing us with mysterious math fractions and letters.

 

How can you tell if jet is genuine?
Surprisingly, real jet feels more like plastic than like glass or gemstone – it’s lightweight, warm and has a slightly ‘oily’ texture (rather than heavy, cold and hard like glass or onyx). Looking at it through a strong magnifying glass or jewellers loupe will reveal some surface texture, not a glass like smoothness. Many people like to use a tile test – ie, scraping a piece of jet lightly on the rough unglazed underside on a tile to see if it leaves dark brown streak, but it’s not something I would personally recommend; it can badly damage the polished surface of the jet, and some materials that look like jet but aren’t, can stain the tile in a similar way too.
Close up detail of genuine Victorian Whitby Jet beads. Whilst the surface is shiny, it's nowhere near as glossy as onyx or glass jewellery. When held, it was also quite light in weight.

Close up detail of genuine Victorian jet gemstone beads, made with jet found at Whitby Bay in England. Whilst the surface is quite shiny, it’s nowhere near the mirror-like glossiness of onyx or black glass. When held, it’s also quite light in weight.

 

how to id identify genuine real jet and glass onyx photos

This is a close up of black glass beads – note how shinier and more sparkling it is than the above picture of the genuine jet gemstone (onyx is very similar looking to black glass as well). Just to really confuse things, black glass is sometimes called ‘French Jet’ by jewelers to make it sound more fancy.

I have a vintage Delft brooch, is it worth anything?

Whilst a lot of people do collect Delftware, the jewellery has unfortunately never really been worth that much, which is as shame because it’s really pretty. Generally speaking, I’ve found that vintage Delft brooches sell for between £3 and £10 ($5 to $12 USD), though once or twice I’ve seen them sell for around the £20 mark ($25 USD) – this is not a valuation, just what I’ve personally seen them sell for over the years.

A pair of pretty blue and white Delft earrings, with distinctive Dutch windmill detail.

A pair of pretty blue and white Delft earrings, with distinctive Dutch windmill detail.

 

Does sterling silver from England always have a lion imprinted on it?
No, a full lion hallmark is only legally needed on British sterling silver that weighs over 7.78g 🙂
What does a crown 585 symbol on my gold jewellery mean?
A crown symbol means it’s genuine gold, and the 585 mark means it’s 14ct gold. Birmingham Assay Office has a helpful guide to hallmarks here.
In old Victorian morning jewelry what do grapes mean?
They were often to do with Jesus Christ; representing the wine of Eucharist and the ‘blood’ of Christ. However, grapes could also symbolize fertility and hospitality, whilst vines and grapes together were a symbol of deep intimate bonds.
I struggle putting on necklaces and bracelets because of the fiddly clasps. Is there anything I can do?
It sounds like magnetic clasps may be your answer. You can buy plain one’s which attach to the clasps already fitted on your jewellery, or if you are buying handmade, many artisans have really pretty one’s that they can fit instead on normal clasps (on bracelets also ask for a safety chain to be fitted, for extra security – any decent jeweler will be happy to do this for you).  Magnetic clasps are stronger than people realize, and I’m a great fan of them.
If for any reason you can’t be wear magnets, a shepherds hook clasp and chain can be a secure alternative both on necklaces and bracelets, and for bracelets why not look out for wrap bangles – these are made from memory wire which is strong, flexible and permanently keeps its shape – it literally wraps around your wrist to create a bangle, no clasp needed.
A fancy diamante studded magnetic copper clasp fitted to a glass bead bracelet.

A fancy diamante studded magnetic copper clasp fitted to a glass bead bracelet.

Handmade nature ladybird lampwork glass bracelet stylish bronze colour magnetic clasp, with a safety chain for added security

Handmade nature ladybird lampwork glass bracelet stylish bronze colour magnetic clasp, with a safety chain for added security

types of clasp alternative to lobster in jewellery making

This long turquoise Czech bead necklace was decorated with huge focal wedding cake glass beads, which made the necklace very heavy. A normal lobster clasp wouldn’t have lasted very long with such weight, so I made a bronze shepherds hook clasp instead, which was both easier to use for the client, and will last for years without breaking.

 

Handmade memory wire wrap bridal bracelet, made with vintage ab crystal beads.

This sparkling bridal bracelet was created using aurora borealis glass beads, threaded onto memory wire, which is strong yet flexible. To put it on, the strand is simply pulled straight, and then wrapped around the wrist- it will quickly snap back into place.

French jet black glass torque bracelet, made from memory wire

A different way of using memory wire is to cut it into a torque design, and then thread beads onto it, as seen in this black glass bracelet; the wire is flexible enough to pull open, yet strong enough to securely flip back into shape once on the wrist.

I hope you have found these months Q and A helpful, and as always please do get in touch if you have any jewellery queries, need help or just want to say hi! Many thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

References and further reading:

Language of Flowers lists:

http://www.daleharvey.com/Directory/articles-of-interest/LANGUAGE+OF+FLOWERS/Meaning+of+Flowers.html

https://artofmourning.com/2010/12/26/symbolism-sunday-the-grape/

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Symbolism_in_Jewelry

Antique mythology cameos ID and information:

(Scroll down) http://www.langantiques.com/university/Symbolism_in_Jewelry

Making micro mosaic jewellery

Tile supplies: http://www.mosaicsupplies.co.uk/product-category/micro-tiles/

Making a micro mosaic pendant (using Fimo clay to set the glass tiles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDYPe07LIHU

Examples of some fabulous modern micro mosaic fine jewellery: https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/magic-micro-mosaic-jewelry/

 

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Types of gold plating .. what do those letters on gold tone jewellery mean?

 

 

RG…..GF…… gold HGE……Gold bonded……GP…..Vermeil……Gold layered.

 

Have you ever looked at gold jewellery on a website and come across the above words and initials in the description? Do you wonder what they mean?

identifying initial letter stamps on gold plated jewellery fakes GP HGE tips

Read on for tips on how to identify your gold coloured jewellery!

You’re not alone. I’ve had quite a few emails over the years which have asked for my help in explaining the letters on gold looking jewellery that someone has purchased. Virtually every time I’ve had to be the bearer of bad news; they’ve been conned and their expensive ‘solid 18kgp ring’ is actually gold plated costume jewellery.

Sadly, some unscrupulous sellers give a rather ‘creative’ description of their jewellery for sale, which tries to gloss over the fact that their jewelry is not real – it’s gold plated.

So today, look no further than the Jewellery Muses’ quick glance guide to identifying letter stamps and initials on jewelry which are used to describe gold-tone/ gold-plated metal …

~ RG – means rolled gold.  This is gold sheet (usually 12K or 14k) that is rolled into a tube, and then filled with a base (ie non precious) metal such as brass.  This process gives a longer lasting gold colour than normal gold plating, and is often stamped on jewellery: 1/20 12kt GF or 1/20 14kt RG for example.

vintage rolled gold pink deco glass bead necklace

Many old vintage glass bead necklaces were threaded on rolled gold wire, which is most commonly slightly square shaped and thicker than normal wire. Rolled gold wire also develops a nice patina like normal low grade gold (eg 9k), and is not prone to wear.

~ GF – means gold filled, which is simply another name for rolled gold.  RG and GF are more durable than gold plated metal.

art deco vintage pink glass opal diamante ring

A ‘RG’ stamped rolled gold art deco ring. Note how well it’s lasted; rings are notoriously prone to damage, yet this one is nearly 100 years old and is only now showing signed of wear to the metal. Rolled gold (aka gold filled) metal is a perfect bridge between costume jewellery and more expensive fine solid gold jewellery.

~ GOLD OVERLAY – again means a type of rolled gold; a gold sheet (usually 14k) that is rolled into a tube, and then filled with a base (ie non precious) metal.

~ GP – stands for gold plating, a process which involves spraying a fine layer of gold onto base metal.  GP jewelry tends to lose the gold coating with day to day wear after a while.

vintage 70s toledo damascene pendant jewelry

The back of what was once a brilliant bright gold-plated circa 1980s pendant, which has now faded and worn out

~ HGE – means Heavy Gold Electroplate, a slightly thicker coating of gold onto base metal than standard gold plating.

~ HGP – also see HGE, means a heavier gold plate, a slightly thicker coating of gold onto base metal than standard gold plating.

vintage sapphire glass paste cz ring deco (2) (640x617)

Some rings offered online have  ‘creative’ descriptions, such as ‘For sale: solid 18KHGE white gold and blue sapphire CZ ring‘, a description which in real life means nothing more than a cheap and pretty costume jewellery ring made with a sapphire coloured fake stone and white gold plated metal.

~ LAYERED GOLD – another type of gold plating.

~ GOLD BONDED – another type of gold plating, or occasionally used to describe rolled gold.

~ VERMEIL – this is genuine 925 sterling silver which has been given a thick coating of gold (normally 14k or 18k).  Base metal which has been gold plated cannot by law be described as vermeil, only genuine gold-plated sterling silver can.

vintage shell cameo brooch

If you come across a piece of jewellery that has a ‘925’ stamp on it, but it’s gold coloured, then you have a piece of true vermeil jewellery, like this vermeil frame shell cameo brooch.

~ HAMILTON GOLD – brass toned metal with gold plated finish; generally only used on watches.

~ PINCHBECK GOLD – an early gold imitation, invented in the 18th century and made from an alloy of zinc and copper.  True pinchbeck items are very rare and worth a lot of money.  Nowadays, the term ‘pinchbeck’ generally means any type of antique faux gold.

Antique victorian carved shell cameo brooch jewelry

Many dealers will describe any type of antique gold looking metal as ‘Pinchbeck’, but real genuine pinchbeck is hard to find! Always ask a seller if their pinchbeck is real, or just their general description for gold plate.

~ GOLD TONE / GOLD – COLOUR – jewellery that is gold coloured, not real gold.

vintage 80s gold tone snake chain flower necklace drop daggers (3)

A cute gold tone necklace. Gold tone costume jewellery is often described as being made from ‘pot metal’ ‘mixed metal’ or ‘base metal’, which means there is no real gold used in the item (other than perhaps a thin layer of gold-plate)

~ GOLD LEAF – a type of gold plating.

Look out for descriptions such as “fantastic genuine solid 18k HGE gold ring”, or “solid 14KGP gold ring”.  If you see any of these phrases, words or initials in the description of a jewellery item then be aware that the jewellery will not be genuine solid gold.

Two Final Quick Tips:

~ Just because something has a gemstone in it doesn’t mean it will automatically be encased in real gold. Low grade gemstones (or lab created gemstones/lab-diamonds) can be dirt cheap to buy, and might be used to make gold plated jewellery appear more ‘real’.

 

How to read a British hallmark stamp on gold and silver jewellery

How to read a British hallmark  – an info guide:

Reading British hallmarks on gold jewellery isn’t as difficult as it first appears. Firstly, you’ll need a couple items.

  • A jewellers loupe. This is a type of hand-held powerful magnifying glass. Nowadays you can pick these up for under £3 off Ebay, and it’s worth its weight in gold (pardon the pun). Don’t bother with other types of magnifying glass as they can’t get into those nooks and crannies, nor are they really powerful enough. Aim for between 20x to 30x magnification – any higher and the hallmark starts to distort and blur.
  • A proper British hallmarks book. This is a must, and my personal preference is for Bradburys Book Of Hallmarks, which is pocket size and easy to use.

Info guide and tips on how to identify gold and silver jewellery jewelry hallmarks

ABOVE: types of jewelers loupes.

Once you have your jewellers loupe and book of hallmarks (I use Bradbury’s so will go according to this) you can start to identify your jewellery. Let‘s go!

  1. Hallmarks on jewellery are tiny, and because they aren’t meant to be seen easily (so they don’t detract from the jewellery), they are stamped in an unobtrusive places. Be prepared to do some searching for them! In general, a ring is usually hallmarked on the inside of the band. Necklaces are normally stamped on or near the clasp, or on the pendant part if it has one. Earring hallmarks are often stamped on the piercing wire part, but this isn’t a rule and they can be marked anywhere. On charms they can absolutely anywhere, and it can take some deep investigation to find them; I once came across a highly detailed motorbike charm, and eventually found the hallmark on its license plate!

Info guide and tips on how to identify gold and silver jewellery jewelry hallmarks

ABOVE: a set of tiny British hallmarks on the clasp of a 9k rose gold bracelet.

2.Once you’ve found what looks like your hallmark, hold the jewellers loupe up to you eye, along with the jewellery in your other hand. It will need a bit of practice to get the image clear, and may mean twisting your arms and head to get the magnified vision clear enough to see. Good lighting is a must too.

3. Once you can see your hallmarks, try and work out what they look like. This is the part that takes a lot practice, and can be done in a variety of ways. My advise would to be to firstly figure out the Assay Office stamp. The Assay Office is the institution which ‘Assayed’ (ie hallmarked) the precious metal, and is represented by a simple symbol. The most common ones are:

  • Sheffield (a round rose symbol)
  • London ( a leopards face symbol)
  • Birmingham (an anchor)
  • Edinburgh (a castle)

(There are many other British Assay Office stamps/ symbols which can be found on antique jewellery. These offices no longer exist but are still recognized by UK Law, including Chester, York and Glasgow. Bradburys Hallmark book has much more info about all British hallmarks, along with detailed images and symbols of all the Assay hallmarks).

You can see what hallmarks look like on this latest Jewellers Dealers Notice (this link opens a PDF file and is from the Sheffield Assay Office).


4. Say for example, you see an anchor symbol – this is the Assay Office mark for Birmingham. Look in your Bradbury hallmarks book and find the chapter headed ‘Birmingham‘. You’ll see pages of hallmark lists that look bewildering, but trust me, they’re easy to use with a bit of practice.

5. Now you’ve found the Birmingham section, bookmark this, go back to your jewellery and take a look at the letter stamp. Memorize this as much as possible, and go back to the Birmingham section of your hallmark book and search through the hallmarks, seeing which typeset letter looks like the one on your jewellery. As a general rule, work backwards from modern times to older. To find out the finesse (ie type of gold) of the jewellery, look for a stamp with numbers in it. In this rings case, it’s ’375′, meaning the ring is 9ct (9k) gold.

Gold finesses on British gold jewellery are:

9ct gold: 375

14ct gold: 585

18ct gold: 750

22ct gold: 916

You may occasionally come across 12ct and 15ct British hallmarks on genuine antique jewellery; this is where hallmarks can get complicated, so for the beginner it’s best to get proper advise concerning this from a professional such as an auctioneers.

6. Finally, you’ll always see some kind of initials on a proper British hallmark. These are the Makers Marks, which means the person or company who actually made the jewellery, and is a requirement of British Law. There are now many websites dedicated to exploring Makers Marks, so a quick Google should help you on your way in this area.

(On some older gold jewellery, you may also come across a crown symbol, called the Crown Standard. This stamp meant that the item was gold, though along with the date letter, it’s now optional on modern jewellery).

And that’s how you read a basic gold British hallmark. You can use this exact method given here for reading silver, the only differences being that the Standards are different:

  • Gold is represented by a crown
  • Platinum is represented by an Orb 
  • Sterling Silver(925) is represented by a lion
  • Britannia Silver (958) is rare, and is represented by the lady ‘Britannia
  • Palladium is represented by Pallas Athene’ ie, the head of Athene, the Greek Goddess of War (whom palladium was named after).
Info guide and tips on how to identify gold and silver jewellery jewelry hallmarks

ABOVE: A well detailed set of Sterling silver British hallmarks on a silver pendant. From the top; the makers initials, below this is a leopards head (meaning it was tested/ assayed in London), then below is the Lion Passant (meaning the item is 925 Sterling Silver), then the italic letter ‘C’, meaning the year it was made was 1977, and finally a special mark bearing the Queen’s head; 1977 was the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, so Assay Office’s created a special stamp to celebrate this. Please always confirm with any business, jewellers or pawnbrokers (both real world and internet) that the item you wish to purchase is fully British hallmarked.


Avoid sellers who refuse to do this, or claim a UK hallmark isn’t necessary. Also avoid shops that claim 10K gold is legally recognized in the UK – it isn’t, and if you decide to sell your 10K stamped jewellery item at a later date you will legally have to describe as either white or yellow metal, not gold. You’d be surprised how many sellers and shops don’t know or care about hallmarking law, and will tell you anything so they can simply sell the item. This goes for for both ‘real life’ shops and internet shops.

Palladium metal – the new platinum?

We all know the big three in fine jewellery – gold, silver and platinum.

But now there’s a new kid in town. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this up and coming precious metal over the next few years.

The name?

Palladium

So what exactly is this metal, and why is has it caused so much excitement in the fine jewellery world?

Palladium  is a member of the platinum family, and just like platinum, it’s a white metal. Palladium doesn’t tarnish, is harder than gold/ silver, does not need over-plating (unlike white gold always which needs platinum and rhodium plating to give it that perfect finish) and it’ completely hypo-allergenic.

Palladium is also cheaper to buy in than platinum, and because it is less dense,  it is easier to work and experiment with;  it’s becoming an increasingly favoured choice for many of the worlds top fine jewellery designers.

It is also rarer than gold.

Now, can you begin to see why I’ve a feeling palladium might become the must have precious metal?

Since 2009 the Assay Offices in the United Kingdom have been hallmarking palladium over 1g on a voluntary basis.  As of the 1st of January this year (2010) it’s now compulsory to have all palladium over 1g hallmarked (in accordance with the UK Hallmarking Act 1973).  The finesse amounts are 500, 950, and 999.

You can find out more about Palladium, and how to identify it, by visiting the Birmingham Assay Office website.

Learning About Fake Gold and Hallmarks

One of the biggest jewelry problems I’m hearing about at the moment is buyers purchasing fake gold over the internet, at markets/ fairs and even occasionally in shops.  Here are some helpful tips to consider when purchasing gold in the United Kingdom:

1. If it’s too good to be true it usually is!

2.  Only buy gold that has been hallmarked at a British Assay Office. This means the gold has been tested and is real.

3. If buying from a ‘real world’ market stall, fair or shop don’t assume the jewellery item you are seeing is gold (even if it looks gold and is with other labelled gold items). An unscrupulous trick is to place a few non-hallmarked fake gold tone rings on a ring display pad mixed with real British hallmarked gold. 

These ‘jewelers’ will label a ring as simply (eg) GARNET ETERNITY RING, and place it on a display pad with other rings labelled ‘9ct topaz gold ring’. Now, the ‘garnet eternity ring’ does have a real garnet in it, and looks gold. And the seller will charge the same price for it as the surrounding rings, which are genuine hallmarked gold, so buyers simply assume it’s another solid gold ring on a pad of other gold rings. But its not.

Notice the wording – no mention is made of gold. It’s actually a dirt cheap garnet stone in a goldtone pot metal ring, and because the seller hasn’t described this particular garnet ring as gold (remember, they simply labelled it ‘Garnet Eternity Ring’) they’re not breaking any law, as far as I know. Do this with 4 costume jewellery rings on one display pad with 16 other real gold rings, and that’s a nice extra profit for dodgy sellers.

 

4. Gold jewellery in the UK comes in 4 finesses: 9ct (375)…….14ct (585)…….18ct (750)……22ct (916). All non-antique gold over 1 gram must carry a British Assay Office Hallmark. A simple (for example) ‘750’ or ’18k’ stamp on its own is not a proper hallmark, and is not allowed to be called gold or sold as gold in the UK.

 

How to id tips genuine gold tell it's not fake

ABOVE: This ring has a simple ‘9ct’ stamp. It is not hallmarked, and therefore cannot be legally called 9ct gold or sold as gold (unless it is a genuine antique, which is where things get complicated and I suggest you seek expert advise).


How to id tips genuine gold tell it's not fake

ABOVE: a proper set of British hallmarks, which means this ring can legally be sold as/ called 9ct gold.

5. 10k Gold is not a legally recognized finesse in the UK. The precious metal laws are tough here and so are the punishments – don’t describe any jewellery to sell as ’10k gold’ if you are based in the UK.

 

If in doubt, always ask a seller about the hallmarks on a piece of fine jewellery.