How to Identify Gold Jewelry
What do Karat and number marks mean?
A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may be your dream, but finding karat gold at collectibles malls, flea markets, or garage sales is more realistic. Many shoppers pass up great precious metals jewelry because they do not know costume jewelry from fine jewelry. You can learn the difference! 24k is pure gold, not used for jewelry without alloys.
Step 1 Locate some jewelry to check, and use the magnifier or loupe to examine the back, clasp, edge, and wire. Remember that 24k is solid gold, too soft and maleable to use for jewelry without other metals.
Step 2 Look for a mark on the inside of the gold item. American jewelry is often marked by karat, stamped into the inside of a ring or bracelet, on the edge of earrings and the back of a charm. If the jewelry is marked 10k, that is the minimum mark used today in the United States. There is old gold on the market that is not stamped, and it is often 9k, still valuable and can be sold as jewelry or scrap. 14k is common for American gold, and 18k is not quite as common, but more valuable.
Step 3 Compare any marks you find with the following number marks. Foreign gold is often marked with a number. 9k gold is .375 and 10k is .417. 14k is .585 and 18k is .750. If you see any of these numbers, be aware that this may be gold. Silver numbers are discussed in another article, but know that if it is marked .800, .835, .900 or .925, it is most likely a silver piece of jewelry.
Step 4Look carefully at quality pieces of jewelry that have an unusual clasp, or have a safety chain or hook. Often, these are precious metals pieces. If you find jewelry with brand names, you can check the name on the internet, but these are most often quality costume jewelry. Names like Monet and Napier are usually costume jewelry, and have been around for many years.
Your best luck will probably be in finding foreign gold with a number. Not a lot of shops know that this is gold.
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Jewelry signifies items of personal adornment, such as necklaces, rings, brooches, earrings and bracelets. Jewelry may be made from any material, such as gemstones, precious metals or shells, besides other materials, depending on cultural differences and availability of materials. Jewelry may be appreciated because of geometric or other patterns, or meaningful symbols. (Items such as belts and handbags etc. are considered to be accessories rather than jewelry.)
The word jewelry is derived from the word jewel, which was Anglicised from the Old French "jouel" circa the 13th century. Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewelry is one of the oldest forms of body adornment; recently found 100,000 year-old beads made from Nassarius shells, are thought to be the oldest known jewelry.
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Jewelry, Gems & Minerals
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