Some jewelry has special marks and symbols that serve to summarize the information of the item in question: manufacturer, metal, gemstones, weight, origin... These marks stamped on the metal are usually more evident on rings, almost always on the inside of the band, but what exactly do they mean?
Let's see how to interpret these symbols and their meanings, something that may be useful to you in the future.
As we mentioned at the beginning, the markings on rings usually refer to the type and weight of both metal and gemstones, manufacturers and trademarks. This is particularly useful in determining which of a group of jewelry is of a certain level of quality.
As they come to market, the hallmarks allow you to trace the manufacturer or reference the quality of the design for potential secondary trade.
It is important to be clear that there are as many symbols as there are manufacturers, distributors and artisans. In addition, each one has his own signature and manages his personal standard. Although there are pages dedicated to registering these special stamps, there are also a large number of unknown figures, which is normal in this context.
One of the main values usually found on these jewelry hallmarks is the type of metal along with its percentage of purity expressed in carats. The metals that we will normally find in jewelry and their respective indicator can be:
This is usually the standard in U.S. jewelry, but please note that imported jewelry may have modifications to these abbreviations.
Gold is a very beautiful metal, but it is too soft to be used completely pure in jewelry. For this, it is combined with other metals that can give it a more workable, resistant and durable consistency. Depending on how many parts of gold and parts of metal make up a piece of jewelry, carats are established.
The lowest portions of gold traded in fine jewelry pieces are usually 14 karat gold and is reflected in rings stamped 14k. Another way to reflect the amount of gold can be with the percentage of purity. .833 is 20 karat gold, .750 for 18 karat gold and so on.
When dealing with diamonds or gemstones of considerable size, it is normal to see a stamp with the weight of the center gemstone. In the case of having complementary side diamonds, these are also included. The common abbreviation is usually a dot, followed by the carat weight.
Let's take some examples. If you have a ring with a 55 carat center diamond, a common stamp will be ".55". Sometimes, the number may be accompanied by a weight identifier such as:
Curious note: If a stone has "CZ" after the weight, it usually refers to the fact that the center stone is not a genuine diamond but a Cubic Zirconia.
At this point things can get complicated. In addition to the basic hallmarks for precious metals and gemstones, a ring may have a hallmark that identifies a jeweler, a manufacturer or a special patent. Some of these hallmarks are easy to recognize such as Tiffany's << T & CO>> and others are a mystery.
- The jeweler's hallmarks usually reference the retail store where the ring is first purchased.
- The large-scale manufacturer affixes its hallmark because it represents a competitive advantage and gives value to its jewelry.
- When a gemstone has a special cut or is set in a unique configuration, the metal must bear the patent stamp.
- The jewelry designer's stamp refers to the artist, especially on custom jewelry.
Any ring stamped with its metal content, must by obligation include some brand stamp to endorse it.
Many of our frequent readers have (secretly) asked us about a particular stamp and we hope you find this information useful. The Diamond symbol inside ring band has been present in the works of several brands.
Some are stamps from wholesale distributors who often supply various stores, including military both inside and outside the USA and place the initials next to a diamond.
It is quite possible to get classic models (1930-1950) with stamps of this type.
As for legal regulations, few rules oblige suppliers to hallmark precious metals. Although it is not an imposition, it is important that they comply with three fundamental requirements:
Are the markings on the metal totally reliable? No.
Marks can deteriorate over time or with improper treatment of the metal. Some maintenance actions, such as polishing the band, may cause some lettering to be lost or not very distinguishable.
In case of second-hand rings, it is impossible to be sure that a stone has not been altered, even if the band claims to be a ".90" diamond.
To avoid this, prefer first-hand suppliers who assure you that they stand behind their investment and the authenticity of their materials. If you are still considering secondhand jewelry, make sure it is professionally cut and don't just rely on the hallmark.