People like to wear jewelry for many reasons, mainly because it elevates the outfits and sends a specific message. Most people prefer gold jewelry more than other precious metals because it is beautiful and often connected with luxury and style.
As you have probably noticed, every piece has some engraved numbers, like 417 or 750. To you, as an average buyer, those numbers probably don’t tell much, but they give a lot of information about gold quality. So, let’s see what does 417, 585, and 750 mean on gold.
From the very beginning of its exploitation, gold has been significant to humankind, and it seems that people try to find new ways to use it repeatedly. The most famous usage of this precious metal is in jewelry making.
Both jewelry manufacturers and buyers respect gold thanks to its superior properties, including:
In its purest form, gold is a very malleable metal and has a distinctive bright yellow color. Therefore, it is not suitable for designing jewelry, but you can keep it as gold bars or apply it to some devices.
To improve the softness of pure gold, people mix it with other metals like silver, nickel, zinc, or copper, but these alloys change its properties and color. Different amounts of alloy also affect the jewelry price, so you need to pay more for pieces with a higher gold percentage.
Since you can’t precisely tell how much gold your jewelry contains just by looking at it, your best shot is to check engraved marks. Typically, they include numbers, letters, or a combination of these two. Additionally, the marks can tell you about added alloys or whether your jewelry is gold-plated or gold-filled.
The marks are not easily spotted. Usually, you will find them on the underside of jewelry, parts like the back of an earring post, or inside a ring. Makers put them in hidden places so they don’t ruin the jewelry appearance.
Gold marking is not something new. People mark jewelry made of precious metals for centuries. First, they used only marks that indicated the material but later added other marks like a trademark or the year of production. Nowadays, the law defines ways of marking.
In the past, jewelers applied the mark with a steel punch. Today they use lasers to avoid risks of damaging the jewelry.
Each country has its own rules for marking precious metals, but most marks are widely accepted. By marking their products, jewelers guarantee the quality and prevent forge or misuse markings in any way possible.
The gold purity is expressed in fineness or karats. The fineness markings consist of numbers, while the karat stamps include two numbers and the letter K. Every fineness mark has its pair in karat sign, so it is possible to use both on the same piece of jewelry. Jewelers and law regulations define the marking type used.
Karat is a measure expressed in parts per 24. For example, 24K means pure gold that is very soft and inappropriate for jewelry making. On the other hand, 22K means that 22 parts are gold and the other two are some other metal, while 14K means 14 parts are gold and ten parts alloy.
A fineness shows gold content in a thousand parts by weight. For example, the 417 mark means 41.7% gold and 58.3% other metals, so the 417 and 10K marks are the same.
On the other hand, the 917 mark means your jewelry is made of 91.6% gold and 8.4% other metals, equivalent to 22K gold. These marks are more used in European countries, while the UK and the US use karats.
Manufacturers sometimes add marks that give more details regardless of gold purity. Those marks provide extra information such as when and where jewelry was made and who created it. Often, manufacturers put their logos and letters to signify the year of design.
Jewelry without a mark doesn’t necessarily mean it is not made of gold. For example, you can’t find a stamp on vintage jewelry. Custom-made and handmade pieces are not marked either. Sometimes, re-sized rings lose their marks after being cut.
If you are unsure about the unmarked gold being real, there are some ways to check it. First, real gold is very dense, so it should weigh more when comparing it to a piece of a similar size. Second, real gold doesn’t lose color or tarnish over time. After all, you can go to the jeweler and have your piece checked.
Every gold has its pros and cons. For example, 417 gold will last for a long time, but it is not as shine as 750 gold. On the other hand, 750 gold can dazzle you with its beautiful color, but it is not firm enough. So it is always a good idea to look for an imprinted marking before making your final decision.
The mark 417 gold will show you that it is an inexpensive alloy containing only 41.7% gold. Because of the low gold level, it is not usually used for designing engagement rings or other fine jewelry. Instead, manufacturers often use it for making inexpensive earrings and bracelets.
Like any other type, 417 gold comes in three possible colors, white, rose, and yellow. The high percentage of other metals makes it very durable and resistant. In addition, its price is very affordable, so this gold is a perfect choice when you want to look elegant but stay on a budget.
The 417 gold color looks less impressive when compared to purer gold, plus some of the metals used, like nickel, cause allergies. Because the alloy is present in a larger quantity than pure gold, such a piece of jewelry is less valuable, and it is not the best choice for special occasions.
A 585 marked piece of jewelry contains 58.5% pure gold, and the rest is alloy metals. It is suitable for fine jewelry and an excellent choice for engagement rings, thanks to its firmness and durability.
You can find 585 gold in white, yellow, and rose colors, depending on the metal type used as an alloy. The gold amount makes this jewelry very strong, long-lasting, and resistant.
This gold type keeps a gemstone in place quite firmly. Its mark is equal to 14K gold, and it is relatively inexpensive but still more valuable than 10K gold.
The color of 585 gold is less intense than in those pieces with a higher gold amount. Manufacturers often mix gold with a particular alloy to get the desired color. Unfortunately, some of these metals may cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
This mark equals 18K gold and shows your jewelry contains 75% gold and 25% other metals, often silver and copper. Since it is quite soft, manufacturers prefer using it for simpler ring designs and necklaces. Thanks to its vibrant color, it is a trendy choice for many grooms and brides.
The most significant advantage of 750 gold is its purity, giving it a beautiful appearance of near-pure gold. It comes in all three standard gold colors, but the high gold amount gives it a warmer tone than 585 gold. In addition, the presence of other metals is lower, so the chances of allergic reactions are smaller.
Thanks to the higher gold percentage, this gold type is softer and more susceptible to scratches than the one with more alloys. For instance, rings made of this type lose their shape over time.
Keep in mind that 585 gold holds a gemstone more firmly than 750 gold. Although the chances for allergic reactions are small, they are still possible. Additionally, it is expensive.
It is easy to calculate the jewelry price when you know what its mark means. The mark will give you information on the gold amount in your jewelry in grams. Then, you need to multiply that gold amount by the price per gram. After adding gem value, you can precisely calculate how much money you can count on.
Once you learn to understand gold markings, you won’t need an expert to estimate the jewelry you want to buy. Each marking provides enough information to know if a particular piece is what you want and need. Also, you will know if a seller overprices his jewelry or whether it is fake.
This content was originally published here.
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