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"Markings indicating real gold on jewelry"

Current question:

October 10, 2018

Q. I am not that familiar with the hammer head and the face silhouette. Can anyone please chime in?

Pamela Vidales
nurse - Yuma, Arizona

"World Hallmarks Vol. 1"
by Whetstone, Niklewicz, & Matula
from Abe Books

affil. link

October 2018

A. Hi Pamela. 18K means the composition is 18/24 gold, or 0.750, so my guess is that your bracelet is real 18 kt gold and probably quite valuable.

But as for the maker's marks like the face in profile, that's something you might have to spend some free time going through a number of hallmarking books to trying to research. We've posted thousands of requests to identify jewelry markings but only about a dozen answers -- and we're not special: every other site I visit on the subject says they can't answer questions due to the volume either. The human condition is that everyone is quite curious about the markings on their own jewelry but quite uninterested in the markings on anyone else's :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

"World Hallmarks Vol. 2"
by Whetstone, Niklewicz, & Matula
from Abe Books

affil. link

July 12, 2021

Hi Pamela,
Did you ever find out any more about your bracelet, I have just purchased identical with same hallmark.
Many thanks, Karen



Karen Williams
- Warrington [England]

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

"Hallmarks and Date Letters on Silver, Gold and Platinum"
by Eric Bruton
from Abe Books

affil. link


Q. What solvent can be purchased to determine if a piece of jewelry is in fact real gold or has been plated? Or what other methods can be used to determine if an item is real gold?

Kenneth Davis
the body sculptor - Washington, DC, USA


A. Gold is pretty inert, so to find a solvent that will dissolve it is not easy. I would suggest you check its density. Pure gold is pretty dense (19.3g/cm3) and there aren't many cheap metals near that.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

"Jackson's Hallmarks"
by Ian Pickford
from Abe Books

affil. link


A. Testing Gold, please be careful, wear Rubber Gloves [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and pay attention to the caution labels.

With a small file make a scratch in an inconspicuous spot. While wearing rubber gloves use a wooden, glass or plastic stick to apply a drop of nitric acid to this spot. Observe the reaction. When done, rinse everything well in running water.

-No reaction...................it's gold
-Bright green..................it's base metal
-Green in scratch..............gold layer over base metal
-Milky in scratch..............gold over silver
Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

November 25, 2014

Q. Is a gold ring marked 14k pc real?

toby condit
- duncan,oklahoma

November 2014

A. Hi Toby. If it's marked 14k it legally has to be 14k, i.e., it's 14/24ths pure gold. It may be very difficult to figure out what 'pc' means though :-)


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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