When trying to determine whether a piece of jewelry is genuinely gold or not, most people will tell you to simply check for a gold stamp. Jewelry, as they generally well know, is marked with a small stamp somewhere on itself that indicates the karat of the gold. So it should be nothing more than childs play to determine the difference between gilt and gold.
At least one would think so, though this is often not the case.
While certainly true that most authentic gold is stamped with a set of markings, it is much less true that every piece of jewelry with a stamp on it is worth any kind of money. The stamps that one uses to place the markings can be easily purchased at any gem store for less than a $20 investment. Something which most people are unfortunately unaware; leading to many who are taken in by scammers. And believe me, there are a lot of scammers out there.
So how do you know which stamps can be trusted and which can’t? Well first let’s take a look at the stamps themselves.
Jewelry stamps can be hard for the lay person to read. They can also present a difficulty for some professionals as well because there actually is no set of standards for stamps. There are however, some that are much more common than others in use. For example: 585, 14kt and 14K all mean 14 karat gold.
You’ll note that one of those stamping systems uses three numbers instead of the exact karat. This system is generally in use for European gold and if you want to know the specifics of the system I’ll include a simple table below.
When checking to see if the stamp on a piece of gold is real or not pay attention to how the stamp looks. On a real piece of gold the stamp should be professionally applied. This means that it should be clear and easy to read (though it may be small), as well as it should be straight and not crooked or at an angle. If your stamp looks like it was just slapped on by someone who didn’t care about making it look good, there is likely a reason for that.
Very many of the gold jewelry that we see and reject is because the stamp is not set there properly. It is a very easy visual sign that you can use as a warning that something is wrong. If it looks suspect then it is best not to take the risk.