Apr 052012
how to tell if your jewelry is gold

One of the easiest ways to tell if a piece of jewelry is gold or not is to look for a stamp (10K, 14K, 18K, 22K, 24K).

In a perfect world, all gold jewelry is marked with a big, bright 14K stamp. In the real world, there are hard-to-read stamps, stamps that mean gold-plated, stamps that are fake…and the list goes on.

Here are a few stamps which signify the piece is NOT gold:
  • 14K 1/20 (1/20 gold is basically gold-filled)
  • 14K G.F. (gold-filled)
  • 14K G.P. (gold-plated)
  • 14K H.G.E. (hydrostatic gold electroplating)
  • 14K G.E.P. (gold electroplating)
  • .925 (sterling silver)

Anything with one of these stamps is not gold. It is made out of a different metal with a very thin gold layer that will wear off over time. These pieces do not have any real metal value and most gold buyers won’t purchase them from you (with the exception of sterling silver).

Stamps that mean your piece IS gold:
  • A plain 14K stamp
  • 14K P (The “P” stands for plumb gold)
  • 14K with a company logo after such as 14K <3
  • 417 (10K, means 41.7% gold)
  • 585 (14k, means 58.5% gold)
  • 750 (18K, means 75% gold)
  • 917 (22K, means 91.7% gold)
  • 999 (24K, means 99.9% gold)

That being said, even if your piece is stamped “14K” you cannot be 100% sure it is gold. There are a number of fake stamps out there and the only way to be 100% sure is to test the metal with a gold tester using nitric acid. On the other hand, even if there is no stamp it could still be gold.

Aside from the stamps or lack thereof, there are a couple other ways you (or most likely a jeweler) will be able to tell if the piece is gold:

  1. If the piece is tarnished or discolored in a way that’s not typical of gold (certain gold can discolor)
  2. By the weight (gold is very dense and therefore it should weigh more than any other non-gold piece its same size)

Hopefully this helps you sort out the shoebox full of jewelry that you just inherited. ;)


  133 Responses to “How To Tell If Your Jewelry Is Really Gold”

  1. I bought a ring that says 14k TGE. Wont say how much I paid for it because I don’t know if I got a good deal. I found it at a resale store though. Can you tell me what TGE means?

    • Hi Autumn,

      I’m not familiar with the “TGE” abbreviation. It could be that the ring is actually labeled “14KT GE”, in which case the ring has gold electroplating and is not solid 14K gold.

  2. Hello, I have several pieces of jewelry that are stamped with the jewelers stamp P14k and then country…I had read that meant plumb when the P was in front, but the jeweler told me it was plated, but she also told me some jewelry that was just stamped 14k was plated…so I was confused as to what it actually meant. Thanks!

  3. It has been my experience that 14K gold and higher K will not stick to a magnet. I have found some 10k that will draw toward a magnet but not quiet stick well. I carry a strong magnet with me when I go “junking” or to yard sales. I also check silver this way.

  4. i have a pair of earings that say s 4k do you know what that means?

  5. I have a ring stamped simply 18. (No k or ct) what could this mean?

  6. can you tell me what 10K GOLD SHE means? I am considering buying this bracelet but don’t know if its real, or solid gold, or what….

  7. i have a 14k gold necklace but i am not sure if its real or not just for the simple fact that on the clasp it is stamped 14k with a diamond symbol around the 14k , what does the diamond mean ?

  8. i have ring band that has a 18k G.F. S/A stamp on it, what does that mean and is it worth anything?Thanks

  9. I’m a hobby jeweler an I am making a sterling turquoise pendant with a gold nugget I found out prospecting. Do I stamp my normal “sterling” stamp on it and a gold stamp? If gold how many K stamp do I use? Thanks in advance.

    • i would stamp the k of the gold on one side n th percentage of silver on the other with your mm in the middle………

  10. I have a gold bracelet marked 14KT AER circled underneath. what ds AER stand for?

  11. I have a ring that’s stamped 14k 7 what does that mean? Its got four “diamonds “two on each side of an “emerald ” I don’t know if its real or not. Its slightly discolored.


  13. I have a silver coloured ring with a marking which days S and then the numbers 585 in a bubble beside it. Does this mean that the metal silver and 58% pure?

  14. I just purchased an item marked OL 14K , would you happen to know what the OL means? If I have made a bad purchase I can still cancel the credit card charge. Would really really appreciate any feedback. Thank you so much.

  15. What does s 18 K mean on the inside of a ring which looks like an antique?Setting looks platinum or white gold.

  16. I just bought a mans braclet off ebay the braclet is suppose to be 14k but on the latch hook it says 4k did the seller make a fool out of me ? Because i paid over 1000 dollars for it .

    • yes, you are a fool for buying a “gold” bracelet for $1000 off ebay. the only way of every knowing for sure if something is gold is to test it. you can stamp whatever you want to stamp on jewelry. there’s probably not a drop of gold in that bracelet.

      • Hi, I just hope you paid with pay pal as if you actually believed it to be fake after reading and seeing the pictures, did you see a 14k hallmark in a picture if so sounds like he’s using a show piece and sending crap if it only say 4K. claim back through ebay in the resolution centre and pay pal, if you find for sure it is fake at a jewellers. Also what was his feedback and how many transactions as this can tell you a lot.

  17. What does K14 on gold earrings mean n after the k14 is a T stamp with a circle around it?

    • Older jewelry is sometimes marked with the K then the number I had one and took to a jeweler and they confirmed it was real

  18. I have a ring tht stand in k14 is it real gold?

  19. Have a Ring stampd with a “C” , a swan/duck looking stamp and a “55″.. what it all mean

  20. Does anyone know what it means when you have what looks to be either white gold or silver ring , with the number 10 on the inside , not followed by kt or anything else just the number 10 ?

  21. I have a silver ring it’s stamped 140 is it real?

  22. i have a ring i buy in mall, but is not saying any 14k or 18k, is just saying inside on my ring is 750 v/c inside is that possible fake??

  23. I have a gold ring with EM on the inside of the band?

  24. I got a bracelet stamped 750 GF it doesn’t say anything else do u knw what this means

    • If you can read those numbers, you could also probably the little chart at the very top of this page, that says exactly what you want to know. In other words, if you had read the very beginning of this, your question was already answered, and you did not have to leave this question. You, and about 80% + of the rest of the people who left questions..

      Sorry, Dave, But that’s a lot of questions, I don’t blame you for not answering them all, in fact, I don’t think you even have to, do you?? HAH! I asked you a question!!! LOL.. It’s rhetorical, dude. jk

      A sympathizer and & empathizer
      Karen Kelleher

  25. Does anyone know what 14kz means ?

  26. I have a ring(receipt says 14k white gold, it’s from Beldens) that is stamped with just simply “22″ on the inside? I can’t find anything on just simply “22″(Just stuff with “22k”)

  27. I have a few rings of yellow gold with the stamps of 14k D3 on it. I will probably go to a jeweler, but curious if this means anything in particular?

  28. Hy all,

    I have a white ring and it is marked inside with the number 750 that is all that is writen inside of the ring NO LETTERS only THE 3 NUMBERS 750.

    What does it mean?
    Is white gold?

    Appreciate your support
    Thank you

  29. What does 25k5 stamp mean in my gold ring?

  30. What does 25k5 stamp mean in my gold ring?
    Your grid doesnt mention 25k5. Did i bought shit or gold

  31. It also say 9ct. But if its plated im going to return it to the sho

  32. Anybody actualy replying to any questions? This makes it my 4th question…

  33. I received a diamond ring with the letters JG stamped on it. Can you tell me what that means. Its a very pretty peice. But I figure its fake.

  34. I have bought a 750 silver coloured pendant but I don’t really know if its real silver, gold or it is antique silver. Although I bought it with a cheap price, I’m still curious about it. Can you please help me?

  35. can you tell me k14 585 Y which is written on a necklace is a real gold or not?

  36. I have an old ring with 10k DEL written in it. Trying to figure out how much it would be worth, but cant seem to find out what the DEL means. Any ideas?

  37. Hi i have a necklace charm it is stamped 14k with 585 under it i went to a pawn shop,and the lady said ot was fake i believe it looks real can u help me out

    • Its real by the markings!!
      Try gold buyers they test on the spot.. they in shopping centres around chrissy at booths in walkways..

  38. Hi my stepdaughter found what looks to be a gold pendant its heavy and has a flower picture with animals running around the flower engraved on the back is a tick with a dot above it.. and what appears to be 5V but I cant see why 5 and the roman numeral are next to each other its looks quite crude and not professional.. the tick symbol and dot look like they were not done by same hand.. any ideas .. I havent seen myself just have the pics she sent on phone..

  39. I just bought a 10 k gold star sapphire ring. On the inside of the ring it says 10k EM. what does the EM stand for. I was told it meant exclusive morgans?

  40. I found a white gold diamond ring it says 14k wit the numbers 585 behind it what does it means

  41. I have 2 vintage (David Yurman style) bracelets marked with 925, Italy, JG, 18K.
    Question: What dose the JG mean? Is it a makers mark or does it refer to the gemstones?

    Thanks ~Lisa

  42. Hi everyone!
    One of my customers ( I am a waitress) gave me little heart shaped pendant with evil eye inside and some, maybe, not so good/cloudy diamond stones on one side of it.It is heavy and it looks like gold, it has marks/scratches as gold if you wear it a lot.
    It does not stick to the magnet. No tarnish.And I think she said she got it in Turkey some time ago. They travel a lot!
    The back of it has 14B447 on it and I can’t find no info anywhere.
    I really don’t care if it is gold, I would actually feel bad if it was.
    I thought it was nice gesture. We were talking about things and I said I always wanted evil eye and she goes in her purse and pulls out these tiny emroidered silk pouches and one of them had the pendant.
    She does wear lots of nice gold and custom jewelry and I often ask her about it. They all have some meaning. She is Jewish and she is originaly from Romania. It is very interesting to talk to her. Both, her and her husband (retired lawyer) are very nice people.
    I feel lucky and priviliged that she lets me know so many interesting things.
    I would love to hear some opinion on this pendant.

  43. I got a figgaro necklace that says 14k italy i was told that it was etched and my not be real to check it with a magnet and it didnt respond at all th the magnet how do i tell if it is real anybody

  44. I have a pair of Larter & Sons Mother of Pearl, button stitched gold cufflinks. There is just a letter P in front of the Larter & Sons emblem. What does just the P mean? No other numbers are present.

  45. I have 24P gold necklace. What is P stands for? Is my necklace is a pure gold?

  46. Hi I have a bracelet that has 10KGV51 stamped on it. Do you know what that could mean? Thanks for your time.

  47. Hi I have a bracelet that has 10KGV51 stamped on it. Do you know what that could mean? Thanks for your time.

  48. Hi I have a bracelet that has 10KGV51 stamped on it. Do you know what that could mean? Thanks for your time.

  49. Hi I have a bracelet that has 10KGV51 stamped on it. Do you know what that could mean? Thanks for your time.

  50. About a year ago I was shoveling and in a sewer grate was a flat gold (wedding?) Ring and inside of it says 14k l&j, any thoughts on if its real or not?

  51. I have earrings that look like Roman numeral numbers do you no what that means

  52. Can you help me what is MP stands for? This MP engraved in my wife’s earrings. Hope you can help me what does MP stands for? Thank you so much.

  53. Can you help me what is MP stands for? This MP engraved in my wife’s earrings. Hope all of you can help me what does MP stands for? Thank you so much.

  54. i recently acquired a ring through family with the markings 10K ♥hart♥ on it im just trying to find out what the marking means and find out more about it

  55. Hi I have a tie clip and it has a 14k then what I believe to be a B inside a star. I would really appreciate if you would be able to tell me if it’s real. Thank you

  56. Hi,

    I got a jade ring with a marker’s mark “JG” in a rectangle and 18k stamped on it. Does anyone know what JG means?


  57. I have a supposedly white gold ring but the only markings on the inside
    is the number 46? any suggestions as to what this means?

  58. I have a new gold ring that looks like 18k is a laser marking is it real?

  59. I have pair of earrings marked ROMAN on back and 585 marks on posts, and tiny white brillian stones.
    I am confused because they seem not be gold, but 585 on the post mean gold right???

  60. I have a diamond ring it has 14K p g on one side the other says 1 with a diamond signia G. What does that mean. My husband gave 700 dollars for it 7 years ago.Please give me some good news.

  61. Please notify me from the above question. Thank you pat van ulzen

  62. Hello, I got a gold ring a while back and never knew if it was real gold or not. It says 10k but before the 10k it has this weird symbol, almost like two m’s together. What does it mean?

  63. I have a ring gold diamond ring that has 18kt and it has a E with a diamond shape beside it what does that mean

  64. Help

  65. Hi my earrings have a a 14 K and a f and a star. What’s doea that mean?

  66. I have a earring I think it’s white gold ?? with want looks like diamonds and the markings of 188 CN on them. Do any one knows what 188 CN stands for ???

  67. I have a necklace mark 585 is this really gold.
    But I didnt see 14k.

  68. I bought a 14k ring and it says Italy on it.. is it real?

  69. what does frz stand gold stamped on a gold looking hoop earing.

  70. I was digging in a box in the attic and stumbled on a watch case stamped 14k with a Dimond around it. I tested it with a magnet it doesn’t magnatize. I think it’s real gold. A friend told me the case was made in1890 did they have gold plating back then. Thanks for your time.

  71. Hi I have a necklace that is stamped 417 n what does this mean?

  72. I bought a id bracelet for my newborn baby it has a stamp 14grg on the latch what does that mean.. i have a id bracelet myself and on the name plate it says 18k not on the latch so is my baby’s real gold please tell me its not gold plated or gold filled?

  73. My husband bought me a right and it’s saids 14k hge dose that mean it’s real or not ???

  74. I have a pair of U.S. Army cufflinks that say K-21 on the back, does this represent whether they are gold or not?

    • no…the army doesn’t give real anything!!! i was in for 7 yrs…got the class A’s…sorry but its the government!!!! lol

  75. I bought a engagement stamped 14k 585. But underneath the settings on the inside of the ring the yellow gold turns silver…. Did I buy a fake?

  76. I bought a bracelet at a garage sale… it’s cute and was only a buck, so I don’t really care what it is made of, but it looks like it may be silver & gold…. but the inside is stamped 1925/814K…. all mushed together in one line with no spaces, exactly as typed… I know 925 would be high purity silver and 14K would be gold… but was thrown off by the 1 and the 8 directly in front of those numbers… does that mean anything to anyone?

  77. can anyone tell me what “Kt18″ means? this is stamped on a pair of earrings I found at a yard sale. I know what 18Kt means but this is backwards, I’ve never seen any other jewelry marked this way.

    thanks alot

  78. I have an antique wedding band I purchased in the czech republic it is stamped “nuegold” and also “OL” also dated 1912 . Can anyone tell me what this neugold means? There is no other stamp indicating a karat or percentage of gold otherwise but it id definetly some amount of gold

  79. I have a pair of earrings marked pat.p 10k are they real?

  80. what about a ring stamped 14kt (100) what does the 100 mean? also i have a silver ring stamped 14kt (tw) what does that mean? i hope you can help me……im feeling very confused.. also does (any) type of gold have the stamp 925 on it or is that strickly sterling silver? and can it be gold in color with the stamp 925 italy? because i have one like that. thanx….totally confused

  81. comment already submitted no# 80

  82. i have a ring that is 14kt ge is it worth anything at all or not

  83. Hello i have a silver chain and it has stamped 14k on it and on another place it says Italy it is pretty heavy but idk if its gold because the chain is Siler not gold but it says 14 k so yeah

  84. I have a necklace that is stamped 14k, quite heavy no other trademarks, slightly discolored (if you call dim discolored/tarnished) close examination I can’t tell if it’s fake or real. It passes the bite test (tiny tooth mark with very little effort at all). The piece is barely magnetic at all, and I do mean barely. An earth magnet could hardly even get a reaction from it. I’ve heard that antique metals can sometimes be pure gold with magnetic alloys. I just think it’s worth looking into. I’d even be willing to cut it in half to see if it’s pure gold on the inside.

  85. I have a yellow gold ring that is stamped 18kt gea but the a is circled. Is this real or electropated ?

  86. I got a chain that looks silver but has 14 italy stamped on it…..

  87. I have a Hamiliton watch with 14K Gold B&A 829076 stamped on the back. what does this mean? also the band has Kestenmade 1/20-10KGF USA with a pat # on it any value?

  88. Please help me I found a pendant with the marking on the outside where you would stick the chain in it says 925BLC one after another it has a littlte diamond circle and under that theres another stone looks pinkish and bluish when in the light can you tell me what it is
    Thank you kindly

  89. I have a gold ring stamp with( A A14k)what it’s?

  90. I have a 24 inch gold rope chain on the clasp it has 14k on one side & OR with a heart around itt on the other then on the opposite clasp its got WG with a heart around it what do these stamps mean?

  91. My gold necklace is stamped 10k ng. What does it mean?

  92. Bought a beautiful pair of gold hoop earrings off ebay. Looks like gold to me but cannot find any markings.seller said they were solid 14k gold. Is it possible to not be labelled

  93. Hey I have a gold pendant but I don’t know what the hall mark means it has ng 14k what does that mean ? Thank you

  94. Hi, my great grandmother had just passed away a couple of months ago and my great grandpa had let me go through her jewelry to see if I wanted anything. I came across a gold ring, though I don’t know if it’s real or not. it has 14K but then after there is like a sideways “M” or “W”. Then there is a “W” and three o’s. It would be really nice to know if it were real or not. Thanks!

  95. I have a heavy yellow gold color bracelet with a marking of Italy
    18….no K after the 18 marking… Would this bracelet be gold?

  96. I have a 18k yellow gold wedding band their are six stamps inside the ring , nw, 750, what looks like a small crown , v5, another crown but bigger and last the 18k stamp iv been trying for so long to find out more about this ring anything will be much appreciated

  97. hello i have a silver color tone necklace i had found and it says 14k B on it. Im not quite sure what that stands for. Can you help me please.

  98. Hello i have a ring. Inside it i has Q 750 italy. White gold ring. Could it be fake or real? i just want to know . Thanks

  99. I have 3 rings. One is silver and gold with a small cluster of diamonds on top engraved with 10k and right in front of the 10k it look like a 0 with a slash through it.
    Next ring. Is a silver and blue (sapphire) silver ring that says925 IWBR in it and lastly I have a silver ring with a nice size diamond in it and it says 925 CA inside. Can anyone please tell me if I can get anything out of them or if they are real. Thank you..

  100. I received an unusual tarnished gold chain. On the clasp is stamped 24KOL. The clasp is very soft and bright gold. Looks antique. I’ve never seen links like this, sparkly not smooth and little prices almost like it’s wrapped around thread. Has any on seen anything like this? Could this be 24 k gold and what does the “OL” stand for? I read a comment on this page from a few years ago asking same question, but there was no reply. Thanks Of anyone may know and send me a reply.

  101. I received an unusual tarnished gold chain. On the clasp is stamped 24KOL. The clasp is very soft and bright gold. Looks antique. I’ve never seen links like this, sparkly not smooth and little prices almost like it’s wrapped around thread. Has any on seen anything like this? Could this be 24 k gold and what does the “OL” stand for? I read a comment on this page from a few years ago asking same question, but there was no reply. Thanks Of anyone may know and send me a reply.

  102. Hello I have a ring that says 10k g.f with some sort of upside down diamond with flat top beside 10k what does this meen?

  103. I have a pocket watch t-bar and swivel that are stamped (1/4 gold)……what does it mean ?

  104. i have some old jewerly that i am not sure if its real gold or not, the little tags says “korea” but thats it?

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