Many people who buy gold often own pieces that are not clear whether they are gold or not. At Airport Plaza Jewelers The Kiosk, we will gladly go over whatever you bring in, and correctly identify it for you. Many of our customers, however, want to know how to identify gold items on their own.
You’ll likely need a magnifying glass unless you have exceptional eye sight. Make sure you have good lighting so that you don’t strain your eyes. All you really need to do is search the piece carefully for a gold mark. On rings it will be on the inside, on earrings it will be on the post, and on chains it will be on both ends near the clasps or on the clasp.
Since the Gold and Silver Stamping act of 1906 identifying gold has become a lot easier. It used to be that gold plated jewelry could say things like “genuine gold,” and really be gold plated over another metal, often gold filled or gold shell. It did contain genuine gold after all, but there is so little there as to make the gold value next to nothing. This deceptive practice was made illegal and it became easier to identify your pieces as real gold.
The approved markings each mean that an item is gold, not merely gold plated, and let you know exactly how much gold is in each of them. Ten karat gold is marked with either “10k” or “417″ directly on the item. Since 24 karat gold is pure gold, 10 karat gold is 10/24ths pure (or 10 divided by 24 which equals .417). Fourteen karat is marked 14k or 585. Fourteen karat gold is 14/24ths pure (so 14 divided by 24 is .585). It’s the same for all karats. Gold is either marked with the karat (8k, 10k, 12k, 14k, 18k, 21k, 22k, and anything in between) or with the percentage (334, 417, 500, 585, 750, 875, 917). If your piece of jewelry or other items have this marking, then it the likely gold, and we’d be happy professionally evaluate it for you and pay you cash for it at The Kiosk.
Be aware that fraudulent and deceptive practices still exist today despite the stamping act. One way that gold filled, or gold plated items are legally marked is with a fraction, most commonly 1/10 or 1/20. If your item says “1/20 12k” then it is not twelve karat gold, it is merely plated in 12k gold. Unless these items have a collectors value (and we’d be happy to examine them to find out at Airport Plaza Jewelers The kiosk), they don’t have much of a cash value.
While most jewelry makers are honest, and follow the law, there are some that don’t. If you’ve ever seen a guy selling chains from his coat on a street corner, you can guess that there are fakes. Some jewelry is stamped as gold even though it’s not. Learning to identify these is a long process, and best done by professionals like the ones you’ll find at Airport Plaza Jewelers. Even if you aren’t selling and you want to know if a piece is gold, feel free to bring it in to Airport Plaza Jewelers The Kiosk and we’ll gladly check it over. Remember, if it’s real gold, we buy it for cash at The Kiosk.