Is it Gold?
Most gold items are marked with karat stamp – a measure of an item’s purity or fineness. 24k is 100% pure gold. Items marked less than 24k are pure gold alloyed with other non-precious metals. For example, 10k, 14k, and 18k are 42%, 58% and 75% fine gold respectively. Most rings will have karat stamp inside the band while necklaces and bracelets are typically marked on the clasp. Gold plated items marked GF (gold filled), GP (gold plated), and RGP (rolled gold plate) have almost no discernible gold value.
Is it Silver?
Almost all mass produced silver jewelry, flatware and hollowware is sterling silver – silver that is alloyed with other non-precious metals. Most sterling is marked with the word sterling or 925, identifying it is 92.5% pure (fine).
As with gold, sterling markings appear on the inside of rings or on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet. The 925 marking can also be found on most sterling flatware and hollowware.
Like gold, silver plated items hold no discernible silver value. Common silver plate markings include EPNS (electro plated not sterling), German Silver, and Nickel Silver.
Circulated US Silver Coins
All US circulated Dimes, Quarters and Half Dollars dated pre-1965, commonly referred to as US90, are 90% silver. Kennedy half dollars minted 1965-1970 are 40% silver. These coins are referred to as US40.
Is Your Gold or Silver Item Unmarked?
A simple initial test is to hold magnet to the item. Non-magnetic metals might be gold or silver while magnetic metals definitely are not. If it is magnetic it is definitely not gold or silver (note that this does not imply that it is gold or silver).
If you would like to know for sure, bring your items to our office. We will test them using an industry standard acid test or our state-of-the-art spectrometer, a machine that uses laser light to determine the exact chemical makeup of an item without damaging it.
Contact us today for a Free Appraisal or simply stop by our office in the heart of the Diamond District on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. We are here to help!
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