The karat weight of gold is usually found on the the clasp of modern jewelry, on bracelets and necklaces. For rings – the karat mark is usually found on the inside of the shank of the ring. So look where your finger touches the metal when you where it and that’s where it’ll usually be found. For pieces like earrings, it’s often on the post. (the part that goes through the ear) And for items like a money clip or cufflinks, I always try to find it on the back of the item. It’s not always easy to see and at my age, I almost always have to have a magnifying glass to see most of the marks. But virtually every piece of jewelry sold has a mark – because the seller WANT you to know it’s valuable. They WANT you to pay the most they can get for it. So they mark it.
If it’s not marked, it’s probably not gold…probably. Of course there are exceptions. If the mark is unfamiliar, you could miss it…if it’s in another language (many Middle Eastern pieces are marked in Arabic) you might not realize what it is…sometimes it’s not 14K, but instead is “585”. That’s an indicator that it’s 58.5% gold content – which is the content of 14 karat gold.
So while there are a variety of marks, most will be of the following type:
For 1oK – 10K or 417
For 14K – 14K or 585
For 18K 18K or 750 (sometimes in a diamond)
For 21K 21K or 875
For 22k 22K or 916
The numbers are the percentage of gold that will be in the piece – contrary to common belief, all jewelry is not solid gold. Most of the gold made in America is in fact, only a bit more than half gold. But finding the mark is the first step to valuing your own gold. Then you don’t have to rely on a dealer to give you the information, you can do it yourself and be confident that you have enough information that you won’t be at a disadvantage when you are negotiating…