How can I tell if my jewellery is gold, silver or another metal?

Most jewellery is stamped somewhere on its surface. On rings it is typically on the inside of the shank, but, can also be under the head or sometimes on the outside of the shank at the back or side of the ring. Earrings with ear wires or posts may have the stamp on the wire part of the earring. Pendants may have the stamp somewhere on the main section or may have the bale stamped. Precious metal jewellery made in Canada MUST, by law have a quality mark and a manufacturer’s trademark on the item as a minimum or NO stamp at all. That means it must have either both marks, or neither. In some countries, EACH link of a gold chain must have a karat stamp and manufacturer’s trademark. This is not required in Canada. If your jewellery has no marking, or, if you are unsure that the mark is correct, we can test the karat of the jewellery and tell you gold content. There is a small charge for this service; typically $10 per item.

10 karat gold will usually be stamped 10k or 417. 10k means that the item is 10 parts in 24 gold, and the remaining 14 parts in 24 is alloy. 10/24=.417 which means that the item is 41.7% gold. This is why some 10k gold is stamped 417. Just as an aside, it is the metals in the alloy that determine the colour of the gold; typically yellow, white, or rose (pink).

Similarly, 14k gold may be stamped 583, 18k gold may be stamped 750, and 22k gold may be stamped 917. Because 24k gold is very soft, jewellery is seldom made in pure 24k gold.

Sterling Silver is usually stamped 925 or Sterling. 925 or Sterling means that the item is 92.5% silver and the remaining 7.5% is alloy.

If you have questions about jewellery, please let us know. We can be reached by e-mail at, or via Facebook (, or twitter (@exquisite gold). If you are in the area, please drop by our showroom at 1094 Memorial Ave, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Exquisite Gold & Gems Inc