Through the centuries, miners have been pan handling for gold in different parts of the world. Gold is a type of chemical element present in the gravels and bedrock of the earth. This precious metal is very rare that it is not a surprise for it to be highly sought after. Gold was, is, and will probably remain in demand in the world of jewelry.
This is why it is important to be familiar with the different kinds of gold and even gold stamps that you might encounter.
Whether you are a certified gold collector or you simply adore gold in general, chances are you have already come across some gold pieces featuring the 925 stamp. The stamp is something that you will stumble upon in the jewelry market. This is why it is important to know what 925 gold is in the first place.
You probably saw the 925 stamp in sterling silver. As far as sterling silver is concerned, the 925 stamp pertains to the standard quality grade, which is 92.5% silver to 7.5% alloy. Having said this, is this equation also applicable to 925 gold? The short answer is no.
If you ever see the 925 stamp, chances are this doesn’t apply or refer to the gold itself. Now, if this is not an indication of the gold’s purity, what does 925 gold mean then?
925 Gold Defined
It is common to see gold pieces stamped with the 925 hallmark. When you speak of 925 gold, it means that the jewelry piece is silver that is plated with gold and not necessarily solid gold. The 925 hallmark simply states the purity of the metal that lies underneath and not the purity of the plating used. This kind of metal is also called gold vermeil that is often used for pretty pieces of costume jewelry.
Some people might try to convince you that 925 gold means that the piece is 92.5% gold. It is not true, though, and is merely a misconception.
925 is not considered as an accepted value for the purity of gold and it is not connected in any way to the common karat numbers that are used to denote gold purity.
Karatage is commonly used to classify gold and the most popular karat numbers include 18K, 12K, 14K, 9K, and 10K. It indicates the amount of gold purity in a piece and the highest number of karats is 24K.
It means that 24K is 99.9% gold, 22K is 91.7% gold, 18K is 75% gold, 14K is 58% gold, 10K is 41.7% gold, and 9K is 39.7% gold.
If this is the case, what would 925 gold be?
925 is going to be 16.65K gold that is not a common value of gold purity. The closest grade of purity to 925 gold is 22K that is 91.7%.
Gold plated sterling silver jewelry is hard to distinguish from solid gold.
Dishonest retailers might try convincing you that 925 gold is a type of the solid gold since silver is much cheaper than gold and doing this will be more favorable to them. Never fall for such deceitful tactics. You can always check the hallmark or requires a professional jeweler to perform an acid test on the piece to determine the level of gold purity of the metal.
Common Variations to 925
There are instances when you will see things such as Sterling Silver, STG, STERLING, or STER on a jewelry piece. All of these mean one thing and that the piece is actually 925 silver.
925 EP is another stamp that you might see. It means sterling silver with thin gold coating electro plated on the piece. Simply put, this is the hallmark for gold vermeil.
If a gold piece bears the stamp that states 925 Italy, it means that it is silver made in Italy and plated with gold.
Why is 925 Stamped on Gold Jewelry?
Disclosure is the main reason why 925 is stamped on gold pieces in the first place. For instance, a sterling silver that is plated in 14K gold has the exact same appearance as a ring that is completely made of 14K gold. Since more gold was used for making the solid gold ring, it will have a higher price than a sterling silver ring plated with gold.
Aside from that, the 925 stamp found on the inside part of a gold ring informs the buyers that they don’t need to pay for the gold plated version with the price of that of solid gold.
A jewelry item made from solid gold with no base metal at the center will be stamped with numbers such as the 24, 18, 14, and 10 followed right away by the letter K or KT. This stamp indicates the purity of the gold used for making the piece. Once again, these stamps inform you of the metals used for the different parts of the piece that you cannot see or the parts that lie under the surface.
Should You Buy 925 Gold?
To be honest, there is really nothing wrong if you buy a piece of gold jewelry stamped with 925 provided that you are sure that it is really gold vermeil. In case you are still in doubt, you can always ask the retailer. Reputable retailers will be more than happy to disclose such details to you.
You also need to remember that gold plated jewelry pieces are not created equal. Two of the most important things you need to consider are the gold plating’s thickness and the specific type of base metal used. You might be disappointed if you purchase from the wrong maker.
There are also manufacturers that only produce cheap jewelry that appears great when it is still new without bothering to make durable and long lasting pieces. The coating on rings with thin plating might just last for several weeks before you notice the base metal showing through the surface.
While quality plated rings might cost you a bit more, the additional investment will be more than worth it if you want to get a piece of 925 gold that you can enjoy and use for a long time.