You have probably noticed that precious metal items have stamps or marks on them. Marking jewelry, coins, and even kitchen items have been a custom from ancient times. Therefore, valuable metal items have often been objects of forgery and fraud.
That is why the jewelers and coins makers decided to implement stamping as a unique way of marking their products and protecting them from the fraudster. You can determine what does 925 on the ring means and how much is it worth by checking its stamp and weight. Let’s take a look at a few facts and tricks to examine this subject closer.
Markings and Stamping
Usually, the stamp on the ring is placed on its inside side. It can be pretty small, therefore prepare a magnifying glass to see it precisely. Sometimes, the stamp can be a letter, several letters, numbers, or even the combination of letters and numbers.
You can be confused because sometimes different markings on the ring mean the same thing, and it can trick the inexperienced observer. So, you should take a good look at markings that can be found and read about marking 925 and all its versions.
Basically, 925 is a hallmark for silver of high quality. Let’s see why that particular number. A silver item with 1,000 units of this metal is made of pure silver. However, pure silver, or so-called fine silver, is very soft and impractical to work with.
Moreover, only a few items or details on the items can be pure silver, such as some ornaments and decorations on earrings or some pendants. All other parts are made of silver mixed with a certain percentage of alloys.
Mark 925 is the most common when we talk about silver jewelry and coins. Such jewelry contains 92.5% of silver and only 7,5% of other alloys. Its characteristics are impressive as it is a firm and strong metal that can withstand scratching and mechanical impacts. Jewelers enjoy making rings, bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry out of it.
The same percentage of silver can have different markings, but 925 one is the most common. That is because the stamping has changed a lot over the centuries. However, the reason is not just a historical period but also a geographical background. Let’s see.
Stamping Throughout the History
Besides 925, you can also find the hallmarks 800, 958, and 999 connected to silver. Sometimes you can even find a stamp saying Italy or even a lion statue hallmark. As you can conclude, 999 is fine silver, while 800 has just 80% of this precious metal.
If you come along to old Egyptian silver, you should remember that it contains only 60% silver. It means that you can be tricked that the ring is worth a lot. On the contrary, it has just 600 out of 1,000 units of silver, so it is not that pure and is almost worthless.
Earlier, every craft shop in Europe trading with silver marked it differently. Each piece of jewelry had its own stamp with details like the date of jewelry manufacturing or the shop name.
The Italy sign or a lion hallmark represents the 925-quality silver that comes from this European country. If your silver ring has one of these marks, you can be sure that you have a perfectly fine piece of jewelry.
Some silver origins can show that silver is not that good in quality and impure. Except for Egyptian, German silver can also have an 800 hallmark. It means not such a good quality of silver.
In the US, all silver items had hallmarks Sterling or Sterling silver until the 1860s. However, that changed over time. Almost all rings and other jewels got the marking 925 in a period from the 1960s to 1970s. Such markings always confirm that you have a 92.5% silver piece of jewelry.
To be sure you have the valuable silver ring, you should purchase the one with the following marks, including 925, Sterling, Sterling silver, STG, SS, STER, the Italy sign, and a lion hallmark.
In case you come upon some other hallmark on some old jewelry, you can always test it with a local jeweler to check its value.
Gold Ring with 925 Hallmarks
Sometimes, you will come upon a gold ring with a 925 hallmark. Don’t worry! Nobody tries to fool you since it is probably the regular silver ring, even though it looks like it is made of gold.
Sometimes the silver rings are gold plated, and they indeed have gold on the outside layer. Therefore, when the hallmark says 925, it means beneath the thin gold layer is silver.
In cases like these, you shouldn’t pay more than the real worth of the silver ring. Unfortunately, the thin layer of gold won’t increase its value too much.
Markings on the Gold-Plated Silver Rings
Keep in mind that the markings on the gold-plated silver ring can be a bit different. Except for 925 hallmarks, you can find letters such as GP (golden plated) and GEP (golden electroplated). These stamps only show various procedures of coating the silver item with gold.
Hallmarks for silver rings
|Hallmarks for gold plated silver rings|
|Various letters and numbers|
As you can see, the markings for silver rings and silver rings plated with gold are entirely different. So, you won’t mix them up the next time you want to buy a ring for some special occasion.
How Much Does the 925 Ring Cost?
Unfortunately, the silver ring doesn’t cost a lot. In fact, its price is far less when compared to the gold ring of the same weight. The price of one gram of gold and a gram of silver is not even comparable.
The price of silver is not stable, and many things can affect it. So, you can use an online calculator to get the actual ring price. In any case, buying a silver ring will save you a lot of money compared to purchasing a gold one.
Let’s consider some prices for silver rings according to their models and weights. The rings with more details and with gems and rocks will cost more than simple wedding silver rings. However, you shouldn’t pay either option too expensive.
|1 gram||1 ounce|
Simple silver ring
Nowadays, you can purchase some simple 925 rings for less than $1, while you will pay up to $15 for the more complex models and those richer in style. On the other hand, if you choose a diamond ring made of Sterling silver, it will cost you much more, even $1,150.
Gold-plated silver ring
However, some 925 gold-plated rings may cost a bit more, and you need to pay $14 to $20 for an average 925 silver ring with 14K gold coating. It is much cheaper than buying a 14K gold ring, and yet you have a nice blinking piece, which is also valuable as beneath the gold is pure silver.
When you buy Sterling silver ring plated with gold, there is another thing you should be aware of. The gold coating will wear off in time, and the silver will become visible. If you don’t mind, then maybe this cheaper solution is perfect for you.
How to Test the Silver Quality
It is always the best idea to check your silver ring in the certified jewelry store or pawnshop. It is a simple and easy task so that it won’t take long to find out what you have.
The professional will scrape a bit of your ring from a hidden place. The next step is applying a nitric acid on that silver. If you spot a milky white color, you can be sure that you have Sterling silver. Unfortunately, you will know that you have fake silver or just a ring with a silver coating if it goes green.
If you get into a situation that someone offers you an unmarked ring, I strongly suggest not buying it. Usually, it is just some cheap metal plated with a thin layer of silver. You should always purchase stamped rings to avoid wasting your money.
On the other hand, having or seeing a ring that looks like silver but has strange hallmarks usually means that you probably possess a valuable antique piece. Yes, you can still find some models made in the period when every jewelry store had its stamps. The best you can do is to test the piece of jewelry you have.
No matter if your ring is silver or gold-plated, you should check the hallmark and pay the fair price accordingly. Of course, the rings price will depend on the quality of silver and the ring model you like. However, other details, such as embedded gemstone, personalized engraving, ornaments, millgrain, size, and weight, will also affect the overall ring price.