What does “925” On Gold Jewelry Mean? (Pros & Cons)

The sign 925 is a hallmark commonly used to denote silver and silver jewelry.

However, you can sometimes see it as a mark on gold jewelry, giving you information about the metal type used and its authenticity.

Finding a 925 mark on your gold jewelry doesn’t mean that it is fake. Therefore, you should check what does 925 on gold jewelry mean before discarding it. Let’s see.

Gold

Gold is a soft yellow metal easy to process. It is necessary to mix this precious metal with other metals to strengthen it and make it more practical to design. You should know that the term Karat denotes gold purity, and the 24K sign marks pure gold.

Believe it or not, gold is the most often used metal for jewelry making, and up to 75% of the total gold produced in the world goes to this purpose. Depending on the metal it is alloyed with, gold can contain different gold shades, including:

  • White
  • Green
  • Red
  • Blue

Gold purity

When we talk about gold purity, most experts mainly use terms like:

  • Pure gold
  • Solid gold
  • White gold

It is also crucial to distinguish between the terms Karat and Carat. You will use the term Karat with K to determine tor the gold purity. On the other hand, a Carat with C is used to measure the gems’ weight. It is equal to 0.00705 ounces (0.2 grams, 200 mg).

Gold purity

Karat Parts gold to alloy Fineness Percentage
24 K 24 / 24 999 100 %
22 K 22 / 24 917 91.66 %
18 K 18 / 24 750 75.00 %
14 K 14 / 24 583 58.33 %
10 K 10 / 24 417 41.67 %
9 K 9 / 24 375 37.50 %

Using a Karat grade to express a gold alloy quality and the gold percentage is practical. Gold is ranged from 24K to 9K, depending on the gold content in a jewelry piece that ranges from 100% to only 37% gold.

Solid gold vs. plated gold

When you find 14K gold jewelry, you can be sure that the whole piece is made of 14 Karat gold. On the other hand, you can find gold-plated jewelry. In such a case, the piece is made from another metal plated with a thin layer of gold.

Keep in mind that a gold-plated piece of jewelry can contain 24K gold, but the layer is thin, making this gold worthless. Gilding is always measured by molecules number that lines a piece of jewelry, so you should be careful when choosing one.

Another catch is that some pieces of jewelry have a stamp similar to a real gold mark. For instance, you can see a sign like 14KHGE (hydrostatic gold plating) or 18KGE (gold plating). Those are not real gold.

White and red gold

Gold is a yellow metal that becomes redder by adding copper. On the other hand, gold becomes lighter and whitish by adding silver or zinc.

The white color of gold is obtained by carefully selected alloying metals that bleach the gold color. It can reach up to 21K, and jewelers often use it to make jewelry with diamonds and other precious stones.

Jewelry Stamps

Now, let’s find out what jewelry stamps mean. The sure sign you have jewelry made of pure gold is when you see the mark from 9K to 24K as the only stamp on the piece. It always determines the Karat fineness of gold.

Another way of stamping includes 375, 585, and 917 marks, determining the amount of gold. Remember that the Karat sign refers to how many parts of 24 are pure gold, while that number is 1,000 in this case. In other words, your jewelry can contain 375, 585, or 917 parts out of 1,000 when it is pure gold.

However, you can also see other hallmarks showing you that this piece of jewelry contains a metal other than gold. Let’s see.

  • 900, 900PT, PT900, 950, 950PT, PT950 – These marks denote jewelry made from one of the two most commonly used platinum alloys. The number indicates how many parts of metal were used per 1,000 parts of platinum.
  • 925 – Jewelry with this stamp is made of silver. It must contain 92.5% pure silver and only 7.5% other mixed elements to be legally considered sterling silver.
  • GP – Jewelry with this stamp is made of some metal plated with gold. Most often, you will notice the Karat fineness of the plating stated. For instance, 14KGP.
  • HGE – Hydrostatic gold plating is also a stamp that indicates the jewelry is not made of pure gold. Generally, these pieces have a Karat fineness mark, like 18KHE.
  • GF – It is a sign of gold-filled jewelry. This stamp means that a thin layer of gold is wrapped around silver or other base metal to give this jewelry a gold exterior.
  • Gold without a stamp – Usually, gold has one of the typical stamp types. However, you can come across a piece of old gold jewelry that doesn’t have a stamp. In that case, you should go to the jeweler and have it tested.

What Does Stamp 925 On Gold Jewelry Mean?

The 925 stamp is a hallmark that confirms the metal authenticity and quality. It is relatively common, and you will find it on both silver and gold jewelry, but with different meanings.

When you find this mark on silver jewelry, it indicates that it is about sterling silver and refers to its standard quality rating. That means your jewelry contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy, most often copper.

Most people believe that this hallmark indicates that jewelry contains 92.5% gold when finding it on gold jewelry. However, 925 gold jewelry is actually sterling silver plated with gold, better known as gold vermeil or costume jewelry.

For jewelry to be accepted in the US as gold vermeil, it must be plated with at least 10K gold, meaning that the gilding should be 42% gold, at minimum.

The second condition is that the plating thickness can’t be thinner than 2.5 microns. In other words, the thickness of the gold plating for gold vermeil is more significant than for gold plated jewelry. That is why you can mix up solid gold jewelry with gold vermeil.

Stamp 925 Italy

The hallmark 925 Italy is not rare and is the same thing as the 925 stamps. It only means that the jewelry originated in Italy.

Is 925 gold worth buying?

Gold vermeil jewelry is quite popular and still has some value because it is made of quality gold-plated sterling silver. However, be aware that jewelry with a 925 stamp is not an investment because its value is significantly less than gold jewelry.

Gold-plated jewelry

You have one more option at your disposal, but be aware that gold-plated jewelry is not made of real gold. It is most often made of a cheaper metal type with an electrically or chemically applied thin layer of gold. This layer is usually 1/1,000 to 1/3,000 inches thick.

925 Gold Jewelry Advantage and Disadvantages

Buying 925 gold jewelry can have its advantages and disadvantages. Even though the value of this jewelry is not high enough to be an investment, buying 925 jewelry can have its positive sides.

Pros

The look of authentic gold – Although it bears the stamp 925, and you know that jewelry is not solid gold, this jewelry often looks very authentic. In fact, most people can’t tell the difference.

Limited budget – If you only care about your jewelry look and can’t afford solid gold, 925 gold is a good choice. It will cost you less and look almost like the real thing at the same time.

Moreover, you can ensure the variety of your jewelry by buying gold vermeil. For instance, you can buy 5 to 10 gold vermeil for the value of one piece of solid gold.

Allergies – Allergies are often a cause for concern when it comes to jewelry. Materials used as bases for gold-plated jewelry can cause allergic reactions, but gold will protect your skin.

Keep in mind that plated-gold jewelry will change when the gold layer wears out over time. However, the one with a 925 stamp is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

Cons

Gold plating will wear out over time since the gold layer is often very thin. Therefore, you need to get gold-plated jewelry re-coated from time to time. It can be every few years or months, depending on:

  • The quality and making method
  • Maintenance
  • How often you wear jewelry

Since re-covering typically costs $30 to $65, it can cost you the same or even more than buying solid gold jewelry in the long run.

Summary

Stamp 925 provides information on gold-plated jewelry that looks like solid gold. Basically, jewelry with the 925 marks is sterling silver coated with a thin gold layer. With this piece, you will get beautiful gold vermeil at an affordable price.

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