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A One Minute Quick Guide to Jewellery Hallmarks

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What To Look For When Buying Jewellery

With another Valentine’s Day almost upon us, you may be about to embark on the daunting task to find that special piece of jewellery for a loved one. The thought of tackling the limitless array of jewellery available and the cost involved, can make even the veteran shopper break out in a sweat.  A little bit of research before you start can help you with the ‘jargon’, give you tips on what to look for with jewellery hallmarks and deciphering what they mean.

Don't worry! We have we written this blog to get you up to speed and help you make that purchase a smooth stress free experience. So let's get to it.


Gold in its pure form is 24ct or 24K. The CT or K are interchangeable depending on your geographical location. This number refers to the purity of the gold. The higher the number, the more pure the gold. 24ct in its pure form is very soft and unsuitable for everyday wear and tear so it is mixed or alloyed with other metals to alter its hardness and often its colour for example, Rose Gold and White Gold. Another way of noting the purity is by the number only. 18ct gold can be written as 750 or 750 parts per 1000 pure gold. This means that 18ct is 75% pure gold.


Pure or fine silver, like pure gold is also very soft. Most silver used in jewellery today has been mixed or alloyed with another metal, nearly always copper to make it harder and more durable. For Silver to be called Sterling Silver it must have at least 92.5% Fine Silver in its composition.


Platinum is a precious white with a colour similar to silver. It is considered the most prestigious of all the precious metals. It is popular for metal for jewellery as it is highly durable and very unlikely that a person will have any allergies to it. It is also a truly white metal unlike the white golds which have a slight yellowish tinge and require plating. 

Gold And Silver Granules - Jewellery Shops Online - Bowerbird Jewels

This table below lists out the different markings that can be placed on the various metals. It lists the most common stamps used in jewellery today. 

Metal Type


24ct Gold

24ct or 24K

18ct Gold

18ct, 18K  or 750

14ct Gold

14ct, 14K or 585

10ct Gold

10ct, 10K or 417

9ct Gold

9ct, 9K or 375

Sterling Silver



PT, PLAT, PT950 (95% pure platinum) PT900 (90% pure platinum)


These are by no means the only hallmarks used, but they will be the most common used on jewellery today. Gold plated, gold filled and costume jewellery will not have these hallmarks, so rest assured when you buy from a reputable jeweller and you see one of the markings listed above you can feel confident that you have selected a precious metal.

At Bowerbird Jewels we sell only Sterling Silver and Gold jewellery. If an item is plated it will always be Sterling Silver base plated with gold plating. We make sure that our jewellery follows the international standards for identification.  

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