Stamps or marks on gold jewelry are called “quality marks.” The quality marks represent the content and purity of the metal that the jewelry is made of. Gold jewelry can also have stamps, called “hallmarks,” that represent who made the item.
In the Middle Ages, the science of alchemy emerged. Alchemists tried to turn metals such as tin and iron into gold. People would bite into jewelry to see if it was soft enough to leave an impression; this would determine whether it was gold. Gold is a soft metal.
Jewelry stamps are required to protect consumers. Hallmarks and quality stamps on jewelry also allow the jewelry pieces to be identified as to who made the items.
Common stamps on jewelry in the United States are karat gold stamps that identify the karat amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry. Some jewelry might be marked “HE,” which stands for “gold electroplate.”
Ensuring that consumers are purchasing a piece of jewelry that is made of the metal they have been told it is guarantees fairness and quality. Knowing the history of where an item of jewelry was made and who made it also provides credibility. Gold jewelry is generally expensive, and knowing the history of that item is important.
Foreign-made jewelry also has marking standards.