How to Identify the Karat of a Gold Ring

Is your gold ring the real deal?

Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

Buying or receiving gold jewelry is at the top of many ladies' wish lists. There's just something about they way the sparkling gold looks against your skin. Unfortunately; however, not all gold is what it is cracked up to be, as some dishonest merchants will pawn lower-graded gold as a higher quality. If you want to know from what gold your bauble is created, simply do a bit of investigating.


Scope out a stamp. All genuine gold jewelry is required by law to feature a stamp that states the karat of gold in which it is made. Rings typically have this information stamped on the inside of the band.


Know your numbers. Gold created in North America works by the karat system and will feature a number followed by a K. For instance, if you see "10K," your gold is 10-karat, which means it contains 10 parts gold to 24 parts alloy. "24K" is the mark of 24-karat gold.


Find the fineness score. Gold created in other parts of the world, such as Italy, uses a fineness scale instead of the karat system. Therefore, you may spot a three-digit code instead of the karat marker. For instance, 14-karat gold is identified as "583" on the fineness scale and 18-karat is 750.

Tips & Tricks


If your gold looks extremely yellow, it is likely less than 10 karats. Material that is less than 10 karats can't legally be sold as legitimate gold.

If you are still unsure about your gold's identity, take it to a jewelry store for an examination. The jeweler may be able to tell you about the karat of your gold. You can also take your gold to a quality assurance lab in which the karat is determined by an X-ray.


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