How do you think jewelers talk to each other? Given that jewelry buying and selling is a centuries-old trade, jewelers have developed unique codes among themselves. Hallmarks like the “925A” mark are part of this code that jewelers use to determine whether a piece of heirloom jewelry has actual value. You’ll notice that these hallmarks and code numbers are barely discernible. They’re stamped inside rings or on the back of necklaces and are very easy to miss out on for inattentive shoppers. But, if you have an authentic piece of jewelry made from precious metals, it’s guaranteed to feature some form of hallmark or code number, whether made of gold, silver, or platinum. These hallmarks denote what materials pieces of jewelry contain, how much material they contain, and their authenticity.  

Evolution of Hallmarks

Hallmarks indicate the precious metal content of jewelry pieces. Hallmarks on jewelry pieces have been around for centuries. The one hallmark that has stood the test of history is the karat stamp. First used by European jewelers in the 14th century, the karate stamp is still used to denote the purity percentage of precious metals in jewelry pieces. Presently, the karat stamp is mainly used to denote the purity percentages of gold jewelry. The United States adopted this hallmark in the early 20th century and currently uses hallmarks like “14K” or “24K” to denote gold jewelry quality.

Silver Markings and the 925A Hallmark  

The 925A on jewelry pieces made of silver denotes the fact that these pieces of jewelry aren’t made of pure silver. These jewelry pieces only contain 92.5% pure silver. The remainder consists of base metals like copper or zinc. This type of silver (92.5% pure silver) is commonly known as ‘sterling silver.’ The “925” literally denotes the jewelry piece’s 92.5% pure silver content. Any letters next to the number “925” refer to British markings of the past. For instance, high-quality British-made sterling silver jewelry will bear the hallmark “925A” or “A.925.” Similarly, sterling silver jewelry made in Glasgow will feature the hallmark “925C,” and sterling silver jewelry made in Dublin will feature the hallmark “925E.” These hallmarks, however, are historic. The “925” stamp is enough to suggest the authenticity of sterling silver jewelry pieces.

What Shoppers Need to Know

Shoppers shouldn’t blindly trust all hallmarked jewelry items they see in stores. Hallmarks are fakeable. So, having jewelry items tested before and after purchase is vital. Shoppers should only purchase from jewelry stores with strong market reputations and track records of supplying high-quality hallmarked jewelry.