Gold items can fetch you a pretty penny in today’s gold-hungry market. And for those of you wanting to sell this precious metal, you’ll want to make sure that your gold jewelry is the real deal. So, while you are asking yourself, “what is the gold price in Canada?”, it might also be a good idea to check if that gold ring or necklace is truly authentic or just a cheap knockoff. To help you get the best return on your jewelry here is how to tell if your gold is fake.
Look for the hallmark
One of the easiest ways to test if your gold is real is to look at it. Most gold jewelry has engravings or markings verifying the carat weight. But keep in mind, stamps can fade over time—and counterfeiters have come up with some sophisticated ways of engraving. Checking for stamps or marks might not be the best foolproof test, but it’s a good place to start.
Try a magnet
Not all metals are created equal—some are magnetic, and some aren’t. Gold definitely falls into the “not” category. To test the authenticity of your jewellery, hold a magnet to it. If it sticks, it stinks. That said, many metals are non-magnetic, so you won’t want to solely rely on the magnet test to check if your gold is fake.
Drop it in water
A quick and easy way to test to see if you have an authentic piece of jewelry is to drop it in water. Gold is a heavy metal. So, if you place real gold in a cup of water, it should sink to the bottom. If it floats, you’ll know it is a fake.
Perform a liquid foundation test
The foundation test—it’s not the most reliable test, but it can work. Start by putting some liquid foundation on your forehead. Then, rub the gold piece across the covered area. If you see a black streak, you’ve got yourself some real gold.
Get it professionally appraised
Want to know without a shadow of a doubt if your gold is real or not? Have your jewelry appraised by a professional. Reliable gold buyers have the experience and the state-of-the-art equipment to test your gold for its authenticity.
Checking the authenticity of your gold isn’t tough—it just takes a little know-how and the right gold buyer. So, the next time you ask yourself, “what is the gold price in Canada?”, don’t forget to test if your gold items are real.
Planning on purchasing gold? Well, you’ll want to do your homework, first. Blunders happen. And when they do, mistakes can wind up costing money and headaches down the road. While there’s no doubt you can learn from your mistakes, sometimes, it’s just better to avoid them altogether. Don’t leave gold trading to trial and error. Here are the top mistakes to avoid when you’re searching for the best place to buy gold in B.C.
Leaving gold buyers out of the process
Buying gold is an exciting and confusing process. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get ripped off. When it comes to making the best purchasing decision possible, it’s always a good idea to consult with a specialist. They have the knowledge and the experience to thoroughly explain the procedure, helping you to dodge costly mistakes.
Not doing your research
Impulse buying. We’ve all been there. If you want to make the best buying decisions, you simply have to do your research. Learn about the gold buying and selling community, the items you plan to purchase, and how much they are worth—think karat count. Without the proper knowledge, you can leave yourself wide open to frustration, disappointment, and poor-quality gold.
Paying too much
Purchasing gold items can be tricky, so you’ll want to take a few steps to avoid paying too much. Remember, gold is a commodity. And like all commodities, the prices can vary from day to day. So, make sure that you’re not paying too much markup over the spot price of gold. It can be easy to check the price of gold in any currency online.
Going with the first gold seller you see
Not all gold sellers are created equal. Shopping around can take a little time, but to get quality gold items, it really is time well spent. Whether you’re going door-to-door or searching online, choose a reputable business that offers quality items at reasonable prices, saving you hassles and money. So, if you’re looking for superior jewelry, track down the best place to buy gold.
Buying gold in B.C. can be a little daunting—but it doesn’t have to be. With some research and the right gold seller, you’ll get quality gold items, without costing you an arm and a leg to get them.
For the best place the buy gold in B.C., contact Canada Gold today!
Are you planning to buy gold in Canada? Thinking about buying some jewelry? Picking up big ticket items like precious metals can be a challenge, especially if it is your first time. Gold jewelry is a wonderful gift—to be enjoyed for generations to come. So, before you plop down your money, it’s a smart idea to educate yourself in advance to avoid mistakes when purchasing jewelry. Whether you are purchasing gold in BC, Ontario, or anywhere else in Canada, here are some handy tips on how to buy gold the right way.
Skipping out on research
Buying gold can be a major investment. So, it’s a smart idea to do some research first. Spend a little time looking at price trends, checking out shops, browsing the latest styles and fashions, and visiting gold sellers’ websites to see what they have to offer. Taking the time to educate yourself on the ins and outs of buying gold now can save you some major money and mistakes later. Make sure you check a recent price for gold in Canada, or where ever you are selling.
Neglecting to check the purity
It’s true what they say, you really do get what you pay for. Can’t believe you got such a great deal on that glittery piece of gold jewelry? Well, before you pat yourself on the back for hitting the jackpot, you may want to check the purity. The purity of gold is measured in karats. And as you might have guessed, the higher the karat count, the higher the purity, and the more valuable the gold.
Not shopping around
Going with the first dealer you come across can cost you money and the chance to find something truly unique and stunning. It might take a little sleuthing, but it will be well worth it in the long run. From antique to brand name pieces, there is some great gold jewelry out there that you or your loved one will cherish forever—it just takes a little patience and homework.
Purchasing gold from an unreliable dealer
There are a lot of dealers out there—make sure to choose wisely. After all, you don’t want to get stuck with overpriced or fake gold jewelry. So, when it comes time to buy gold in Canada, go with a trusted dealer who offers beautiful, quality pieces, and provides honest prices that are market-based. And a word to the wise, if the dealer is not listed with the Better Business Bureau, move on.
Not all gold sellers are created equal. So, don’t put your hard-earned money in the hands of just anyone.
Buying gold can be a fun, but scary process if you’re not prepared. Being armed with the right information and a trusted gold seller will ensure you get quality gold items without overpaying for them.
Sell Gold with Confidence when you have the right buyer
Gold jewelry. You have it—lots of dealers want it. If you’ve got some unwanted gold items collecting dust in the bottom of your jewelry box, you might be thinking about trading them in for some extra cash. But selling your unwanted gold can be risky if it falls into the hands of shady gold buyers in Canada. To help save you a lot of heartache—and money—here are some handy tips on how to sell gold jewelry without getting ripped off.
Know the value of your gold jewelry
Before you even consider selling your unwanted gold jewelry, it pays to know the value of what you have. The amount of money you can expect to get for your items will be based on the purity, weight, and condition of the gold jewelry.
Wondering what to do to avoid getting undersold? Then you’ll want to check the market value of gold to get a rough estimate on the items you intend to sell. If you are still not sure how to figure out the value of your jewelry, you can always bring your unwanted gold items to reputable gold buyers in Canada to get a proper appraisal.
Separate your gems
If you’re strapped for cash and in a hurry to sell gold jewelry, you might make a costly mistake and forget to separate the gems. Failing to remove precious gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds can cost you a fortune if a dishonest buyer conveniently “forgets” to thoroughly and properly appraise your jewelry pieces.
When you sell gold, don’t just go with the first offer. Many crooked dealers will bet on the chance you are in a rush to sell and quote you an unfair price. Don’t get fooled into accepting a fast, low-ball offer. Visit multiple gold buyers in Canada and get a quote by each.
To avoid scams, make sure to find buyers that’ll test, sort, and weigh your jewelry right in front of you. Plus, only reliable gold buyers will offer a best price guarantee, ensuring you get the highest price for all your unwanted gold items. When it comes to your valuable gold jewelry, taking the time to shop around will go a long way to getting you the best price possible.
Don’t get ripped off when it comes time to sell your unwanted gold items. Making sure to arm yourself with the right information before you sell your gold jewelry will prevent dishonest gold buyers in Canada from pulling the wool over your eyes.
Do you have unused or broken gold jewelry that you’re thinking about selling? Trading in your unwanted gold is a fast and easy way to earn some extra money. But with so many buyers out there, it can be a real challenge finding the best place to sell your gold. To help cut through the confusion, here are some handy tips on how to choose the right gold buyers in Vancouver.
Reputation is key
There are a lot of gold buyers out there. Don’t trust your precious metal with just anyone. Are they accredited through the Better Business Bureau? Are they associated with other reputable companies in the industry like the Royal Canadian Mint or the Gemology Institute of America (GIA)—the leading experts of diamond analysis and grading. If a gold buyer doesn’t have quality service and the reputation to back it up, move on.
Not all gold buyers are created equal. If you’re thinking about bringing your items into a jewelry and gold buyer, make sure they have the proper experience. Knowledgeable businesses have fully-trained appraisers that will sort and weigh items in front of you, using the latest equipment.
Convenience makes all the difference
Gold buyer too far to get to? Do they only have one location? Selling your gold items doesn’t have to be difficult. Preferred buyers have multiple locations, making your life a little easier. And if their business is still out of your vicinity, the right gold buyers in Vancouver should offer a free and secure mail-in option for your convenience. Just think about it—you can turn your unwanted gold into cash without leaving the comfort of your home.
Reviews speak volumes
When it comes to choosing a gold buyer, you want to choose a trustworthy business—one that offers high quality service to their customers. Look online for reviews and testimonials. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references. A gold buyer should be more than willing to provide you with any client recommendations.
Now that you found a few Canada gold buyers, you’ll want to get some price quotes—you are, after all, trying to get the best possible return for your gold. When it comes to getting great prices, don’t settle for less. A reputable gold buyer will not only match any competitor’s written estimate, but also beat it.
Finding the right gold buyers in Vancouver can be a daunting task, especially if you are a first-time seller. Following these useful tips, however, will go a long way in helping you choose a professional, reliable, experienced gold buyer.
For a quality gold buyer in Vancouver, contact Canada Gold—Canada’s trusted neighbourhood gold buyers.
We believe that having the right information and knowing what your gold is worth is the most important thing to know when deciding to sell your gold. Used and second-hand industries – from pawnshops to used car lots – have a bad reputation when offering a fair price for gold and we believe this comes from the imbalance of information between dealer and seller. The dealers often know much more about their product and it’s true value than their customer. This often results in the dealer using that knowledge to their advantage and offering the lowest price they can. If you go into a pawnshop you might expect to get a low offer and negotiate from there. So, if they initially offer you $100 and you settle on $150 you might be very happy at first… until you learn that they would have been willing to pay $300 if needed.
We want to be a different kind of business and earn your trust with transparency and honesty by always offering a fair price. Here is how we aim to do that:
We share our payout percentages here to make it easy for you to understand our margins and “what’s in it for us”.
We list our gold prices online for what we offer on all gold jewellery on an up to the minute basis so you are never surprised.
There is absolutely no pressure to sell and no costs for testing to make it easy to shop around.
Where Does the Money Go: Our 2017 Gold Purchase Audit*:
91% – Payouts for their gold made directly to our customers. We pay a minimum of 80% on all scrap jewellery and much more for bullion, premium jewellery, and large amounts of gold. In 2017, our average payout for refined gold was 91% of the market rate of gold.
4.8% – Wages, Rent and Overhead.
2.7% – Marketing and outreach
2% – Profit
0.5% – refining cost
Our business is based off volume and we help people cash out on millions of dollars of gold every year. We strive to keep our costs as low as possible while still offering the highest level of expertise and a safe place to sell valuables.
Other businesses that pay less often have much lower volumes and much higher costs per dollar of gold they bring in.
Is Now the Right Time to Sell?
Our prices over time are based on two factors: the current market price of gold, and our percentage payout.
In terms of the market price for gold, as of early 2018, we are at about $1700/oz which is way above the long-term average and over 90% of the all-time high reached in 2012 of around $1800/oz. So, based on past gold prices, this is one of the best times to sell. Projecting forward is much harder and at any given moment you can find lots of varied opinions on whether gold prices and going to go up or down. We never try to time the market with our sales and refining, but we have lots of customers who keep a close eye on what’s happening with gold price to decide when to come in.
When we opened for business, gold was around $600/oz (compared to around $1700/oz as of May 2018) and our prices started at 73% of spot price for scrap gold – which was significantly over the industry average of 40%-50% offered by most local and mail-in buyers. As we have grown, higher volumes and better testing have allowed us to raise our starting and minimum prices to 80% of the market value in our gold. In addition, we now pay much higher prices for premium items such as bullion, coins, jewellery with diamonds, brand name items, and large purchases. Factoring in all gold purchases, our average cash for gold payout was 91% of spot price in 2017 – our highest payout percentage ever.
Do you pay the most?
A quick google search will find lots of articles like this one that show that most gold buyers across the industry pay between 30-60% of the market value for scrap gold. In Kiplinger.com’s post, one buyer even offered 9%! Canada Gold offers a minimum payment of 80% of the spot price of gold in Canada, and higher for bullion, premium items, and larger transactions. In many areas, our prices are the highest advertised price out there!
Obviously, the advertised price is not everything though, and what really matters is getting the highest actual offer for your gold. Differences in how the metal is tested (the composition of the gold, any subtractions for stones, etc), fees and minimums, and the occasional dishonest dealer – we recommend checking with the Better Business Bureau – make it much better to actually compare offers for your gold rather than just the listed prices (warning though – if the dealer does not list a price or won’t tell you over the phone what they pay they almost always offer very low rates). We are very confident that the offer you receive from us will be the highest, and if you do receive a higher offer we will beat that price by 120% of the difference.
Higher payouts lead to more business, more referrals, and more happy customers!
Do all items get melted down?
While most of the gold we buy does get melted down, about 5% of the items we see do actually get polished, repaired and resold. By buying gold with the intent to resell, we are able to offer higher prices for these items. We also buy and resell diamonds and bullion.
Here are some of the things we consider when determining if an item can be resold – and a premium price offered:
Are there any diamonds in the piece? We always pay a higher amount for items with diamonds.
Is the piece from a brand name like Tiffany or Cartier? Again, we always pay a premium for high-end brand name items.
Is there a resale market for this item? Items that are still in style and purchased in the last few years, antique jewellery, and staples (diamond studs, eternity bands) are the most likely to fit into this category.
How heavy is the item? While we pay a premium price for heavier jewellery, often this gold was purchased and popular when the market value of gold was much lower and the piece more affordable. Heavy jewellery (chains etc.) are usually melted downs. Smaller pieces with a high degree of craftsmanship and intricacy are more likely to be resold.
What kind of condition is the item in? While we do repair many pieces before reselling them, this does add to our cost. Some items move from the online store to the melting pot based on condition.
If you want to get a fair price for your gold, visit one Canada Gold’s locations in Vancouver, Surrey, North Vancouver, Richmond, Hamilton, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, or Halifax, find one of our nearby locations here. Canada Gold is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and is an authorized DNA dealer for the Royal Canadian Mint.
*This breakdown is based on our gold purchases we refine in aggregate (so does not include items we resell like bullion or premium jewellery). Individual transactions range from payouts of 80% to 99.2% of market price. If broken out, smaller transactions would have a larger percentage of value going to wages and overhead and profit, while still returning 80% to the customer. Larger transactions paying over 91% would obviously be the opposite!
In tandem with gold supply falling 2% in 2014, gold recycling levels have also decreased to their lowest levels in 7 years. (Highest levels seen between 2009 and 2012). In 2013, gold recycling fell 11%.
What this means? According to World Gold Council: Gold Demand Trends Report 2014, gold recycling will remain low and will likely continue to decrease because of recent surges in gold demand in China and India. In other words, because of gold recycling contributes a significant percentage of gold supply, with the increase in demand flushing out gold supply, channels toward gold recycling are tightening. This is an interesting observation mainly because in a later report by World Gold Council drivers of recycled gold supply were its ability to a) increase over time, b) economic crisis, and c) changes in gold prices. While these are undoubtedly true, we are also seeing how gold demand is stemming some drivers (a & b), and reinforced by others (c).
Nonetheless, gold recycling remains to be an important contributor to the overall supply of gold, and a fascinating topic to those analyzing the gold market. Of the 4278.2 tonnes of gold supplied in 2014, gold recycling made up 26% at 1172.7 tonnes. This number is a a lot higher than most people realize, and although gold mining still supplies most of the world’s gold, recycling helps balance the gold market by alleviating some of the pressure off of the mining sector to supply gold demand, which was 3923.7 tonnes in 2014. In addition, one has to consider that, the environmental (as well as production) costs are far, far smaller than gold mining. In an article on Bullionstreet.com, they cite that environmental groups who focus on the environmental degradation of gold mining say to mine an 18k ring leaves behind 20 tons of ore and rock waste.
Countries with high demand vs. their recycling (2012)
India: Demand vs Recycle: 864.2 tonnes vs 113 tonnes
China: Demand vs Recycle: 817.5 tonnes vs 120 tonnes
United States: Demand vs Recycle: 161.8 tonnes vs 129 tonnes
Italy: Demand vs Recycle: 23.5 tonnes vs 123 tonnes
The four countries listed are the top 4 countries leading in gold recycling, however, the demand in China and India far exceeds their recycled supply, thus relying on gold mining and imports from other countries. Together, China and India make up over 40% of the world’s demand, yet they contribute roughly 20% of the world’s recycled supply. In other words, to meet the current demand for gold, the world still heavily relies on gold mining, while, at the same time, gold recycling wanes because demand implies “buying”, thus people aren’t selling to recycling companies. This creates an issue for recycled supply because if people aren’t selling gold to be recycled, then the recycling supply cannot keep up with growing demand. We see this most starkly in 2014 when prices were low, encouraging buying (increase in demand) and discouraging selling (decrease in recycled supply).
As much as there is an environmental upside to gold recycling, it is firmly dependent on the price of gold, and global supply and demand. Another factor which affects the recycling supply is the duration of which gold is held, especially jewelry. Disregarding intrinsic value and its relationship with the gold prices, sentimental value and religious significance keeps gold off the trading table. Considering that 90% of recycled gold is high value gold, according to World Gold Council’s The Ups and Downs of Gold Recycling article posted earlier this year, the time it takes to sell gold jewelry and reluctance on the part of the seller certainly does not stave off growing demand. Recycling supply is forced into a waiting game with its only incentive to offer are gold prices, which, if they are low, hardly is enough incentive for sellers.
Nonetheless, there are opportunities for recycling gold in industrial supply materials, such as electronics, making up 10% of supply. This is low compared to high value gold, but there is room to grow and has, in fact, doubled in the last ten years. While it has been known that electronics contain precious metals, the belief is that it is difficult and expensive to extract them for recycling. Between 15 and 20% of precious metals are recycled from electronics, the rest are thrown out. However, technology is developing to make extraction simpler and cost-effective, as well as advertised appropriately to encourage people to recycle their electronics more so in our electronic/mobile heavy society. In 2012, 400,000 tonnes of industrial waste was available for recycling, and is expected to grow to 2,000,000 tonnes by 2025. When we think that gold recycling is currently capturing 15-20%, that is a lot of recycled gold to potentially miss out on.
Overall, for gold recycling companies, whether it is for high value gold or industrial gold, there are pressures as well as opportunities. Low gold prices coupled with high gold demand in the East is diverting the attention of producers and sellers away from recycled gold which continues to give mined gold an important place in the supply side of the market. On the other hand, industrial waste is an avenue that gold recyclers can capitalize on as confidence grows and extraction methods develop.
Your diamonds and jewelry are precious to you, both intrinsically and sentimentally. Caring and maintaining them should be as important as the care and maintenance you put into anything else you value and cherish, like a car or home, yet it’s a lot simpler and inexpensive.
The first step to taking care of your diamonds and jewelry is to be aware when you are wearing them. They can be very fragile, especially with more intricate pieces, and over time they will go through wear and damage, but you can increase their longevity by being mindful of how everyday exposure could harm them. It’s as common as making sure they don’t receive heavy impact from slamming your hand with a diamond ring on, tossing your jewelry on the table, (accidently) tugging at your necklaces and bracelets, or even keeping your jewelry in your pocket or purse with your keys and other larger objects. If you’re doing sports or heavy activity, it’s best to take them off (it’s also a safety precaution!). In all situations, you risk scratching and breaking the diamond and metal. Gold, silver and platinum are very soft and can easily be damaged. Diamonds are much harder to make a dent, but one perfect blow can make a crack, and once there is a crack the diamond is vulnerable to shattering. Other exposures include chemicals from household cleaning or gardening supplies and the chlorine in swimming pools. In most cases, the diamond can withstand these, but gold and silver are prone to stain which will weaken the integrity of the metal. On small chain necklaces, clasps and the prongs that hold the diamond, they can soften and bend in which you risk losing them when they fall out.
Being aware of your diamonds and jewelry isn’t just to protect from damage, but also to reduce the risk of losing them. This is the most heartbreaking thing that could happen, but there are a few tips to keep in mind: 1. Know where you put them (Is it in your jewelry box? If you take it off, is it in a secure place?). 2. Make sure there are no loose parts and that it fits properly. Rings that are too loose on the finger can slip off, and clasps and prongs that aren’t attached and fitted properly could result in your necklace slipping right off your neck or your diamond falling out. 3. Take your jewelry off when you wash your hands, take a shower, or use the swimming pool (Once they fall off, it can go straight down the drain).
The next step is proper storage. If you keep your jewelry in a jewelry box, make sure it’s not over-crowded. The best way to scratch the metal is against other metals, and the best way to damage diamonds are other diamonds. Make sure items aren’t piled up on top of each other (ideally they should have their own compartment or hook). Especially for chain necklaces, where they can be knotted up together, untangling them is the most common way that the chain links will stretch and break right off. In addition, the jewelry box should be padded, or if you don’t have a jewelry box, a cloth pouch.
The last step is the maintenance. Diamonds and jewelry can collect a lot of dirt and oils when they are worn, and keeping that luxurious look is the point of wearing them in the first place. Cleaning both the diamond and metal can be as simple as using warm, soapy (dish soap) water and a soft toothbrush, rinsing, and buffing with a soft cloth. Don’t use sharp or pointy objects to get into the nook and cranny’s, and make sure you completely dry the piece to prevent water stains. There are also a number of different at-home solutions that can be found online which use laundry detergent, aluminum foil, ammonia, or baking soda (you can find a whole list of common and uncommon ideas here). While these methods are proven to work, there are risks of damaging the gemstones that should not be exposed to these solutions. If you are doing it yourself, it’s best to stick to a simple soap and water solution. If you feel that you need cleaning beyond the at-home-do-it-yourself method, seek a professional that most jewelry stores provide. The same goes for repairs, resetting, and replatings (when the plate begins to wear down revealing the base metal).
We hope any of this advice is helpful and that you can keep the beauty of your jewelry for many more years!
(Edmonton, AB) – Canada Gold announced the launch, today of their newest location in the Ventures Building at 107 Ave. and 109 St. NW in Edmonton, AB. This opening marks the company’s 11th location in Canada, and its 2nd location in Alberta, joining their existing Calgary Gold office.
Canada Gold began as an alternative to traditional “mail-in” cash-for-gold companies and local pawn shops by offering a simple and transparent gold and silver refining service with on-the-spot payouts.
“Our objective has always been to offer the best payouts to our clients by leveraging our expertise in precious-metals analysis and up-to-the-minute market-based pricing.”
Gregory Neilson – Managing Director, Canada Gold
In Edmonton, the company has invested in state-of-the-art testing equipment and trained local precious-metals analysts, ensuring their clients are offered the most accurate payouts for all types of gold and silver.
When we go to buy something, we tend to look for the information. Whether we’re buying a new cellphone or computer or an appliance or a car, we want to see the specifications written somewhere so we know who made it, where it was made, and, most importantly, what’s in it. Gold Stamps, Marks, and Hallmarks help us do that with Gold.
At Canada Gold, a big part of our job is to identify the items that come through our stores. Of course, testing the item is the sure way to determine what it is (check out our blog post for how we test gold), but before we do that, we look for information, and the information comes in the form of stamps, marks, or hallmarks. Understanding what the stamps and marks mean is also a good way for sellers to identify what they have before they go to sell.
Karat is the unit to measure the gold purity. How the karat system works is explained in another blog post, but the chart below explains the percentage of gold for each different karat.
Even though we test each item’s gold purity, a karat stamp helps us determine what we are testing for. If we see a 14k stamp on an item, we want to make sure it tests as 14k. Some items, usually old or hand-crafted jewelry, don’t have stamps. This doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t real. It only means we have to be extra particular with our tests to make sure it’s real and how much gold is in it. Then we can give you a top, fair price for your gold.
GOLD-PLATED or GOLD-FILLED
Gold-plated, gold-filled, and sometimes called, rolled-gold, is considered “fake” gold. Most of the time this is indicated on the item next to the karat stamp. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Stamps you would normally see are:
GEP (gold electro-plate)
R.G.P. (rolled gold-plate)
Instead of a karat system to measure purity, silver has one, standardized purity called “Sterling” and then there is everything else. The reason I say this is because sterling silver is the only silver purity standard under the Code of Federal Regulations; everything else, whether it’s a purity higher or lower, cannot be considered (marked) as sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other alloys such as copper, nickel, or zinc. Items that are authentically sterling silver are stamped with:
In addition to the three stamps above, hallmarks are used to indicate that an item is made with “standard silver” or sterling silver. Hallmarks are traditionally a British certifying system and are found on flatware and silverware, and each hallmark indicates: 1. Silver Standard Mark (indicating the silver content) 2. City Mark (the city it was manufactured in) 3. Duty Mark (the tax on the item that has been paid to the crown) 4. Date Letter (the year it was certified for silver content) 5. Maker’s Mark (who manufactured it) and 6. Import Marks (indicating it was in a foreign country).
The one we’re interested in is the “Silver Standard Mark” reperesnted as the walking lion facing left, like the one above fourth from the left. It is called a lion passant and it was introduced in 1544 as a British sterling standard hallmark. In this post, we will not go through the other types of hallmarks, but stay tuned for an upcoming post on British Hallmarks.
SILVERPLATE HALLMARKS & STAMPS
There are also hallmarks to indicate whether flatware/silverware is plated, much like the plated stamps used for gold. Most flatware and silverware is not solid sterling; therefore, unless it is stamped with STERLING, STER or 925 or has the British lion passant, it is more than likely plated.
Commonly on plated flatware you will see the word “PLATE”, “PLATED”, “INLAID” or “SOLDERED” and then there are marks to identify the electro-plating used: “EPNS” (Electro Plated Nickel Silver), “EPBM” (Electro Plated Britannia Metal) “EP” (Electro Plated), “BP” (Britannia Plated), “EPCA” (Electro Plated Copper Alloy), “EPGS” (Electro Plated German Silver), “EP ON COPPER” (Electro Plated on Copper), “ESM” (Electro Plated Silver Mounts), “EPWM” (Electro Plated White Metal), “MP” (Magneto Plate).
There are also hallmarks to indicate the grade of silverplate. British electroplaters used a letter code for their plated wares. The best quality is”A1” or “AI“, lower level is”A”, next level is”B“, followed by level “C“, and the lowest level “D“. Normally, these are accompanied by other British hallmarks . Locating the silverplate grade hallmarks will eliminate the mystery of whether your flatware is plated or not.
EVERYTHING ELSE (OTHER SILVERS & NON-SILVERS)
There are a lot of different “silvers” out there that aren’t sterling silver. Some of them are silver, just not sterling quality, while others are labeled as silver when they contain little or no silver at all.
Silver jewelry in Mexico is usually stamped with “MEX925”. Although the “925” suggests sterling quality, the items are not certified sterling; therefore, some pieces might be sterling silver and others could be less.
Other non-sterling silvers are stamped “800” which is 80% silver. Others are stamped “950” which is 95% silver. 950 silver would be considered sterling silver, but it is actually closer to an older silver standard called “Britannia Standard” silver which is 958 or 95.8% fine silver.
Then there are silvers that are labeled with the word silver, but are not actually silver. The most common examples of this are “German Silver” or “Alpacca” which are made with copper, nickel, and zinc (no silver whatsoever!).
Now and again, unusual stamps and marks come up that even we at Canada Gold have never seen before. Nonetheless, they share the same basic principle: information. For us and our sellers, what we look for first are the stamps and marks that indicate content (gold, silver, real or fake). Have a look through your items and if you come across anything you don’t recognize, leave us a comment and we will be more than welcome to do a little bit of investigating.