What Does a 925 Ring Mean?

Hallmarks on gold and silver jewelry are of great significance because they convey information about the type of metal and its authenticity.

925 is an indicator often found on silver jewelry to confirm that the precious metal used to create the jewelry is sterling silver. However, it is also not uncommon to find 925 on gold jewelry as well. This occurrence may confuse many people outside of the fashion jewelry-making industry.

This article will shed some light on what this marking on silver and gold jewelry means.

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What Does the 925 Mark On Jewelry Mean?

What Does The 925 Mark On Silver Jewelry Mean?

The 925 stamp on jewelry means that the piece of jewelry was made with sterling silver.

So What Is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is an alloy constituting 92.5% pure silver, and the residual components include other metals, such as copper.

Pure silver is mixed with harder metals to increase durability. Silver jewelry would not be practical for daily wear without including these other metals, as silver is a malleable metal. 99.9% pure silver jewelry is considered “fine” silver.

Sterling silver moon pendant with Saturn chain by Blue Nile

A denser metal enables sterling silver jewelry to be more resistant to scratches and dents. This is highly beneficial, especially for rings and bracelets more exposed to potential damage than necklaces and earrings.

Silver Alloys

The majority of sterling silver jewelry contains copper as its metal alloy, but many other metals will still satisfy the sterling silver standard.

In most cases, the 925 stamp clarifies that the jewelry you’re holding contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Silver needs to contain at least 92.5% silver content to be eligible to be classified as sterling silver. This percentage gave rise to the “925” stamp. So, a 925 stamp is essentially synonymous with sterling silver.

The 925 mark makes it easy to identify sterling silver. This precious metal allows for easy being and forming without damaging the silver. Furthermore, such a piece will hold its shine and brightness for longer.

Sterling silver silky knot bracelet by Blue Nile

What Does 925 On Gold Jewelry Mean?

If you encounter the 925 on gold jewelry, it means that the piece of gold jewelry does not consist of solid gold but instead consists of silver that has been plated with gold.

The 925 mark thus indicates the purity of the underlying metal rather than the gold itself. This type of gold-plated jewelry is referred to as gold vermeil. Gold vermeil is often used in costume jewelry.

Many people wrongly believe that 925 gold jewelry consists of 92.5% pure gold. This is a massive misconception as the 925 on gold jewelry does not involve the quality of pure gold at all.

925 on gold jewelry is not a measure of gold purity and is, in no way, connected to the karat value denoted to gold purity.

The Karat Weight Of 925 Gold

Gold is most commonly classified according to its karat weight. The karat numbers that dominate demand include 18K, 14K, 12K, 10K, and 9K. 24 is the maximum number of karats gold jewelry can contain. The numbers listed above indicated the component of 24 that is pure gold.

This means that 24K gold contains 99.9% pure gold, 22K gold contains 91.7% pure gold, 18K is 75% pure gold, 14K gold contains 58% pure gold, etc.

What Is The Gold Purity Of 925 Gold?

We can identify gold purity in gold-plated jewelry with a 925 mark from this pattern. 925 Gold would be approximately 22 karats, containing 91.7% pure gold.

 Gold-plated jewelry with sterling silver as its base metal is very difficult to distinguish from solid gold.

Malicious retailers often try to fool customers into believing 925 gold is, in fact, solid gold when it is actually gold-plated jewelry. Silver sells for a much more affordable price than gold jewelry, so jewelers increase their profit substantially by successfully deceiving buyers.

For your own interest, always check the hallmark for gold purity. If you see 925 on gold jewelry, you can be sure it is gold-plated jewelry and not pure gold.

14K yellow gold pavé halo diamond engagement ring with oval-shaped diamond by James Allen

Common Variations To 925 Gold Jewelry

If you see STERLING, STER, STG, or simply Sterling Silver on a gold-plated piece of jewelry, it means the jewelry is 925 silver.

If the hallmark says 925 EP, it means that the piece of plated gold jewelry consists of sterling silver with a thin layer of gold plated onto it using electroplating. This is the universal hallmark of gold vermeil.

What Do The Other Hallmarks Mean?

In most cases, figuring out what hallmarks mean is not all that complicated.

Although many countries have their own unique stamps, numbers are commonly used to specify purity because they are standard across international borders.

Oftentimes, you can just add a decimal to make sense of what the number indicates. For example, a 999 mark on a silver ring would indicate that the rings consist of fine silver rather than sterling silver.

14K yellow gold bezel diamond tennis bracelet by Blue Nile

Variation In Hallmarks

Because of the wide variation of international standards on silver, many silver rings and other jewelry are sold unmarked. However, you should always be wary of unmarked silver because there is no proof of the metals used in manufacturing. Many silver pieces are made with the cheapest metals and plated with a thin layer to give the illusion of a genuine sterling silver base.

It is also greatly beneficial to know where the silver you are purchasing originated, as some areas produce notoriously impure silver products. For example, Egyptian silver only contains 60% silver and German silver 80%.

Jewelry makers often try to maneuver around standards by not stamping metals if their country’s laws do not absolutely require it. Instead, they merely indicate the origin of the metal without providing any kind of clarification regarding the purity.

The surest way of identifying sterling silver is by looking for a mark or stamp, referred to as the “fineness mark.” The fineness represents the total weight of the fine metal in a silver item. Certified sterling silver will unfailingly be marked with either “925” or “Sterling.”

Other stamps, such as STG or STER, are still authentic notations used to identify genuine sterling silver.

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Is 925 Silver A Good Option For Rings?

925 Silver is undoubtedly a fantastic choice if you are shopping for rings. A sterling silver ring is an excellent choice, as it is made of hard and durable metals that won’t damage and wear during day-to-day activities.

Sterling silver has been a standard material used n jewelry since ancient times. Fine silver is rarely used in jewelry, and if it is, it’s usually incorporated into smaller items like earrings and pendants.

Not only is sterling silver resistant and durable, but it is also easy to clean, it is also superior to most pure metals in every way.

Designed hoop earrings in sterling silver by Blue Nile

Gold-Plated Jewelry

925 Gold And Gold Vermeil

You likely possess gold vermeil if you have a gold piece with a 925 stamp. Gold vermeil is used to describe sterling silver coated with a thin layer of gold.

Gold vermeil can only be classified as such if the gold plating contains 10 karats at the very least. Alternatively, gold vermeil should have 42% gold content, and the thickness of the gold-plated layer should be 2.5 microns or more.

How To Tell If Your Gold Jewelry Is Gold-Plated

If you see the 925 mark on your gold jewelry, but you want to confirm that it is genuinely gold-plated instead of solid gold, look for additional stamps on the gold piece of jewelry.

If your gold jewelry contains gold plating, you will typically see the following stamps on the piece of jewelry:

  • GP
  • RGP
  • HGE
  • HGP
  • GEP

If stamps that indicate jewelry may be plated are absent, you can have the piece tested. Jewelers perform such tests by taking a small amount of metal from the gold jewelry and applying acid, like nitric acid, to it.

Although acid tests are commonly performed to determine the karat of a gold alloy, they also clarify whether jewelry contains gold plating or not.

How To Determine Gold Purity of Gold Plating

Acid tests often conclusively display the gold content of gold plating.

Gold-plated jewelry is typically coated with 22K or 24K gold. This amount of gold content is infrequently used to create solid gold jewelry because it is too soft and malleable.

If you see any indications of karat content on the gold jewelry, the value refers to the karat of the gold plating.

For example, if you have a gold-plated item indicating 22K, it means that the plated layer is 22K gold. Gold karats are often expressed by a three-digit number or parts per thousand stamped into the jewelry.

The following are some common karat stamps and the pure gold content it entails:
  • 10K is 41.7% gold
  • 14K is 58.3% gold
  • 18K is 75% gold
  • 20K is 83.3% gold
  • 22K is 91.7% gold
  • 24K is 99.9% gold

What Is The Value Of Gold-Plated Jewelry?

An important distinction about gold-plated jewelry is that it isn’t “fake” gold. Likewise, gold plating on a jewelry collection isn’t a scam unless the jeweler demands the price of solid gold jewelry.

Most jewelers are honest, but there will always be a few rotten apples who will try to convince you a piece is solid gold when it’s not. Now that you are well informed about what 925 gold jewelry really is, you can better identify a fair offer.

The price of 925 gold jewelry largely depends on the current market value of 92.5% silver. Therefore, whatever sterling silver is worth at a given time will be the approximate price of 925 gold.

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What Determines The Price Of Sterling Silver?

Two primary factors determine the price of sterling silver, and thereby 925 gold. The first contributing factor is the going scrap value of silver. The second is the average retail price for sterling silver items, like jewelry, musical instruments, and silverware.

In turn, the retail price is affected by several aspects, like the size, style, and weight of the product. In recent years, sterling silver bracelets sell for around $10-$70, necklaces go for between $7 and $50, and earrings’ prices average around $13 to $70.

Should You Purchase 925 Gold Jewelry?

Gold-plated jewelry, which is synonymous with 925 gold jewelry, is always a great purchase. Silver is an excellent metal for jewelry, and therefore sterling silver with gold plating is a highly recommended combination to add to your jewelry collection.

The only time you shouldn’t go through with buying 925 gold is when it is being sold at the price of solid gold. Another factor to consider is the care associated with gold plating, in addition to the inevitable wear the jewelry will display with time.

However, with all the money you save by buying gold vermeil or 925 gold jewelry, you will ultimately be able to afford a solid gold piece for a special occasion.

gold engraved rings with newlywed text

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Pawn 925 Gold?

925 Gold is absolutely pawnable since it is sterling silver, which holds value. Of course, many shops will try to pay the lowest possible price, but you can visit a site like PawnGuru to get a vague idea of what your jewelry should be worth before pawning it.

Is 925 Gold Worth A Lot?

925 Gold definitely holds moderate value. The 925 mark in silver indicates exquisite purity. In contrast, this stamp on gold jewelry means that the purity of the underlying metal is high, though being gold-plated and not solid gold. However, selling your gold-plated jewelry as second-hand items may entail a loss on your part since it will essentially be scrap silver.

How Can I Clean 925 Gold Jewelry

Gently rub your jewelry with a soft cloth. You can use a mild detergent and warm water if necessary. Be sure not to use any form of polishing cloths are they tend to damage the gold plating.

Is 925 gold A Good Option For Engagement Rings?

925 Gold is certainly an excellent option for engagement rings. You might even find many of them on sale. Gold-plated rings are especially gorgeous when paired with solitaire diamonds, moissanite, or cubic zirconia. Other metals like palladium and platinum are also stunning alternatives to pure gold.


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