Authenticity Stamp on Gold Wedding Band?

by Brandon
(Warner robins, GA)

Does a gold wedding band have to have a karat stamp or engraving on the inside of the band to be a real gold wedding band?

Hi Brandon,

The stamp on the inside of a gold wedding band that indicates the karat of the band - also known as a gold assay stamp or a hallmark stamp - is legally required in some countries. In other countries assay stamps are not required. So, it will depend on where the ring was made.

In the United States, gold hallmark stamps are not technically required on all pieces of gold jewelry. United States hallmarking regulations include:
  • If a jeweler places a karat stamp on a piece of jewelry, a stamp of the trademark sign is required as well. The trademark sign, also called a responsibility sign or a maker's mark, is usually the sign of the company or artist who made the ring.
So, any time you see a stamp on the inside of a gold wedding band produced in the U.S. - whether it is a 10K, 14K, 18K or 22K stamp - than a trademark sign should be on the inside of the ring as well.

Other countries with hallmarking regulations - such as European countries - require trademark signs, plus hallmark stamps, to confirm the gold content in a piece of jewelry.

But hallmarking laws in the U.S. were not enacted until the early 1900's - and regulations for hallmarking in European countries changed dramatically in the 1970s.

So for antique rings,the hallmark stamp with a trademark sign rule does not apply (again though, it depends on the country where the ring was made). Added to that, the hallmark and trademark stamps can fade with long term wear - and some antique rings have faint impressions of hallmark or trademark stamps but it is too difficult to make them out.

The bottom line:

A hallmark stamp on the inside of a gold wedding band is only an assurance of the authenticity of the gold in the wedding band if it is accompanied by a stamp of the trademark sign.

Without a trademark sign accompanying a hallmark stamp - buyer beware! Rings that have a hallmark stamp without a trademark sign are blatantly breaking the rules.

Try to steer clear of rings that have no hallmark stamp (unless they are antique rings) or just a hallmark stamp with no accompanying trademark sign.

Rings that have no hallmark stamp can made with gold, but there is no legal assurance here. It's a bit like buying a diamond without a certification report on the diamond.

Keep in mind too - that in order for gold jewelry to be called 'gold jewelry' in the U.S. the jewelry must be at least 10K gold. So, it is not legal to sell a ring made with 9K gold in the U.S. and call it a gold ring.

If you are purchasing an antique ring, make sure the ring has been evaluated and appraised by a reputable jeweler who will confirm the gold content of the ring.

I hope this info is helpful, and do write again if you have any further questions -

Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

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Authenticity Stamp
by: Anonymous

Thank you

Unusual stamp
by: Joan

My ring has (it was left to me in an estate) three small x's and a sideways W. It may have come from England in the early 1900s. Have you any info on what that means? Thank you.

Wedding band 1891
by: Shari

I have my great-grandfathers wedding band. It is engraved with their initials and the date Dec. 3, 1891. There are no 14K or 18K markings on it. There is a little square with the marking KE inside.
The color of the ring is not the yellow gold that i have, it almost has a coppery tone to it. The ring could have come from Germany.
What did they make rings out of back then?

Hello - the coppery tone of the ring could be a patina either on yellow gold or rose gold, various karats of yellow and rose gold were made during this time including 18k, 15k 12k and 9k.

Suzanne - Everything Wedding Rings

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