Have you ever wondered what the tiny letters pressed into the underside of your jewelry mean? Almost all gold jewelry must have an abbreviation, or hallmark, to help you determine the percentage of gold content and raw value of your jewelry.
For example, the Cartier LOVE bracelet is one of the most sought-after—and replicated—pieces of jewelry. With the knowledge of what to look out for when you want to buy or sell gold jewelry, you can avoid fake items and get the most for your possessions.
Production Hallmarks 
Hallmarks tell you the exact process that was used to create a piece of jewelry. They’re important to inspect because each one requires a certain amount of gold to be stamped and sold.
– GF, gf, G.F. (Gold Filled): A thin layer of gold wrapped around a much less valuable piece of base metal. The gold can make up as little as 5% of the item’s weight.
– GO, go, G.O. (Gold Overlay)/RGP, R.G.P. (Rolled Gold Plate): An even thinner layer of gold bonded to another metal. This means the gold is only about 2.5% of the total weight!
– HGE, hge, H.G.E. (Heavy Gold Electroplated): An incredibly fine layer of gold fused to a base metal. It has a minimum thickness of 100 millionths of an inch—several times thinner than human hair.
– GP, gp, G.P. (Gold Plated)/GEP, G.E.P. (Gold Electroplated): Like HGE, this is an extremely thin layer of gold with a minimum thickness of 7 millionths of an inch.
– V (Vermeil): A layer of gold bonded to sterling silver with a minimum thickness of 100 millionths of an inch. The jeweler doesn’t need to stamp karat quality.
Our Experts Are Here to Help
As you can see, some “gold jewelry” contains very little actual gold. It’s important to carefully inspect the stamps, so you can guesstimate how much gold is in your items.
If you’re looking to sell your jewelry based on its raw material value, our experts can help you figure out its worth. Garfield uses a scientific melt and assay to determine precious-metal content and overall gold value in your jewelry.
Garfield Refining buys all used gold, gold-filled, platinum, and silver jewelry for the fair market value of precious metal content only. We don’t appraise jewelry on its artistry, brand, or vintage.