Every now and then we come across a Ring that has NO Stamps or Markings inside the Ring Shank.
Usually you’ll see a Karat Content Stamp like 14k (14k Gold), PLAT (Platinum), or 925 (Sterling Silver) (See More Ring Stamps HERE!). But once in a while a customer will bring in a Ring that Bears No Indication of Metal or Content.
What does this Mean?
It could mean many different things. Usually it means that the Ring is Not Real (What many will Call a Fake Ring). The Metal is probably Brass or some Cheap Base Metal and has No Real Precious Metal Content. This also means that often all the Stones in the Ring are Fake as well.
But, this is not always the Case. I’ve seen Real Rings, Real Diamond Rings that is, have no Stamp Either…
So what Gives?
Why wouldn’t a Real Ring have Markings?
For Starters, the Ring Stamp could have Worn Away over the Years of Normal Wear and Tear. That’s what Gold and Metals do. They Wear Down, Erode, Rub Out, Get Thin, and the Stamp will Eventually Erase and Disappear Inside the Band. Plus, the Softer the Metal is, the Quicker it will Fade Away.
Generally this takes a long time though. Like 10-40 Years of Everyday use. I see this a lot in Antique Pieces or Estate Jewelry. It Just Happens!
Sizings and Polishings
Another Reason why the Stamp would no longer be seen… You had your Ring Sized, or Fixed.
The Jeweler could have Removed the Original Stamp either through Cutting out a Section of the Ring (Sizing Down), or through Filing the Ring Smooth and Polishing the Ring like New again.
If they do this, it’s Normal, No Need to Worry. The Ring has to be Worked on after all. But Jewelers know that they should Restamp the Ring in this Case. Sometimes though, they Forget and the Ring goes out the Door without a Mark. No Biggie! A Jeweler can Grab the Correct Stamp and Hammer the Mark in just a minute or two. Easy As That!
It’s Foreign to Me!
One Last Reason why a Ring would Bear No Markings…
The U.S. has many Regulations Regarding the Correct Stamp of Karat Content in Rings and Merchandise Sold in Stores. Items should be Properly Marked and Identified.
But out of the States, the Rules and Regulations are Iffy. If you get a Ring from Spain (For Example), it could be only 8k Gold, or 9k Gold… or some Mysterious Mix of Alloys that you can’t even Identify. It could be Nickel, Palladium, Brass, Silver, Copper… you have no idea.
There are a lot of Creative Jewelers and Jewelry Makers who Design Rings and Sell them on the Streets, Markets or Touristy Destinations. It Really is Buyer Beware! You can find some Wonderful Pieces Full of Culture and Lore, but quite often they’ll use what ever Metal is Available to them.
It’s just a Big, Fat Question Mark!
But that’s to be Expected in a Foreign Country. In fact, it also could happen in the States just as well to anyone at anytime if you’re not aware. This is why you should Buy your Jewelry from a Reputable Source only. One that will stand behind the Quality and Content.
Allergies to Metal
One thing you should be Conscious of are the Allergies that Cheaper Metals may bring. When you don’t know what the Exact Alloys are, you don’t know whether or not you’re Allergic to them. Many people are Allergic to the Nickel in Gold as it is, let alone other Base Metals that could Break your Skin out in Ugly Rashes. Once you get an Allergy to certain Metals or Alloys, you’ll have them for Life!
At least with a Stamp or Mark Inside the Ring, you’ll know what you’re Dealing with, and you’ll know to Stay Away from those Types of Metals.
Have the Metal Tested!
If you have a Ring, or want to Buy a Ring that has No Stamp, you can always have the Ring Tested. Jewelers can Perform a Quick Acid Test (Get Your Acid Tester HERE) on the Metal to Determine the Actual Content. Plus, you can always have the Correct Mark Stamped Back into the Ring again. It Costs no Money to do, and it only takes a Second to Strike the Ring and Imprint the Mark.
No Stamp means No Idea!
It’s Good to have a Questionable Ring Tested and Remarked. Even if it’s already Stamped. If the Metal Looks Suspicious (Too Yellow, Brassy, Fading), you may want to have it Double Checked. It’s Quick and Painless, and it Certainly Removes all Doubt.
And with that, I give you my Stamp of Approval! :)