jewelry hallmarks

bbstxDecember 23, 2010

My aunt has given my daughter a garnet and diamond ring. It was purchased by my uncle at an estate sale about 30 years ago. No one has any idea of the history of the ring prior to that purchase.

The setting is yellow gold. We took it to a jeweler yesterday to have it sized. He believes the gold is 18kt but he could not find the usual "18kt" mark.

However, while he was looking, he noticed 3 tiny designs stamped into the lower shank of the band. The designs were on the outside of the band rather than the inside where I would think they would usually be placed. The designs are only visible using a microscope.

The jeweler and my daughter describe them as looking like (1)something indistinguishable and the number "200," (2)a ram, and (3)a lady reclining, although they are not 100% certain on any of those things.

Does anyone have a clue what the markings could be? If so, what do they signify?

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Fori is not pleased

I have only a clue--British jewelry apparently has had an elaborate marking system for jewelry much like for silverware for quite a while (they are known for their bureaucracy after all). I'm sure other countries have a form of this but the English system is very informative. I don't think yours is English (too interesting) but that's the easy one to start with. The assay offices have translations online. Here's one site that seems to have some pictures to give you an idea--not sure how good it is though!

Here is a link that might be useful: random jewelry marks page

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 12:44PM
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I'm surprised the jeweler wasn't knowlegeable enough to know if any of the marks represented a gold standard. Take it to someone who specializes in antique jewelry.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:23PM
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I agree with Antiquesilver....
And from what I know of antique garnet jewelry, it would be very unlikely that it would be 18 K gold....more likely 10K.
But the jeweler can tell with a chemical test, if he can't trace the markings.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 3:12PM
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I had an antique ring that I thought was just metal and paste. The jeweler told me the stones were garnet and the metal was 18k gold. I don't remember any markings and since have lost the ring, darn it.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 7:32PM
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These definitely sound like European hallmarks. The 200 might be an 800 or a 500 (12K). The ram, maybe a lion. maybe French?

Garnet is usually set in low carat metal or brass, but I have also seen it set in higher carat gold, especially with the diamond.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Thanks all for your help and your advice. My daughter is going to take the ring to someone specializing in antique jewelry.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 8:57PM
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If the garnet is translucent with a deep rose color, it may be a rhodolite garnet. These are very pretty and good cuts are valued above other garnets. Most garnets are rather dark; good ones are are translucent with certain colors having more value than the average.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 4:46AM
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