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US Stamping Law

Hi all… I am doing some pieces with a combination of sterling
silver (.925) and gold ( 14K & 18 K )… What is the proper stamp to
put on the pieces. I have read a summery of the law but I don’t find
any reference to a mix of metals. Thanks in advance.

Tom in Homer Alaska, where you know it’s spring when you can watch it
snow till 11:00 PM. …!

hello Tom,

I know there is a differents in tread between doing business in
America and Europe.If you have a stamp of 14kt in your gold in
America it has to be at least 13.5 kt.This is not alowed in
Europe.There was a big case going on lately in Belgium.Jewelry
stamped as 14 kt was not exactly 14 kt.The gold may be higher in
purity but the jewelry has to be at least 14 kt.Just some info if you
want to sell some of your jewelry to European people. Anyway to answer
your question,it depends on how you sell it or promote it.If you sell
it as gold, then it should be stamped as gold even if you combine it
with silver.That’s what I know about keeping a fair relation with
your customers and the law. Just an idea,why don’t you give a kind of
certificate mentioning about your (hand)made jewelry which has …
gold and … silver? Regards Pedro

   If you have a stamp of 14kt in your gold in America it has to be
at least 13.5 kt. 

Pedro, this is no longer true and for at least 20 years now. The law
was changed and karat gold must be precise. For this reason "plum"
was used to describe karat gold and an item is occasionally stamped
as such. Example: 14kp

Charles Heick

Angelfire for your free web-based e-mail.

Pedro: You are almost correct. Prior to the mid 70’s US made jewelery
could use gold 1/2 karat short ie; 13.5, 17.5 etc… Now, we use the
term plumb gold and the jewelry must be “Plumb”, on the mark so to
say. It is also strictly enforced.

Jeff Kaiser, CGA

Hi Tom, Use a stamp representing each metal used. The stamp for the
predominent metal should be used first. Have fun. Tom Arnold

Interesting question on stamping. I have started to fuse 18k gold
onto the front of some of my silver pendants and have only stamped
the back of my work sterling only because the back and foundation of
the piece is sterling. One of my instructors had been stamping her
work with silver and gold sterling and 14k on the back even though
the back was sterling. She since was told that she could only stamp
the silver silver and gold gold. I have been telling my customers
that my work is ss and 18k and so far they seem fine with it, the
problem is I am not but I don’t know what and how to stamp it. Any
advice? Elle

To all fellow orchid members

Thanks for the correction .I’ve heard it from american people here in
Germany and I believed them.I was a kind of surprised that America
still had other rules then the one known in Europe talking about gold
alloy’s and carats.One is never to old to learn …!

Regards Pedro

Hello All: David Yurman and Steven Lagos both stamp all their SS and
gold with both stamps on the silver part of the item usually. I would
think that they would have done the research and that it is alright to
do this. I also have seen many items of platinum and gold from
"Jewels by Star" “Charles Krypel” etc. stamped with both stamps on the
same metal. The shank of a ring is the usual place for the makers
mark and the karat stamp and putting both metal stamps next to each
other is alright.

Now, did you know that you are really not supposed to karat stamp
anything unless you put your makers mark beside it also?

Michael R. Mathews Sr.

Hello All,

It is my understanding that the karat gold, sterling and platinum

stamps may only be used on an item that meets the defined quality of
said stamp. and the test would be that if you were to melt the item
and then assay it the resulting assay would match the quality that
was stamped. The trade law was not written to cover items made from
multiple metals soldered together as this was not a common industry
practice when the law was written.

The question is has the FTC made any kind of ruling on this? Does

anyone from MSJA or GIA have any hard info on this?

I would like to stamp my work but I do not want a hassle with the

Feds. Most of us are such small fishes that the FTC would never
bother with us but you never can tell.


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

In the May issue of “PROFESSIONAL JEWELER” is an artical on a
publication by the Jewelers vigilance committee, entitled "Legal
Compliance in Plain English. The artical says it covers such federal
laws as the National Gold and Silver Stamping Act,and federal
trademark and customs laws. They can be contacted at (800) JOIN-JVC,or
(212)997-2002, or Hopes this helps.

Harold Momany
Ofelia’s jewelry

Where can I find out about US jewelry stamping laws? I haven’t been
stamping my pieces and after reading several postings on this subject
I realize I need to do some research.Thanks

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee puts out a booklet on stamping laws.
They are in New York City and also have a web site.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hello, perhaps it will help you to have a look at:

Mit freundlichen Gruessen
With best regards
H.-J. von Zuendt
Allgemeine Gold- und Silberscheideanstalt AG
Tel.: 07231/960-389

I have read the FTC regs on their web site which JCK has also posted
on their site. The problem from my point of view is all the regs I
can find are in reference to single metal, plated objects, or if it
is multi metal the parts are separately labeled with the appropriate
quality mark on each part. On work like mine (mokume) or married
metals or work that has several metals soldered together the regs
read to me like it can not be marked as to its quality unless each
component metal is marked on that piece of metal it the 14k parts
are stamped 14k and the platinum parts are stamped plat. So if you
marked the inside of a ring that had an 18k band with platinum
soldered to the surface with both the 18k stamp and the plat. stamp
you would be in violation of the stamping act because the plat stamp
was applied to the 18k band.

That is the way I read it . This is why I was asking to find out if
any one had really researched the Stamping Act with the FTC or a


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

Although it may not always be practical or even possible to stamp a
multi-metal item with the corresponding stamps on each particular
metal, it is generally acceptable in our trade to stamp the
identifying metal stamps in close proximity to each other in
descending order of predominance. (next to your makers mark or
trademark stamp, of course) For example, if you had a sterling silver
bracelet with 18 karat appliques and a 22 karat bezel, it would be
stamped: .925 -18kt - 22kt. Whether this adheres specifically to the
FTC guidelines I cannot say for certain, however this is the common
practice in our discipline for identifying the various metals used.
Hope this helps,

As I understand it (at one point we spoke to the lawyer who had
written the US stamping laws), it goes like this:

Canada and many other countries work with regulations (which is why
you must have a registered trademark before you can quality stamp
anything). The US tends to work with core principles, such as ‘thou
shalt not defraud they customer’, and then lets state regulations
tighten up the interpretations.

What theis means is that you can quality stamp workin the US as long
as you also have an identifying mark on the object (any stamp that is
identified with you, and preferably registered at state and federal
levels-it could be [for example], a registered trade mark stamp), so
you can be found if you were trying to defraud someone.

And in regard to mixed metals, you can use all the stamps for each
metal, just treat it like ingredients in a cereal package, sugar first
(because it is mostly sugar) , then wheat (less of the material), salt
(even less) etc. A large piece of platinum with a small piece of 18k
would then be stamped with an identifying mark (maybe a registered
trade mark), PT, 18k.

I could be wrong but this is my memory of what the stamping laws
lawyer said.


Charles Lewton-Brain
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada

Jim and others …

No, I have done no research in this murky area. I simply have some
of the same questions.

Although my work is not in the same class as yours (and others here)
I have asked the same question of myself. I am currently working on
several pieces which include mokume gane as a design element. What I
have been planning to do is to accompany the pieces with a written
explanation or a small brochure of what the material really is. The
piece itself would be only imprinted with my touchmark and date.
Especially in the case of mokume, I percieve anything else as really
too lengthy to stamp on a piece of jewelry, or other small object.
If appropriate, I might hang a small metal tag from some part of the
piece with a short description, such as “sterling and mokume gane”

What is your (all of your) reaction to this approach? What is the
rule in the greater part of the world, not in the USA, in such cases?

PS - I wonder what would happen if someone – anyone – made an
attempt to “create” a more appropriate stamping for such mixed