Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/my ring


I was given a ring that saya 10K 88 inside.  I understand the 10K marking, but what does the 88 mean?  I really appreciate your time.

Dear Carolee,

The NATIONAL GOLD AND SILVER MARKING ACT of 1981 tightened up the tolerance allow jewelry makers in marking quality on precious metal items. For instance, prior to the act going into effect, a maker had 1/2 carat leeway.  This meant gold of 13 1/2 karat could be stamped 14k.  The tighter laws of 1981 take the tolerance to within 3/1000 of the stamped mark. The requirements were not to make a manufacturer stamp their jewelry (of course, it would be rather unwise not to stamp the karat on the items!) but for the stamp to represent gold much closer to what the stamp says than was the case beforehand. In 1961 makers who stamped a karat quality mark were required to also put their stamp on the item. This is similar to signing a check or credit card receipt, saying all is true and honest.  If an item is stamped 10k and turns out to be, for instance 8k, then the feds have legal recourse against the company who "signed" the item with their trademark.

What is the 88?  Carolee is not part of the Federal marking regulations. This has nothing with a legal mark about the quality of the metal; the 10k does that. This means the 88 is something else. It could be the makers mark but 88 is a strange mark for a manufacturer unless it is a particular "name brand".  Otherwise, it could be a stock number or refer to some other aspect of the jewelry for the benefit of the sellers records or that of the manufacturer.   

There is not a reasonable way to try an track down the meaning of the 88.  Suffice it to say the mark is not important regarding the quality of the ring.

Let me know if you need more on this, although there is not much more to give from the information I have to work with.

Best wishes and enjoy your 10k ring. God Bless.  Thomas.

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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