Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/stamp date?


I have a pocket watch chain from my grandfather who was born in 1876.  On the end of the chain is a small square with the mark stamped "1910."  Is this the date or does it relate to the gold in the chain?

Thank you.

Dear Rosemarie,

Over the years I have seen many watch chains and a variety of stampings. If the small tag is a part of the chain, that is, attached solidly to it an not attached with a loop of metal, there is a good chance of it signifying the manufacturing date of the chain. The mark 1910 is most certainly not to do with the quality of the metal.  Standards for showing metal quality have developed and have improved since that early date but this does not fit any of the metal markings with which I am familiar. Many old watch chains are gold filled or are a heavy gold overlay with the base metal being a brass material. Only a test by a jeweler will confirm if the chain is karat gold or overlaid with karat gold.

Look for markings such as 20year, gf and others for metal quality. Also look for greenish corrosion which generally means brass is the base metal.  Clasps are often stamped but there is no way to be certain the clasp is the original and of the same metal as the chain body.  I highly suggest you have a jeweler do a simple acid or electronic test to determine if the chain is indeed gold.  At that point, one of the Internet sellers of vintage pocket watches and watch chains may be contacted for more information.

Rosemarie, thanks for this question. Sorry there is not enough information for me to tell you more.
God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

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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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