56 gold assay: composition, properties of royal gold, antique branding with letters and its value today, compliance with modern assay and carat

The way branding in the Russian Empire was introduced by Peter the Great. The system of determining the purity of alloys allowed the jewelry industry to move to a new level, tightening control over all precious products that were in circulation. In time it had to be abandoned, but alloys with excellent characteristics, which were produced in those days, are highly valued today. Particularly noteworthy is the 56 gold standard. It can be translated into metric systembut modern metal with this designation is already different in type ligatures.

Assay 56 gold of tsarist Russia: the ash system and the history of the marking

Peter the Great initiated the introduction of the ash system in what was then tsarist Russia. Problems in the jewelry sphere that arose earlier:

  • Coins of different weights and sizes were issued;
  • there were difficulties in determining their value;
  • the characterization of products has become more complicated.

The introduction of a unified system for evaluating the quality of precious metals solved all the problems. The item was stamped with the hallmark, according to the goldsmith's system, as well as the initials of the jeweler.

For the valuation of gold jewelry, the system began in 1711.

56kt gold
Gold ring 56

It was based on the unit of measurement, which was a gilt relative to the pound. Pure gold (without additives) corresponded to 96 gilts. That's how much one pound contains. Knowing this, the proportion of impurities is calculated. If the pure gold is 56, the rest (40) are additives. The system existed until 1927.

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Sample composition, characteristic properties

The content of additional components allows to improve the characteristics of the metal. But they are different. If an antique bracelet, chain, or ring with a 56th gold hallmark is found among your belongings, you should know what it is before you take any action.

The product is gold, but differs in composition from modern counterparts with the same amount of precious metal. If you translate the gold standard from the ash system to the metric system, it turns out that this is the gold standard of Russia of the tsarist Russia and the Russian Federation - 585.

Usually silver was used to change the properties of the gold alloy. Other additives were also used:

  • platinum;
  • palladium;
  • copper;
  • nickel;
  • tin;
  • brass.
Gold earrings
Gold earrings with marking 56


Today, the 56th assay corresponds to the metric 585, which allows you to navigate the density of modern metal. The average value of the parameter is in the range of 12.5-14 /cm3. It is more difficult to determine the metal density accurately, because the type of ligatures in the composition is different.

As a result, products containing the same proportion of gold differ in density due to different ratios of additives.


Metal is deservedly called the gold standard. This means that it is endowed with excellent properties and is characterized by high fusibility. This peculiarity makes it possible to produce jewelry and other items of complex shapes. The melting properties are increased by the additives in the composition.


The characteristics of the metal improve as the proportion of gold decreases. This means that the 56th hallmark is the best option: the material contains a large amount of precious metal, but it is also strong and can withstand high mechanical stress.

Ring with branding
Gold ring with a 56 marking


Gold alloy used to be considered unaffected by aggressive chemicals. Now it is called conditionally inert. This can mean that the precious metal most often does not react with chemicals.

But in contact with some of them, the gold alloy can lose its properties or completely dissolve.

The range of shades and their alloys

If a metal is marked in the standard way - it has 56 proof, it does not mean that it can only have 1 color. Below are the different ligature combinationsand the amount of gold is the same - 58.5%:

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USSR gold hallmarks: the history of the 583 Soviet gold hallmark, the reasons for its popularity and the myth of its high quality in jewelry
Alloy colorAg, %Cu, %Ni, %
Pink (also called red)932,5
Deep yellow18,7522,75
Light Yellow2813,5
Yellow-green (tint weakly expressed)38,253,25

Branding on products before and after 1897

The end of the XIX century was also marked by the transition from the old method of branding to the new one. Before 1897, convex hallmarks were applied to jewelry alloys. And their size depended on the size of the item. This meant that branding could sometimes be inconvenient to wear. Soon the way of branding was changed. The hallmark was not conspicuous. It was flush with the metal. Today, too, the stamps are used.

Types of stamps
Types of stamps on gold items

The stamp of those times depicted a woman's head in a kokoshnik. But since 1927, they began to use another version. It depicted the head of the worker with a hammer. All kinds of stamps can be found on antique items. However, if one studies the outward signs of the gold of the 56th hallmark, one will notice that the marking on it was already different back then. There is also the marking with letters. These may stand for the initials of the jeweler. Another variant is the initials of the assay office manager.

Significance of 56 proof in the metric and carat system

After the change of the form of government, another system for assessing the quality of noble metals was introduced - the metric system. The principle of determining the gold content in the composition is based on calculating the proportion of the precious metal in 1,000 g of the alloy. Accordingly, hallmark 585 (which corresponds to 56 g) is a numerical symbol of the weight of the basic precious metal (585 g) in relation to 1,000 parts by weight. The amount of additives in this case is 415 g. Assay 56 when converted to other systems:


Jewelry application of assay 56

Gold AlloyThe metal, which contains more than 50% of precious metal, is the leader in terms of ease of processing. It is moderately hard, but at the same time malleable, which allows to make jewelry of different types and any design, including the most complicated ones. Earlier this material was often used for rings and rings. But it was also used for other jewelry (chains, earrings, bracelets, etc.).

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Gold assay 555 and 5S5: gold marking, stamping methods and hypotheses of the unusual assay
Diamond engagement ring 56
Engagement ring stamped 56

Today, the 585 alloy (designated by assay 56) is often used in the manufacture of wedding rings. However, this is not the main direction of its use, as the 585 alloy meets all the requirements, it shows itself well in the manufacture of bracelets, watches, pendants, etc.

Interesting: Earlier, gold of 56th hallmark was used to make medals. It was also used in the production of cups. In comparison, today gilded silver is used for this purpose.

Question and answer section

What is the 56th gold hallmark?

Opinion of an expert
Pribrezhny Gennady Valentinovich
6th class jeweler
A jewelry alloy can be converted to any of the existing systems for assessing the purity of the metal. If we take the metric system as a basis, then gold of 56th hallmark will correspond to only one option - 585. In the carat system, too, there is an analogue with the same properties and degree of purity - 14K.

Gold assay 56 on the ring and letters - what does it stand for?

Opinion of an expert
Mikhail Petrovich Grishanov
Jeweler, Director of Grishanov & Co.
It matters what numbers the sample contains. The numerical version is now popular. It consists of only digits. But sometimes among older items you will find a piece with a hallmark that also has letters on it. This may represent the initials of the jeweler or assay office manager. Today, too, two marks may be found on precious alloy items instead of one. Among them, there is a nameplate indicating belonging to a jewelry house or manufacturer.
Golden Ring
Gold wedding ring

Pros and cons of vintage branding

56 gold highly regarded. But not everyone has an idea of how expensive jewelry from Tsarist Russia is.

Advantages of the alloy:
high value: the composition includes gold, silver, sometimes platinum group metals, which contributes to the appreciation of products;
the possibility of obtaining different shades, preserving the original volume of the base precious metal;
high resistance to mechanical damage;
Plasticity allows you to create jewelry that is complex in configuration.
The material with the designation 56 also has disadvantages:
a large number of additives, which does not allow the metal to be classified as high grade;
vintage design - not suitable for everyone;
high price, but in Tsarist Russia the metal was more accessible to the solvent part of the population.

Where and how you can buy gold 56

The metal, which corresponds in composition to the 585th standard, is obsolete. This means that the transaction of purchase and sale is carried out at different rates. Nowadays, items made of metal 56 are much more expensive than jewelry produced in the Russian Federation.

People who do not understand the issue are willing to sell the jewelry as scrap. But in doing so, it is possible to lose profits, as the rate is disproportionately low compared to the real value. Other options should be considered.

Pawnshop and Antique Dealer

If you need to buy or sell gold of the tsarist Russia, it is better to first visit a pawnshop or turn to a proven antique dealer, whose assessment you can trust. It is suggested to consider other options: online resources, ads, buying. In this case, the cost will be lower. If the jewelry is sold online (site Avito and the like) or through ads, the price is set independently.

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Where and how you can buy gold 56
Buying jewelry at a pawn shop

The cost of gold of royal purity today

Items with the 56 mark are among the most expensive. This is due to the fact that they are of historical value. The cost of such products does not affect the exchange rate of the Central Bank. Determine the price of the product antiquaries. This takes into account the state of metal, the presence of stones, their type and size, as well as the composition and age of the ligature. Sometimes it is important and history of a valuable object.

It is believed that in this category the most affordable are wedding rings (often handed down from generation to generation), but this type of product is also gradually moving into the category of rare. If you plan to rent or buy jewelry from the times of the tsarist Russia - 56 gold hallmark, the price per gram is currently 2000 rubles.

Is it worth investing in a rarity

The precious metal from Czarist Russia is considered rare today. This contributes to the value of the items of 56 proof. In addition, the price can also rise due to the peculiarities of antique jewelry - each such piece has its own history. All this means that the items are of high value and can serve as a basis for investment. Their value will only grow over time.

Where is the metric counterpart sold - 585 proof

Jewelry produced in the Russian Federation is assayed. You can see the 585 mark on the item. It is an analogue of gold of tsarist Russia only in terms of the content of the main precious metal. Otherwise, jewelry is a separate category. Accordingly, they can be purchased in jewelry stores.

Where is the metric counterpart sold - 585 proof
Sample 585 gold

Cost per gram of pure gold

The price of precious metals varies depending on the exchange rate set by the Central Bank. To find out what the average price of fine gold is, see the table:

999 tests at the Central Bank / per 1 gram, rubles.Market price, rubles.Scrap, rub.Jewelry stores, rub.

Given that the antique metal is considered a rarity, estimated by antique dealers on completely different parameters, its value is calculated differently. The calculations do not use the exchange rate of the Central Bank, but it is necessary to determine the price for 1 gram of gold of the Russian Federation, punched according to the metric system (585).

Read also
Popular 585 gold hallmark - good or not: how it looks, formula of ideal alloy composition in percentage, use of precious metal, choice and care of it

Recommendations for the care of antique gold

Vintage jewelry should be cared for with care, whether it's a ring, earring, chain or other piece of jewelry. Basic recommendations:

  • To maintain luster, regularly clean the items with a lint-free rag soaked in a soap solution, but this should not be done once a year, but as needed, preferably more often, to avoid the formation of grease plaque as you wear it;
  • Do not use abrasives, and the ban applies not only to the stones, but also to precious metal;
  • It is recommended to purchase a special paste - you can find it in jewelry stores.

Video: Antique Jewelry 56


I have a lot of old jewelry left over from my relatives, from my grandmothers, great aunts (my family was big, my relatives were well-to-do in those days). I thought that no one needed such jewelry anymore. Tidied up, cleaned, photographed each piece - I decided to put it up for sale. A buyer called me, introduced himself as a collector, and took everything for a good price.

Maria G., Mirny
Maria K., Murmansk

The 56 proof gold was my discovery of the year when I was going through our things in the attic. I found several rings from that time. They were modest looking, dark yellow in color. I wanted to throw them out, but I was stopped by the hallmark, though so strange. I took them to a jeweler, he said they were gold, and he recommended where I could turn them in.

When I was selling an antique ring at an antique dealer, another client was looking through a catalog of antique jewelry in front of me. I do not know why anyone would buy such a thing, I, on the contrary, wanted to get rid of mine. But he told me that he collects his own collection, making an investment in this unsophisticated way.

Svetlana D., Donetsk

Jeweler's comment

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
I recommend buying a special product (kits are sold) for taking care of antique gold. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century 56 proof pieces can get darker and need to be cleaned. This is a tip for those who want to buy jewelry or keep their existing items. In excellent condition they can be sold for a high price.
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