Hallmarking - Why it's important

Hallmarking is a system of quality control and authentication of precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. It involves the official marking or stamping of these metals to confirm their purity and quality. The history of hallmarking dates back centuries and has evolved over time into the standardised system we have today. 

A hallmark:

  • Is a set of component marks applied to articles of the precious metals gold, silver, platinum or palladium.
  • Means that the article has been independently tested.
  • Guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity (fineness).
  • Guarantees provenance by telling us where the piece was hallmarked, what the article is made from, and who sent the article for hallmarking. 

  1. Who made it? The sponsor's mark identifies the company or person responsible for sending the article for hallmarking. Often the Maker but it also could be a retailer or wholesaler. 
  2. What Is it made from? The millesimal fineness (purity) of the precious metal content in parts per 1000. In this example 925 parts per 1000 (92.5%) represents the sterling silver standard recognised in the UK. The lion passant is a voluntary mark.
  3. Where was it made? This symbol shows which of the four Assay Offices in Birmingham (Anchor), Edinburgh (Castle), London (Leopard) or Sheffield (Rose), tested and marked the item.
  4. When was it made? This symbol shows the year in which the article was hallmarked. The date mark is voluntary, not compulsory and may not be applied on small items. ( Y is the letter for 2023).

                    Beware of bogus sellers and importers!

Online websites and marketplaces are full of bogus sellers and importers describing their goods as silver or gold. Often these articles are simply plated with precious metal over another metal such as brass, even worse they might just be gold or silver in colour! The law is on your side in this case as stated on The Goldsmiths' Company Assay Office website..

"It is against the law in the course of a trade or business to sell or describe precious metal articles in the UK that are un-hallmarked and above the weight exemptions. Trading Standards Officers have the power to seize any items that do not comply with the 1973 Hallmarking Act, which can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000 per article."

Luckily for the culprits they are not faking hallmarks and living in the 18th century as in 1757 counterfeiting hallmarks became a felony, punishable by death. Nowadays they would get a stiff fine and possible prison sentence.
So when should a precious metal article be hallmarked? If the item weighs less than a stipulated amount it is not compulsory to add a hallmark. Some of our smallest pieces have no room for a full hallmark and will carry a simple 925 mark which meets the legal requirement for weight threshold as follows. Gold 1 gram - Silver 7.78 grams - Platinum 0.5 grams - Palladium 1 gram.
For more information on hallmarking, take a look at our dedicated website page here



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