Make Sure it’s Hallmarked!
Hallmarking is an important step in the jewellery making process but what is it and why do we do it?
Hallmarking is the process of testing a metal for its percentage of purity. Because it’s impossible to tell how pure a precious metal item is by simply looking at it, the Assay Office performs testing by using x-ray and laser analysis machines. If the product meets the requirements, then it is stamped. Stamps can be done with either a laser or a punch mark and there are traditionally five standard marks that are used.
• Sponsor’s mark
• Traditional fineness mark
• Millesimal fineness mark
• Assay Office mark
• Date letter mark
Other marks can be requested for certain commemorative events such as the 2012 Diamond Jubilee but are not necessary.
Sponsor’s Mark/Makers Mark
This is like the Jewellers Logo and the registered mark of the company or person who submitted the piece for Hallmarking. The Assay Offices hold a large database of these marks and who they are registered too. You can see my Sponsor Mark below.
Millesimal Fineness mark
This tells you about the metal and how fine or what quality it is. It shows you the metal content in parts per thousand.
Eg 925 Silver has 925 parts of Silver and 75 parts other metals. The shape of the surround area represents the type of metal.
Assay Office Mark
There is four assay office in the UK London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Each office has their own symbol which is marked on pieces so you know when the article was tested and marked.
Date Letter Mark
This is an optional mark and the date letter changes annually on the 1st January. The shield, font and case all change annually so the symbol wont ever be repeated.
Hallmarking is seen as a stamp of quality and a guarantee that the product you have purchased is genuinely what it says it is. It has protected consumers for 700 years and has led to a system built on verified trust – one that can often be taken for granted.
So next time you go to purchase a piece of jewellery in gold, silver or platinum take a look for the Hallmark to make sure you are buying something that is legitimate!
The dealers notice can be found here.
If you have any questions do feel free to contact me.