HALLMARKING

Hallmarking in England began in 1300 and is the oldest form of customer protection, and it is advisable to look out for this whenever you buy an item of jewellery. The series of symbols that make up the hallmark is your guarantee that the piece of jewellery you are purchasing is real. If you look closely, and to do this you may need a magnifying glass, you will see that the hallmark consists of four struck symbols. The quality mark, the Assay Office (where the article was stamped), the date letter and the manufacturer’s or sponsor’s mark.

There are four Assay Offices in Britain and each one has its own symbol. Birmingham has an anchor, Sheffield a rose, Edinburgh a castle and London a leopard’s head. The date letter is similar to that on a car number plate. It represents the year the article was presented to the Assay Office and runs in alphabetical order.

In relation to the hallmarking system, all precious metals are marked as measures and shown as parts out of 1,000. 9carat is marked 375, 14carat 585, 18carat 750 and 22carat 916. Sterling silver is marked 925, Britannia silver 958 and platinum 950.

Articles stamped with just ‘9ct’, ‘375’ or ‘18’, ‘18ct’, ‘18k’ or ‘750’ etc. are not official marks and are no guarantee to the quality of the metal.

Certain older rings etc. are stamped with `18ct & Plat`. These are not assayed as prior to 1975 platinum was not registered as a precious metal.

The only exemption to hallmarking are gold and platinum items under 1 gram, silver items under 7.8 grams and items that could be damaged by being struck with a hallmark.

Certain older rings etc. are stamped with '18ct & Plat'. These are not assayed as prior to 1975 platinum was not registered as a precious metal.

The only exemption to hallmarking are gold and platinum items under 1 gram, silver items under 7.8 grams and items that could be damaged by being struck with a hallmark.

Here is an example of a complete hallmark:

 

 

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