What is hallmarking with gold, silver and platinum jewellery?

What is hallmarking with gold, silver and platinum jewellery?

Why is jewellery hallmarked?

All Jacobs’ fine jewellery (over a certain weight) will have a hallmark from a UK assay office. A hallmark is a small series of stamps on the jewellery, in a discreet place, (1)  stating the fineness; how many parts per thousand there are in the alloy of the precious metal (2) which assay office tested it and (3) the company that put the item forward for testing (above, the 'JJ' picture is our stamp registered at the London Assay Office).  Sometime a date letter unique to the year of hallmarking is used. There are only four Assay Offices in the UK: Birmingham, Sheffield, London and Edinburgh. 

Hallmarking exists to protect customers. It is difficult or impossible to tell by sight or touch how fine (pure) a metal is, so a hallmark is something customers can trust in. The Hallmarking Act was passed in the UK in 1975 and it requires that all items (with a few exceptions) of gold, silver and platinum be assayed and hallmarked before they can be legally sold. The assay offices are independent of the maker and date back centuries  - some say they are the earliest form of consumer protection in the world. 

The fact that the UK has such a strictly regulated system of hallmarking is something consumers can place a high significance in and trust on.

Many people also feel that hallmarks help them to know more about their piece of jewellery, especially vintage or second hand jewellery. For example, the date mark and assay office stamp lets them know when and where their jewellery was hallmarked. It adds to the history of the item and makes it feel more special and unique.

If you'd like to know more, or would like us to help you with an enquiry, do make contact.

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Article by Mel V

Mel has been working at Jacobs since 2009, has a professional jewellers diploma and looks after customers and customer repairs.