you've probably heard the term 'hallmarking' before, but what does it actually mean? well, here's everything you need to know.
what is hallmarking?
Hallmarking refers to a mark that is applied to precious metals (platinum, gold, palladium or silver) to certify the metal purity. A hallmark verifies that the item of jewellery has been independently tested by the assay office, to ensure that it meets all legal standards of purity. It's your guarantee that an item is what it says!
why do we hallmark?
We hallmark all our sterling silver jewellery which weighs over 7.78g and all our 9ct gold jewellery weighing over 1g, not only because it is a legal requirement but because you cannot tell the precious metal content of an item with the naked eye. Hallmarking ensures that our customers feel confident knowing that their jewellery is made from what we say it is.
when should an item be hallmarked?
it is a legal requirement that all silver items over 7.78 g and all gold items over 1 gram need to have a full uk hallmark. you may notice that some of our items have a 925 or 375 stamp. stamps such as “925” and “375” are applied by some manufacturers, and although indicative of the metal purity, are not full uk hallmarks. a lot of our jewellery is stamped rather than hallmarked, as the majority of our pieces are quite dainty and light, and therefore do not meet the requirement for a hallmark. we try to keep our stamps and hallmarks pretty small so that they do not affect the look of the jewellery, so you might have to look closely to see it!
items weighing less than the following do not require a hallmark:
- gold weighing less than 1 gram
- silver weighing less than 7.78 grams
- platinum weighing less than 0.5 grams
- palladium weighing less than 1 gram
how to recognise hallmarks
A full, traditional hallmark consists of five marks:
but only three of these are compulsory. that being the sponsor’s mark, millesimal fineness mark and the assay office mark
The sponsor's mark is the mark of the company that is sending the article for hallmarking. you may have noticed that our mark is a little jb. The millesimal fineness mark indicates the purity of the precious metal content in parts per 1000 in relation to the standard recognised in the UK. For example, 9ct gold will have a mark of 375, and sterling silver will have a mark of 925. The final mark, the assay office mark tells you which assay office tested and hallmarked the article. Our items are hallmarked by the edinburgh assay office and therefore you will see a small castle mark on our hallmarked items.
who runs the assay office?
The 4 assay offices are independently run and each charges customers to have their items marked. The assay offices are overseen by the British Hallmarking Council (BMC) and each Assay office is represented by 1 or 2 councilors on the BMC with optional the addition of two co-opted members outside the assay offices.
The BMC is funded completely by the Assay offices.
The UK & Ireland very strong hallmarking regimes that ensures customers receive what they think they are purchasing, most countries set their own rules.
There is a special scheme called the Common Control Mechanism or International Convention on Hallmarks. Countries that are in the scheme agree they will accept items from other countries if they have the Convention Mark.
Sterling Silver and 9ct Gold Convention Marks
The countries in the scheme are: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
what is not a hallmark?
how to read silver hallmarks?
does all gold have a hallmark in the UK?
what do hallmarks mean?
how to read hallmarks
Have any questions about hallmarks? Get in touch with our customer service team.