Hallmarks . . . What are they?
In the UK, jewellery made using precious metals (over a certain weight) must legally be tested and hallmarked before they can be sold.
There are 3 compulsory marks:
| SPONSORS MARK
In the UK this is the mark of the maker. It consist of 2 or 3 letters inside a shaped frame. No two are the same and must be renewed every 10 years.
| FINENESS MARK
This tells you the precious metal content of your piece. For example sterling silver is marked 925. This is because for every 1000 parts, 925 of them are fine silver and 75 parts are made up with other metal, copper in this case.
| ASSAY OFFICE MARK
This tells you where your piece was tested & marked. There are 4 assay offices in the UK - Edinburgh, Birmingham, London & Sheffield.
You may also see a few other marks, these are not compulsory but some makers choose to use them. In my example below you’ll also see the Lion Rampant which is sterling silver in Scotland and the letter stamp ‘V’ showing the year, 2020.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and get a magnifying glass and learn about your favourite jewellery!