What is a Hallmark?
A hallmark is a small mark on your jewellery that guarantees it is made from the precious metal that the seller claims it is. It is a sign of quality and an assurance to you the customer that you are getting a genuine precious metal article.
Precious metal is silver, gold, platinum or palladium.
In the United Kingdom any person that deals in precious metals must display a Hallmarking Act 1973 Notice as approved by the British Hallmarking Council.
At present all silver and gold pieces over a certain weight must be hallmarked by law. Below is the most current Hallmarking Dealer’s Notice.
All Earth and Elements Jewellery Sterling Silver pieces over 7.78g will be fully hallmarked at the Birmingham Assay office in line with legislation. 925 Sterling Silver pieces will display a 925 stamp but will not be hallmarked unless contacted for a price.
The mark has 3 parts.
- The Sponsors mark shows who has made the jewellery. My sponsors mark is an EE in a rectangle and only my jewellery can have this unique mark.
- The Fineness mark show what metal it is made from. 925 means Sterling Silver.
- The Assay Office mark shows where it was tested and hallmarked. My jewellery is hallmarked by the Edinburgh Assay office and this is represented by a castle symbol.
There are additional optional marks too like a date mark.
The hallmark is often very small and placed in a position that doesn’t affect the finished look of the jewellery; either on the back or on the inside of a ring or bangle. Sometimes the hallmark is made larger or placed in full view as a decorative design element of the finished piece.
Is it necessary?
Yes! It is a legal requirement that all jewellery claiming to be made from a precious metal and sold in the UK carries a hallmark. There are exemptions however. The weight threshold for silver jewellery is 7.78g so anything less than this does not require a hallmark.
So now you know! Check your jewellery for a hallmark and always ask if its hallmarked before buying to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for