What needs to be Hallmarked?
Any article described as being wholly or partly made of gold, silver or platinum that is not covered under exempt articles.
Articles below a certain weight are exempt from hallmarking. The exemption weight is based on the weight of the precious metal content only, excluding, for example, weight of diamonds, stones etc., except in the case of articles consisting of precious metal and base metal in which case the exemption weight is based on the total metal weight:
- Gold 1.0 grams
- Silver 7.78 grams
- Platinum 0.5 grams
What does a Hallmark look like?
A hallmark can only be applied by an independent Assay Office. A Hallmark is made up of 3 compulsory symbols:
1. The Sponsor’s or Maker’s Mark
This indicates the maker or sponsor of the article. In the UK this mark consists of at least two letters within a shield. No two marks are the same.
2. Metal and Fineness (purity) Mark
Indicates the precious metal content of the article and that it is not less than the fineness of the article indicated. The fineness is indicated by a millesimal number and the metal type is indicated by the shape of the surround.
3. Assay Office MarkIndicates the particular Assay Office at which the article was tested and marked. There are now 4 Assay Offices in the UK - London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield.
Until 1998, a Hallmark consisted of four compulsory marks. Since 1998 the date letter has become optional. There are a number of optional marks you can find on a piece of jewellery today. These include traditional, commemorative and convention marks. If you would like to find out more about hallmarking, we highly recommend visiting this Birmingham Assay Office official page. Their whole site is packed full of useful and informative information.