You might have heard the term “Hallmarking” while buying jewellery. People always say to buy only hallmarked jewellery. But what is hallmarked jewellery? Why is it important? What is a Dealer’s Notice in between all this? To explain all these questions, we have compiled a guide for you.
What is a Hallmark?
A hallmark is a guarantee of the precious metal content in a piece of jewellery. A hallmark consists of a Sponsor’s Mark, Fineness Mark and Assay Office Mark. Jewellery made out of silver, palladium, gold, and platinum is required to be hallmarked. However, there might be some exceptions to it depending upon its weight.
A Sponsor’s Mark is the registered mark of the company that submits the jewellery item for hallmarking.
A Fineness mark provides information about precious metal content. This is expressed in parts per thousand.
For example, 18 carat gold is marked as 750 while 14 carat gold is marked as 585.
The Assay Office Mark tells which Assay Office tested and hallmarked the article. In the United Kingdom, the four Assay Offices are located in London, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Edinburgh.
Sometimes there will be additional optional marks. They might be traditional fineness symbols that depict if the item is manufactured in sterling silver, sterling silver Scotland, Britannia Silver, palladium, gold, and platinum. There might also be a date letter. This depicts the year the item was hallmarked
Is Hallmarking a Legal Requirement?
Yes, hallmarking is a legal requirement in the United Kingdom. It is governed by the 1973 Hallmarking Act. There have been some changes made to the Act. The 1973 Hallmarking Act aims to protect manufacturers and consumers both. Hallmarking is compulsory for articles that have been produced using precious metals. However, depending on the weight, there may be some exemptions.
Why is a Hallmark Important?
A hallmark is important because it is a guarantee of the precious metal content in a piece of jewellery. It has different marks that provide information on where the article was hallmarked, the registered company which submitted it to be hallmarked, and the precious metal content (fineness) in the article.
A hallmark is a credible mark and protects the consumer. It ensures that the purchase by the customer is genuine.
When jewellery is made, it is not made out of one single metal. It is a combination of metals. Alloys (a mixture of two or more metals) are used to make jewellery to enhance the property of the metal. The only way to understand the fineness of metal is by using advanced equipment. Even the most experienced jewellers cannot look at an item and confirm the metal’s fineness.
A hallmark protects not only the supplier – citing their honesty and credibility but also the customer. It ensures that the customers are being sold genuine and credible items.
A hallmark cannot be done by the company producing the jewellery item. In the United Kingdom it has to be submitted to one of the four Assay Offices. It can also be submitted to an Assay Office belonging to the International Convention.
Is all Jewellery Always Hallmarked?
Jewellery that is made out of precious metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, and silver is required to be hallmarked. However, it might be exempted if it does not meet the required weight. Silver items are exempted if they fall under 7.78 grams. Gold items are exempted if they fall under 1 gram. Platinum items are exempted if they fall under 0.5 grams. Palladium items are exempted if they fall under 1 gram.
What is a Dealer’s Notice?
A Dealer’s Notice is a legal document that explains all the approved hallmarks. This is required to be shown by all those dealing in precious metal jewellery. It provides information on the different marks that constitute a hallmark. In addition, it explains compulsory marks as well as additional marks that may be added.
At PureJewels we are committed to transparency and integrity. All our products are hallmarked by The Assay Office.