What is Hallmarking and How Does

it Affect Your Jewellery?

Hallmarking is a process that ensures the purity of gold and precious metals in jewellery.  A hallmark is an official mark either stamped or applied by laser on a piece of jewellery that indicates its quality, fineness, and origin. By looking for visible hallmarks on a piece of jewellery before buying it, you can be sure that you’re purchasing an item of the highest quality and considered value.

What is a UK hallmark?

Silver, palladium, gold and platinum (‘precious metals’) are normally alloyed with other metals in order to improve their strength, durability and colour etc. A hallmark is a legal requirement which guarantees the purity (fineness) of the precious metal. It consists of three symbols:

  • the maker’s or sponsors mark: this is a unique mark and the maker/sponsor must be registered with an assay office.

  • metal purity mark: this indicates that the metal content of the item is not less than the fineness indicated.

  • assay office mark:  this indicates the Assay Office at which the item was tested and marked (London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield each have their own mark)

  • (optional) a year mark: a letter indicating the year in which the item was hallmarked.

The  Sponsor’s Mark is also known as a Maker’s Mark.   This is the registered mark of the company or person that submitted the piece for hallmarking. It is formed of the initials of that person or company inside a shield shape. The shield shape varies, and a minimum of two initials must be included. Everyone is unique.

My Makers Mark is:    MKC

A hallmark is NOT a single fineness mark on an item e.g. a ring with a single 925 stamp – anyone can stamp these marks on any item and they do not indicate an officially recognised guarantee of the fineness of the metal.

Which jewellery needs to be hallmarked?

Any item sold in the UK (regardless of where it was manufactured) described as being made of gold, silver, palladium or platinum (subject to certain exemptions) needs to be hallmarked. Items below the following weights are exempt:

  • Silver: 7.78 grams

  • Palladium: 1 gram

  • Gold 1 gram

  • Platinum: 0.5 grams

Items made of gold plated base metals cannot be hallmarked (including gold filled and gold vermeil items). A gold plated silver item can only be given the silver hallmark.

Click here for the Assay Office Dealers notice, you can find my copy of the dealers notice on my Hallmarking page.   It is a legal require to display this notice on a website, in a shop or on a craft/market stall. I have a printed copy that I display when I am at craft fairs and there is also a copy on the website.

There are 4 Assay offices in the UK:   Edinburgh, Sheffield, London and Birmingham.  You can register with any of the above assay offices. It may that a business chooses Edinburgh because it is closer to them and they can drop off the items for hallmarking, this saves on the postage costs incurred both ways. Once you are registered with the assay office of your choice, this registration then lasts for 10 years.

I am registered with the London Office.    One of the reasons I registered with London was due to the symbol of a leopard’s head, either that or it was going to be Edinburgh as I have Scottish ancestry links in my family.

As you can see in the picture above, my hallmark comprises of all the compulsory elements. To know more about the different marks then head over to the London Assay Office website here.

If you have any questions then just ask, either below in comments section or drop us and email.