Hallmarking - Our Guarantee.
When buying jewellery in-store or online, most customers are often persuaded by the design, colour and fit of a piece. Enquiring about unglamorous legal requirements that a piece needs to even sold is something that is rarely discussed, yet arguably the most important part of the purchase.
Should you be looking to make your next considered jewellery purchase, it's important to know that only jewellery that which carries an officially registered British or international hallmark can be sold in the UK. Please be aware of counterfeits and read on.
Although it is not a legal requirement for a piece of jewellery to carry any paperwork to accompany its sale, it is a legal requirement if that piece is being sold as gold, silver, platinum or palladium and over a certain weight for it to carry hallmarks.
At Araucaria we take great pride in playing our part in keeping the standards of the UK jewellery manufacturing and retail industry maintained. Each piece that passes through our workshop into our boutique and online is evaluated for the hallmarking process. This allows us to give all customers a guarantee they are purchasing the correct purity of precious metals and be able to shop with confidence, and peace of mind.
Hallmarking - A Few Questions Answered
Where does hallmarking originate?
The word hallmark originates from the fifteenth century when London craftsmen were first required to bring their artefacts to Goldsmiths’ Hall for assaying and marking – an early form of consumer protection. Seven hundred years later Goldsmith’s Company (London) Assay Office, along with the other Assay Offices of the UK continue the tradition of guaranteeing the level of precious metal content in line with UK law.
What are the hallmarking standards today?
In the UK, all jewellery that is sold as having been made with gold, silver, platinum or palladium, must be hallmarked according to the Hallmarking Act 1973. Should a metal object weigh under a certain number of grams, they are exempt from the hallmarking law. Small jewellery items such as stud earrings or pendants may fall into this category and do not have to be hallmarked if their weight falls under:
- 1 gram for gold
- 0.5 gram for platinum & palladium
- 7.78 grams for silver
Who provides the hallmarking service?
All testing must be done by an Assay Office. There are 4 offices based in the UK – London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield. Each has a fascinating history and offers some great insights and further reading online into this important part of the jewellery industry. Some even offer the chance to visit, which the team at W Hamond would highly recommend should you get the opportunity.
What are the hallmarking keys?
When looking at a hallmark, it could be described as a jewellery registration plate and would typically include marks for sponsors, fineness, assay location and date. Although there are hundreds of registered hallmark elements, the selection below feature the standard/minimum set of hallmarks you would expect on a legal piece of jewellery sold in the UK.
Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK is required to accept other national hallmarks, for which there are 23 countries whose hallmarks are deemed equivalent to those of the UK.
What hallmarks does Araucaria use?
Ever since Araucaria joined C W Sellors Fine Jewellery as part of their family jewellery business, all pieces crafted in their Whitby workshop have been covered by C W Sellors long-held and reputable jewellers mark. This stamp has provided over 40 years peace of mind to anyone buying jewellery from C W Sellors’ and now Araucaria , across all our high street boutiques and online.
Depending on the size of the jewellery piece, the hallmark can easily be deciphered and, in many instances, can add a wonderful finishing touch to the design – such as can be seen in our larger fobs and pendants. For small pieces, the hallmarks must be accommodated where possible and can be stamped so small they can only be seen via an eyeglass/loupe.
Providing not just a useful tool to have in Whitby for the fish and chips, our sterling silver chip fork beautifully illustrates Araucaria 's standard hallmark set.
Any person or business that deals in precious metals MUST display on their premises, in a conspicuous position, a Hallmarking Act 1973 notice as approved by the British Hallmarking Council. Our dealers notice can be viewed here.
We are going even further!
To provide continued consumer confidence, we have submitted C W Sellors and Robert & Victoria for further independent verification under the 'Assay Assured Jewellery Retailer' trustmark scheme. The trustmark ensures an online retailer has been audited and their jewellery scientifically tested.
Finally, Please be aware of the Fake Market
With the increase of web jewellery sales and activity, it is no surprise to see an increase in jewellery suspected as being unhallmarked and therefore fake being sold online. Unregulated online traders and sites such as Amazon, eBay and Preloved are filled with hundreds of thousands of listings that have not been advertised as hallmarked. We strongly recommend these type of sites should be avoided if you are serious about your jewellery purchase.
Should you have any questions about hallmarking or would like further information about any of our processes please feel free to contact us.