Hallmarking – A short guide
I believe this photo of a Dealer’s Notice and the short film provides you with a clear explanation of the UK Hallmark. I will explain more in this guidance.
There are 4 UK Assay offices (Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Sheffield) and each has a separate mark. We send our items to the nearest, the London Assay Office which has been hallmarking jewellery for over 700 years. Having a universal mark gives items more provenance and gives customers reassurance.
Does all jewellery require a hallmark? Are there any exemptions?
The hallmarking law applies to everything sold in the UK, regardless of where it may have been manufactured. The only exemptions are items which fall beneath the specified weight thresholds which are 7.78g for silver, 1g for gold, 0.5g for platinum and 1g for palladium.
Which of your jewellery is hallmarked
Most of our items are stamped 925, 990 or 999 when they’ve left the manufacturers. We follow the rules and guidelines of the Assay Office and all silver items that weigh 7.78g or more are hallmarked. Items under the exemption weight are stamped but without the UK hallmark. We can, of course, always get an item hallmarked for you. We charge what the Assay Office charges us. Please feel free to get in touch.
What does a full UK Hallmark look like?
A full UK hallmark consists of 5 stamps.
- A unique sponsor’s mark. LAO (London Asssay Office) or SKL (our unique sponsor’s mark)
- A profile of a lion or the traditional fineness symbol
- A number or the Millesimal Finess Mark. This tells you the type and purity of the metal in parts per thousand. 925 (925 parts per 1000) sterling silver means for every 1000 parts of material in the jewellery piece, 925 parts are silver. In short, one item is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metal.
- A leopard’s head or the Assay Office Mark. The leopard's head signifies London, the anchor Birmingham, the rose Sheffield and the castle Edinburgh. The leopard's head was first used in 1300 as the King's mark of authentication. It was introduced by Edward I to protect and preserve the standards of gold and silver wares, and the mark itself was taken from the three lions passant on the Royal Arms
- A Date Letter
Where can I find the Stamp/Hallmarking on the jewellery?
Jewellery = mininature art and most is dainty and delicate. Both hallmarks and stamps are marked in a subtle place which give a feature and won’t impact the general look of the item. Please look for these areas for different type of jewellery:
- Earrings with studs: on the pin post, on the back or side of the earrings
- Thin hoop earrings: on the pin which will thread through ear holes
- Hoop earrings: inside the hoop, on the surface at the side
- Ear backs: on the butterfly backs, on the bead ball screw backs.
- Charm/Pendant: the back of the charm, on the ring, clasp, inside or side of the charm
- Ring: inside
- Chain/Necklace: on the clasps, on the charms/pendants
Please find more information on the Assay Office website and the Hallmarking Act 1973.