Hallmarks- in accordance with the Hallmarking Act of 1973, these are the authorised stamp impressions that indicate maker, standard of fineness and the Assay office where the Hallmark was issued. They are required by law if a piece of gold (9ct,14ct,18ct and 22ct) weighs more than 1 gram, for platinum weighing more than 0.5 grams, for silver weighing more than 7.78 grams and for Palladium weighing more than 1g.
Since 1999 it has not been a legal requirement to have a date symbol on a hallmark.
London Assay Symbol
Edinburgh Assay Symbol
Birmingham Assay Symbol
Sheffield Assay Symbol
The British Hallmarking Council supervises the hallmarking activities of the 4 assay offices in the UK to ensure there is adequate provision of hallmarking within the UK.
Millesimal Fineness Mark-
Indicates the precious metal content of the piece and that it is not less than the fineness marked. The fineness is indicated by a millesimal number (parts per thousand) and the metal type is indicated by the shape of the surround.
Allow two weeks for an item to be hallmarked only, three weeks for sizing and re-hallmarking and approx. five weeks for a 3/4 shank and Hallmarking. We have the facility to process urgent hallmarks in one week - extra charges apply, please contact customer services for more information. (01268 546 546)
Points to note, if a previous repair has been undertaken by using an inferior metal e.g. silver instead of white gold, the item will fail the assay.
New items which we supply will require hallmarking.
Laser Hallmarks- these hallmarks are only burnt on to the surface of the metal by a laser they can be very faint. Rings that have laser hallmarks are harder to size as the hallmarks can easily be removed by the buffing and polishing that is necessary to size a ring correctly. We suggest you bring this to the attention of your customer before sending to the workshop for alteration. If the laser hallmark is removed it can be re-hallmarked, contact us for the latest costs. This will take a further 2-3 weeks as the ring will have to be sent to the Assay Office for remarking.
These are other symbols that can be added to hallmarks but are not compulsory. Traditional Fineness Symbols, Commemorative Marks and International Convention Marks.
Since 1999 it has not been compulsory to have a date symbol on a hallmark. The date is symbolised by a letter of the alphabet, the font of which changes with every cycle of the alphabet. All Assay offices use the same date letter.
The Common Control Mark and Convention Marks
The UK has been a signatory to the International Convention on Hallmarks since 1972. This means that UK Assay Offices can strike the Convention Hallmark which will then be recognised by all member countries in the International Convention. Conversely, Convention Hallmarks from other member countries are legally recognised in the UK. Articles bearing the Convention Hallmark do not have to be re-hallmarked in the UK.
Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK is required to accept hallmarks where the CCM is not present in those countries, with national hallmarks deemed equivalent to UK hallmarks.
Useful links- to read more about hallmarks and look up symbols