If you’re purchasing 22ct gold jewellery, there are essential things you must know about hallmarking in the UK. It is said, all that glitters is not gold. Official hallmarking is the right way to ensure that you are getting the correct purity of costly metals in your jewellery. Go through this mini guide to understand the hallmarking in the UK.
- Hallmarking is the law in the UK
In the UK, all jewellery that is marketed as having been made with gold, silver, palladium or platinum, must be hallmarked as per the Hallmarking Act of 1973.
- It’s an official stamp of quality
A hallmark is a state seal that’s stamped onto valuable metal objects, like jewellery or silverware. The goal of a trademark is to certify the purity of a metal. Only a UK Government Assay Office can apply the logo. Testing precious metals for purity is called ‘assaying’.
- Four UK Assay Offices
There are total four Assay Offices in the UK. They are located in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Sheffield.
- Four precious metals
Gold, silver and platinum, and most recently the palladium, must all be hallmarked. White and yellow gold must be further classified into 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and 22ct standards. Silver, palladium and platinum must also satisfy a specific percentage of purity to meet the UK hallmarking needs.
- Hallmarking ensures both consumers & jewellers
Mandatory hallmarking means that the public will always have a complete guarantee of quality. Likewise, the legitimate jewellers’ trade is guarded from unlawful contenders who might try to pass inferior quality jewellery off as the ‘authentic’. Because it’s difficult to tell how simple a precious metal item is by merely looking at it.
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- Today both modern as well as traditional assaying methods are used
Assay Office labs now test valuable metal purity using the advanced technologies, including laser and x-ray analysis. However, many objects are still stamped by the hand, precisely as they were around 700 years ago.
- Only officially registered hallmarks can be used
Just jewellery which carries an registered formally British or global trademark can be marketed in the UK. A brand will usually have the Assay Office town mark, collectively with 2-4 additional markings. These markings include a date letter, a duty stamp or a metal standard symbol. There are many registered hallmark components. If in doubt, you can contact the International Association of Assay Facilities for further information.
- Assay office town marks
The Assay Office marks are the anchor of Birmingham, the leopard’s head of London, the castle of Edinburgh and the Yorkshire rose out of Sheffield.
- It’s a criminal offence to distort a hallmark
According to the Hallmarking Act 1973, it’s a criminal offence to claim that a piece of jewellery is made of gold, silver, palladium or platinum unless it’s hallmarked by the right authority. It’s also an offence to alter, deface, remove, or counterfeit an original hallmark.