What is a Hallmark?
A hallmark is a small mark on your jewellery that guarantees it is made from the precious metal that the seller claims it is. It is a sign of quality and an assurance to you the customer that you are getting a genuine precious metal article.
Precious metals include silver, gold, platinum or palladium.
What does it look like?
The mark has 3 parts.
- The Sponsors mark shows who has made the jewellery. My sponsors mark is a SZ in a circle and only my jewellery can have this unique mark.
- The Fineness mark show what metal it is made from. 925 means Sterling Silver.
- The Assay Office mark shows where it was tested and hallmarked. My jewellery is hallmarked by the Edinburgh Assay office and this is represented by a castle symbol.
There are additional optional marks too like a date mark. S shows it was hallmarked in 2017.
The hallmark is often very small and placed in a position that doesn’t affect the finished look of the jewellery; either on the back or on the inside of a ring or bangle. Sometimes the hallmark is made larger or placed in full view as a decorative design element of the finished piece.
Is it necessary?
Yes. It is a legal requirement that all jewellery claiming to be made from a precious metal and sold in the UK carries a hallmark. There are exemptions however. The weight threshold for silver jewellery is 7.78g so anything less than this does not require a hallmark.
So now you know. Check your jewellery for a hallmark and always ask if its hallmarked before buying to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for.