What is a hallmark?

GUARANTEEING THE QUALITY OF PRECIOUS METALS SINCE 1327

 

Hallmarking dates back to the 1300s when Edward I was King of England. Edward I passed a Bill to prevent frauds being committed and established the testing and marking of precious metals including gold & silver.

Guardians for the trade went to the workshops assay their work and apply the leopard’s head mark. Silver had to be of sterling standard (92.5% pure silver) and the standard for gold was 19.2 carat known as the ‘touch of Paris’.  In 1478 the gold standard was lowered to 18 carats.

Since 1327 The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office has taken over from the Guardian of the craft and is where hallmarking began. It has been testing and hallmarking precious metals for over 700 years and it is one of the oldest forms of Consumer Protection.

I am proud to be using the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office London to hallmark my jewellery and silverware for over 30 years. They have a reputation for excellence in hallmarking.


The Full Traditional Hallmark comprises of five marks:

Sponsor's mark - also known as a Makers Mark - P.A – my Makers Mark Piere Andrews
Assay Office mark - Left to right: London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh. Leopard’s Head = London / Anchor = Birmingham / Rose = Sheffield / Castle = Edinburgh
Traditional Fineness symbols - Left to right: Sterling silver, Britannia silver, gold, palladium, platinum
Millesimal fineness mark - Left to right: Platinum, Palladium, Gold, Sterling Silver
Date Letters: in order from 2019-2024