Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Understand International hallmarks

From the Big World

The United Kingdom has been a signatory to the 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.

The Assay Office marks of member countries of the Convention are illustrated below. The shield design around the Assay Office mark sometimes varies according to whether the article is gold, silver or platinum. The key mark to look for is the common Control mark.
The other marks must also be present.

The hallmark guarantees that the purity of the metal is at least that indicated by the fineness Number.

Current International Hallmarks
Since the 1st January 1999 following a ruling of the European Court of Justice, the UK is required to accept (and not re – hallmark) other European national hallmarks which provide an equivalent guarantee to consumers. It is the opinion of the British Hallmarking Council that such hallmarks must contain a Sponsor’s or Maker’s Mark, a Fineness (purity) Mark and an Assay Office Mark. For example: (link to original page).

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