What are Hallmarks? What is an Official Hallmark?
- Hallmarks are stamps found on precious metals to certify the purity of the metal.
- Hallmarking applies to palladium and platinum, but most commonly silver and gold. All silver jewellery that weighs over 7.78g must be fully hallmarked by law.
I’ve bought Hallmarked Jewellery before and it turned green? Why did my Hallmarked jewellery turn my finger green?
- Firstly, just a ‘925’ stamp does NOT constitute an official hallmark - this can easily be replicated by anybody with a hammer and the 925 stamp!
- A 925 stamp is not a guarantee that your piece really is sterling silver.
- Anything below 7.78 grams of 925 sterling silver does not have to be officially hallmarked and so many rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and other pieces of jewellery will not be sent off to be officially assayed and hallmarked.
This is where working with a trusted jewellery company comes in…
To ensure we keep our prices low for our lovely customers, we don't officially hallmark every piece of jewellery…
All our pieces are made from the same sheets of silver, guaranteeing the quality of all of our sterling silver jewellery collections 🌟
It is a common misconception that all hallmarked jewellery is solid gold or silver. Often copper/nickel jewellery will be plated with .925 silver, as it is sturdier, cheaper and easier to work with than solid silver. Silver plated jewellery often will have '925' stamped on the ring so its important to be aware of that.
Plated jewellery can turn hands green due to a skin reaction with the base metal (copper/nickel). The plating can rub off with extended wear due to a natural oxidation process due to various environmental factors. Read more about caring for your sterling silver jewellery here:
What do the numbers mean?
Hallmarks often found on silver jewellery will simply state the percentage of silver in the metal. This is called the Grade. The grade shown above is .925 silver which is known as sterling silver, but .900 .850 and others exist.
Gold also comes in different percentages, but they are called Carats, and range from 8 up to 24. The Carat refers to the ratio of gold to alloying metal, with 24ct being pure gold.
What do the symbols mean?
Precious metals over a certain weight, and made after 1950, are required by law to be Fully Hallmarked. A full hallmark will have a symbol for the Country, City and Year. They go back all the way to the 1700’s, and some are even collectible. A full list of UK hallmarks by city can be found here.
Full hallmarks will also include a Maker’s Mark. Usually these will have the initials of the maker or company that sells the piece, and a shape to help differentiate between marks with the same initials. Each mark is unique to the maker or company, even if one company has had many marks over the decades, each one of these will be different from the last and from any others that exist. Our unique Mark is the ‘FB’ in the two crescent moons and our jewellery can be traced back to us wherever it ends up in the world!
Why are Hallmarks important to customers?
A hallmark is a sure sign of quality, so you can be confident that you are getting a genuine piece of precious metal for your money. The Hallmarking Act 1973 was put in place to protect customers from sellers of counterfeit silver, as it is becoming more common to find base metal jewellery falsely marked and marketed as silver. Hallmarking was first introduced in the UK in 1300 as a Statute by Edward I, and is recognised as one of the oldest forms of legal consumer protection.
The Fairley Bohemian Quality Guarantee
As a professional jewellery company, we pride ourselves on providing quality jewellery to our customers. Our flawless reputation is built on trust. We wholly comply with the Hallmarking Act and therefore our raw materials are all assayed (tested in a laboratory for their purity) to guarantee the quality of our jewellery by Birmingham Assay Office.
On qualifying creations you will see an Anchor, alongside our unique registered trade mark which ties that piece of jewellery back to Fairley Bohemian wherever it ends up in the world so we always remain accountable.
Unfortunately there are many companies who do not comply with this Act, illegally selling ‘precious metals’ or perhaps more accurately alloys (mixtures) of precious metals with incorrect proportions of less valuable metals.
Hallmarking is there to protect the consumer.
Next time you are considering purchasing something special, Look For The Hallmark, It’s Your Guarantee.
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