Explanation of Hallmarks
Before you sell gold, silver or platinum to us you may wish to identify its carat or purity value. Do not worry if your item has no hallmark as you can still sell gold, silver or platinum to us of any description – we will test it for you.
The Hallmarks of Great Britain have been in use as a form of consumer protection since 1300 AD.
Each of the four customary hallmarks serves a different purpose; to guarantee that the piece is pure, to identify the maker, and to record the year and place of manufacture.
Before the marks are applied, the material must be ‘assayed’ or checked for purity, by one of the four UK Assay Offices
All metals must be hallmarked and there are 3 compulsory marks:-
The Sponsor’s mark shows the company who sent the item for testing.
And the Assay Office Mark which shows which Assay Office has tested the item.
The Standard mark indicates the standard fineness of precious metal as shown on the chart below.
There are four assay offices in the UK and each bear a different mark. When this is applied to the object it shows that the metal has been tested and where it was tested. The hallmark will also help track the object back in history so antiques can be properly verified.
The four assay office marks are the leopards head for London, the anchor for Birmingham, the Yorkshire rose for Sheffield and the castle for Edinburgh.
Since 1478, the hallmark has included a distinctive date letter indicating the year of hallmarking. The date mark is a Letter, lower case or Capital in a shield or box.
The final mark is the Fineness symbol. This is a traditional symbol denoting the fineness of the metal. It is a lion for silver and a crown for gold.
The Hallmark for gold is now governed by the 1973 Hallmarking Act.