Your Guarantee of Purity
Platinum, Gold, and Silver are the only three metals that can be hallmarked in the UK. These hallmarks indicate the metal, its percentage purity and where and when it was hallmarked.
Current UK Hallmarks
Sponsor's Mark (formerly known as the Maker's mark) This shows the person or company responsible for sending the article to the Assay Office. The sponsor may be the manufacturer, retailer, importer, etc.Assay Office Mark
There are now 4 British Assay Offices:Birmingham
The separate Assay Office marks for imported goods were discontinued in 1999.
Assay Offices that have now closed included Chester (closed 1962), Exeter (1882), Glasgow (1964), Newcastle (1883), Norwich (1701) and York (1856). There has never been an Assay Office in Wales.Standard Mark (Metal Fineness/Purity)
These show the standard of fineness - the purity of the precious metal, in parts per thousand.
Current Gold Standards9 Carat
Current Platinum Standards
Optional Marks Traditional Standard MarksGold
Silver 925 (Sterling)
Silver 958 (Britannia)
The above contains information kindly provided by the British Hallmarking Council.
More Information about Hallmarking
In England, offices for the assay and hallmarking of gold and silver date back to the year 1300 when a Statute of Edward I instituted our hallmarking System. The initial purpose of the system was the same as it is today; the protection of the public against fraud and of the trader against unfair competition. It was, in fact, one of the earliest forms of consumer protection.
Unless specifically exempted articles made of precious metals may not be sold as such in the UK unless they bear hallmarks.
Gold and silver, have through the centuries been alloyed with other metals, because in their pure state they are too soft to make jewellery, tableware etc.
However, it is impossible to tell by eye alone how much of the cheaper base metals have been used in the hardening process. Even gold plating a few microns thick looks like solid gold when new. The high price of precious metals has also tempted the dishonest to use substandard alloys, thus increasing their profits. Without hallmarking this fraud is very difficult to detect and those who suffer from it are not only the final purchasers of the goods but also the honest manufacturers and retailers competing against the less scrupulous.
The need for protection against such fraud was recognised in England seven centuries ago. A statute of 1300 laid down the standards for gold and silver, and introduced a system of independent testing and hallmarking, carried out before the articles were put on sale.
If there was no such testing, once substandard articles have reached the shops, it would be too late to catch more than a small proportion of them. The British independent hallmarking system for gold, silver and (since 1975) platinum protects us all.