Hallmarking Guide

Hallmarking Guide

Learn more about UK hallmarks and what they mean to help give you the confidence that the jewellery you are buying is authentic and exactly what you pay for…

What are Hallmarks? Video courtesy of the British Hallmarking Council
Look for the Hallmark, It's Your Guarantee
Look for the hallmark, It’s Your Guarantee! Photo courtesy of the British Hallmarking Council

At Argemti, it is of great importance to us  that every piece of jewellery we sell is genuine high quality precious metal and to the purity described in our store, especially since everything is online and you can not physically hold the jewellery before you buy it. Where required, all of our jewellery is tested and marked by a government approved Assay Office. This hallmarking guide is to give you all the information you need on UK hallmarks to give you confidence that the jewellery you buy is exactly what you expect it to be.

Under the Hallmarking Act of 1973, all precious metal jewellery sold in the UK bar notable exemptions are required to be hallmarked by a government approved Assay Office. As precious metal jewellery is often alloyed with other metals to give it the strength required to craft jewellery from, it is impossible to tell by sight or touch the actual gold, silver, platinum or palladium content of the piece. The Hallmarking Act of 1973 offers protection to customers, assuring that the jewellery they buy is of the purity described by the retailer. 

Pieces of jewellery that are below a certain weight are exempt from hallmarking. The exemption weight is based on the weight of the precious metal in the piece. This does not include diamonds and gemstones in the piece. 

The limits for each metals are:

Silver – 7.78g

Gold – 1g

Palladium – 1g

Platinum – 0.5g

Hallmarks are made of 3 compulsory symbols

This mark indicates the maker or sponsor of the item and represents the manufacturer or retailer who submitted the item for testing. In the UK this consists of at least 2 letters within a surround.

Metal and fineness (purity) mark

This mark indicates the precious metal content of the piece and that it is not less than the fineness of the piece indicated. The fineness is measured in parts per thousand and the metal is indicated by the shape of the surround.

Assay Office mark

This mark indicated the particular Assay Office at which the piece was tested and marked. There are 4 Assay Offices in the UK – London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Optional Marks

Date Letters

Date letters show the year in which the piece was hallmarked. Up until 1998, this mark was compulsory as part of a full UK hallmark.

Traditional Marks

These marks are the traditional standard marks. Traditional marks can still voluntarily be used on pieces today.

Commemorative Marks

Commemorative marks are special hallmarks which celebrate special events. They can also be used a rough guide as to when the piece was hallmarked.