HALLMARKING - OUR GUARANTEE
Should you be looking to make your next considered jewellery purchase, did you know only jewellery that carries an officially registered British or international hallmark can be legally sold in the UK? Please be aware of counterfeits and read on.
When buying jewellery in-store or online, most customers are often persuaded by the piece's design, colour, and fit. Enquiring about unglamorous legal requirements an article needs to have is rarely discussed, yet arguably the most critical part of the purchase.
Although it is not a legal requirement for a piece of jewellery to carry any paperwork to accompany its sale, it is a legal requirement that any piece being sold as gold, silver, platinum or palladium - and over a certain weight - must carry hallmarks.
At C W Sellors we place great importance on keeping the standards of the UK jewellery manufacturing and retail industry maintained. Each jewellery piece that passes through our workshop into our boutiques and online is evaluated for the hallmarking process. This allows us to guarantee you are purchasing the correct purity of precious metal and be able to shop with confidence and peace of mind.
OUR DIGITAL DEALER'S NOTICE
As the above video explains, any person or business that deals in precious metals MUST display on their premises, in a conspicuous position, a Hallmarking Act 1973 notice as approved by the British Hallmarking Council. This is called a Dealer's Notice and can be seen throughout our stores.
As more sales continue to be done online, the British Hallmarking Council (BHC) recognised the need for reputable jewellers who comply with UK law to provide customers with a Digital Dealers Notice.
We are proud to display our Digital Dealers Notice.
OUR COMMITMENT TO HALLMARKING
When it comes to manufacturing jewellery and silverware, precious metals (silver, palladium, gold and platinum) are rarely used in their purest form. Instead they are usually alloyed with lesser metals to achieve a desired strength, durability, and colour.
It is not possible to detect the precious metal content of an item by sight or by touch. It is, therefore, a legal requirement to have items consisting of silver, palladium, gold or platinum independently tested and then hallmarked before they can be described as such. Items must bear a hallmark at point of sale, subject to the following weight exemptions:
Silver: mandatory for items above 7.78 grams; gold: mandatory for items above 1 gram; palladium: mandatory for items above 1 gram; platinum: mandatory for items above 0.5 grams.
For online buying reference, unless stated otherwise, all C W Sellors platinum and palladium items are hallmarked at 950.
C W Sellors is registered with the Birmingham Assay Office, ensuring our precious metal jewellery is compliant with the UK’s hallmarking regulations. All stock is subject to an internal confirmation process to ensure it meets the UK’s hallmarking regulations before it is dispatched to our customers.
We are an Assay Assured Jewellery Retailer. Assay Assured status is only given to retailers who have been independently audited and verified by Assay Assured which is run and overseen by the Edinburgh Assay Office, and ensures that all precious metal jewellery (except items exempt by weight) are independently tested and hallmarked.
WHERE DOES HALLMARKING ORIGINATE
The word hallmark originated in the fourteenth century when London craftspeople were first required to bring their artefacts to Goldsmiths’ Hall for assaying and marking – an early form of consumer protection. Seven hundred years later, Goldsmith’s Company (London) Assay Office and the other Assay Offices of the UK continue the tradition of guaranteeing the level of precious metal content in line with UK law.
WHO PROVIDES THE HALLMARKING SERVICE
An Assay Office must do all testing. There are four offices based in the UK – London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield. Each has a fascinating history and offers some great insights and further reading online into this important part of the jewellery industry. Some even offer the chance to visit, which the team at C W Sellors would highly recommend should you get the opportunity.
WHAT ARE TODAY'S HALLMARKING STANDARDS?
All jewellery sold in the UK, if having been made with gold, silver, platinum or palladium, must be fully hallmarked according to the Hallmarking Act 1973, should the metal of any item be over the following weights;;
1 gram for gold
0.5 gram for platinum & palladium
7.78 grams for silver
Should a metal object weigh under the above gram weights, they are exempt from the hallmarking law. Small jewellery items such as stud earrings or pendants may fall into this category and do not have to be hallmarked.
When looking at a hallmark, it could be described as a jewellery registration plate. Currently it must include marks for sponsors (or designer), fineness (metal type and content) and assay office (who passed it). It may also include the (year) date and any special commemorative mark.
Although there are hundreds of registered hallmark elements, the selection featured in the graphic show the standard/minimum set of hallmarks you would expect on a legal piece of jewellery sold in the UK.
A BREAKDOWN OF HALLMARKS
Since 1979, all pieces crafted in our workshop have included C W Sellors' long-held and reputable jewellers mark - CWS. This stamp has provided over 40 years of peace of mind to anyone buying jewellery from our high street stores and online.
The CWS hallmark also covers those pieces sold in W Hamond, Whitby Jet Store, Robert and Victoria and Araucaria jewellery boutiques in Whitby.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR YOUR HALLMARKS
Depending on the size of the jewellery piece, the hallmark can easily be deciphered and, in many instances, add a distinct finishing touch to the design – as seen in our Jubilee Hallmark Collection. For small pieces, the hallmarks must be accommodated where possible and can be stamped/lasered so small they can only be seen via an eyeglass/loupe.
PLATED & VERMEIL ITEMS
You may see across our jewellery selection – or elsewhere online – a description of an item which includes vermeil. Should you be looking at a piece that mentions vermeil or that is gold plated then it will be plated sterling silver and hallmarked accordingly.
Neither process detracts from the hallmarking standards and quality we adhere to but does offer affordability to add a chosen design to your collection or a great choice for gifting.
BE AWARE OF THE FAKE MARKET
With the increase in web jewellery sales and activity, it is no surprise to see an increase in jewellery suspected as not being hallmarked and therefore fake being sold online. Unregulated online traders and sites such as Amazon, eBay and Preloved are filled with thousands of listings that have not been advertised as hallmarked. We strongly recommend avoiding purchasing from these types of sites if you are serious about your jewellery purchase.
Should you have any questions about hallmarking or would like further information about any of our processes, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com, call us on +44 1335 453 453