Hallmarking Pre-Owned Jewellery

Hallmarking Pre-Owned Jewellery

Posted in News by Mallard Jewellers on July 16th 2020
As people invest so much time and money in choosing their perfect pre-owned jewellery, it’s only right that they’re given assurances that the pieces they’re interested in are genuine and of the quality they purport to be.

To that end, jewellery products will carry a hallmark – a literal ‘mark of quality’ that protects both the seller and the buyer, ensuring that only the highest standards are maintained in the second-hand jewellery market.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at the history of hallmarking and explain what you need to look out for when buying your pre-owned jewellery.

Hallmarking on Pre-Owned Jewellery

The History of Hallmarking

Jewellery hallmarking dates back almost 800 years – as far back as 1238 when the first standards of gold and silver were laid down.  The true start of hallmarking dates from around 1300, however – a decree laid down by Edward I instructed that no piece of silver ‘was to depart out of the hands of the workers’ until it had been assayed (tested) and marked with a leopard’s head.

During this early stage of hallmarking, the standard of acceptable fineness for silver was set at 92% sterling – the same as coinage, and it remains so to this day. On the other hand, the history of gold standards has been more difficult to establish. Experts believe that the gold standard is about 20 parts pure out of 24, which equates to around 83%.

These new laws to govern the quality of new and pre-owned jewellery was put into the hands of the ‘Guardians of the Craft’, who went out into workshops to ensure that all goldsmiths were obeying the new rules. In 1327, Edward III granted a charter to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London – this started the company’s formal existence in Goldsmiths Hall. This is where the term ‘hallmark’ came from – it was the company’s duty to mark the pieces they assessed.

Today, jewellery hallmarking (and other types of hallmarking) is governed by the Hallmarking Act 1973 – this legislation covers all items that are made from precious metals. In the intervening years, the Act had gone through a number of amendments in order to incorporate new innovations in metal, such as Palladium (introduced in 2009), as well as the marking of mixed, bonded and plated materials.

The Importance of Hallmarking

The hallmarking of jewellery protects manufacturers and designers against inferior standards – it provides the customer with a guarantee that they are buying genuine new or pre-owned jewellery; informing them of what the purity is too. As a result, jewellery can be traded across the industry and eventually to customers – everyone able to buy in confidence. The UK’s Hallmarking Act contains some of the strictest regulations in the world – and is only one of very few countries that has compulsory statutory hallmarking.

The only exceptions to the Hallmarking Act are items that fall below a certain weight, meaning they can be sold without hallmarks. The weight thresholds are:

  • 1 gram for gold.
  • 7.78 for silver.
  • 0.5 grams for platinum.
  • 1 gram for palladium.
The regulations regarding the number of hallmarks that are applied to each piece of jewellery have also been changed over the last few decades. Today, it is not compulsory to have a picture as a finesse mark (so no more leopards!) – a numbered fineness mark will suffice. A date letter also does not need to be presented when the item is hallmarked – this was first introduced in England in 1478 when the first Assay Office was established in Goldsmiths Hall. Instead, dates on hallmarks are now optional, however, they can be requested for larger items where space isn’t limited and the hallmark can feature in a prominent position.

That was our potted history of hallmarking on pre-owned jewellery pieces – if you’re in the market for luxury jewellery items, why not consider browsing the extensive range we have on sale here at Mallard Jewellers?

Mallard Jewellers – 90 Years of High-Quality Pre-Owned Jewellery Sales and Procurement

Since 1932, Mallard Jewellers have been providing customers with a fantastic choice of new and second-hand jewellery. Thanks to our experience in the industry, we have established a leading service is that is able to procure high-quality pieces for great-value prices – which we are only too pleased to pass on to our clients.

Although we do retail a selection of new jewellery items, we particularly specialise in the trade of pre-owned jewellery – our carefully-chosen selection contains a vast range of rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets and many other items in wonderful styles that are uncommon in today’s markets.

Why not take the time to have a look around and see if anything catches your eye?

Need To Learn More About Our Second-Hand Luxury Jewellery? Get In Touch!

Please continue to browse our range of pre-owned jewellery items – if you have any questions that you’d like to ask about any of the items you may see on our online catalogue, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today. You can call 01268 534 343 or you can use the contact form on the dedicated page to send us an e-mail enquiry.
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