Hallmarking - How Can I Check my Jewellery is Authentic?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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What is Hallmarking?  How Can I Check if my Jewellery is Authentic?

Makers Mark - KT
Hallmarking represents the earliest form of consumer protection and dates back nearly 700 years ago.   It’s an official test carried out by an Assay Office that guarantees the purity of the metal, or piece of jewellery.   Most UK jewellers will hallmark pieces that weigh over 0.5grams.  

When you purchase a piece of fine jewellery its always a good idea to check the hallmarking.  This is the official mark that will tell you what metal, amongst other things your jewellery is.

UK Assay Office Marks
Assay Office Mark – This will tell you where the piece was tested.  For example London is a Lion, Birmingham an anchor, Yorkshire a rose and Edinburgh a castle.

Date Mark – This is a letter and will usually represent the date the jewellery was made.

Metal and Fineness (Purity Mark) – A millesimal number indicates the precious metal content.  This number will have a shield; the shape will indicate gold, silver, platinum or palladium.  For Platinum the number 999 means the metal is 99.9% pure, 950 means 95% pure, 900 means 90% pure, 850 is 85% pure. 

Hallmarking
Maker’s Mark – Most jewellers will have their very own Maker’s Mark.  Our stamp is KT for Kirsty Taylor jewellery, which you can see on the top photo.  It’s a very very small stamp at around 1mm.  The hammer we use to make the stamp is in contrast massive.
KT Hallmarking Tools

Metal Alloys

Gold is mixed with different alloys (metals) like silver, palladium or copper.  This helps to strengthen the metal and gives it a longer shelf life.  Gold in its purest form would be too soft to wear as jewellery.  For rose gold, copper is added to the gold, which gives it the lovely rose colour.  The higher the carat of gold the more expensive, and more yellow the colour.

Platinum Versus Palladium


Two Palladium Wedding Rings
Platinum is known to be one of the most durable, and expensive metal available.  It is most commonly used for wedding, engagement and eternity rings, and high-end fine jewellery.  It requires little maintenance and should last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Palladium


In recent years palladium has become the metal of choice for anyone who wants the durability, and longevity of Platinum, but without the price tag.  It is around half the price of Platinum, but just as durable, and a little lighter.  It’s a darker metal, much darker than white gold.

Due to its popularity from Jan 2010 it is now compulsory to hallmark all palladium pieces weighing over 1gram.  Before it was a voluntary hallmark.   One of the leading assay offices in the UK has reported that in the last 6 months 40,000 pieces of palladium have been hallmarked.  This shows the trend for white metal jewellery, that's affordable and long lasting.
Kirsty Taylor Jewellery in Corbridge

If you would like to chat about hallmarking, or our different metals available then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We have lots of different examples to show you.  Make an appointment or pop in for a chat.

Best wishes

Kirsty Taylor & Team




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