Hallmarking in the UK
For some time, marks were required but didn’t have a standardisation. This wouldn’t come into force until 1973 when Royal Assent consolidated the existing hallmarking statutes into a single act - the 1973 Hallmarking Act.
The 1973 Hallmarking Act makes it unlawful to describe an item over a certain weight as gold, silver or platinum without an independently applied hallmark.
l All silver articles weighing more than 7.78 grams must be hallmarked
l All gold articles weighing more than 1 gram must be hallmarked
l All platinum articles weighing more than 0.5 grams must be hallmarked
The “Who, What, Where and When” of Hallmarking
Precious metal wares often feature several hallmarks on the inner face. These identify the who, what, where and when of that particular piece and vary depending on the base metal used.
UK Gold Hallmarks Guide
Gold jewellery pieces feature another hallmark known as the Crown or Gold Standard Mark. This mark only features on UK wares manufactured after 1798, when the Gold Standard Mark was introduced. The hallmark can be found on all UK hallmarked gold of 9, 14, 18 and 22 carats, in addition to old pieces of 12 and 15-carat gold manufactured between 1798 and 1932.
World Gold Hallmarks
While some countries don’t have a standardised hallmarking system and completed wares are not required to be hallmarked by law, many other countries have their own set of hallmarking standards and the hallmark you find on a gold piece manufactured in another country will have a different stamp or set of markings.
Attempts have been made towards an international standardised hallmarking system, however, differing countries allow differing amounts of fineness tolerances, which makes the process difficult, if not impossible.
In the history of hallmarking, there has only ever been five other commemorative marks - one to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, one to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, one to mark HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, followed by a mark in celebration of her Golden Jubilee in 2002, and then in, 2000, a Millennium Mark.