What Makes up a Hallmark?
Up until 1998, hallmarks were made up of four “compulsory marks”. The date mark has since become optional but the other three symbols remain compulsory. The compulsory symbols represent:
- who made the item
- the guaranteed level of purity
- the Assay Office at which the article was tested and marked
What do Hallmarks Look Like?
There are three compulsory marks that make up a modern hallmark. The first represents the alloy the item is made from. There are different shaped marks for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Each unique shape also contains a number which shows the purity of the alloy.
Gold hallmarks are shaped like an elongated octagon. They are the same regardless of whether the gold is yellow, white, or rose.
Silver hallmarks are oval. The most common silver you will come across is 925 sterling silver.
Platinum hallmarks are shaped like a pentagon. The most common platinum alloy in jewellery is 950.
Modern palladium hallmarks are shaped like three ovals joined together. The most common palladium alloy you will find in UK jewellery is 950.
The next mark which makes up the hallmark is the Assay Office mark. There are four Assay Offices in the United Kingdom, located in London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, and Birmingham.
The final compulsory mark is the maker's mark. This might be a mark unique to the jeweller you have purchased the item from, but it could also be the mark of the casting workshop who initially cast the piece.
The majority of our rings are hallmarked by the Birmingham Assay Office, so will feature the anchor mark. However, we can hallmark your item in the London Assay office (Goldsmiths' Hall) or Sheffield office by request. Please note that there will be an additional cost for this service.
A small number of our two-metal rings are finished in Austria. These only feature a fineness mark due to different regulations across countries.