The Electronic Guide to Assaying in the UK

 

Precious metals used in jewellery and giftware manufacture are always used as an alloy. The precious metal must be mixed with other elements to give it the necessary properties such as flexibility to produce a desirable and durable article.

Even the most experienced jeweller or chemist cannot tell how much precious metal there is in an alloy, just by looking at it, nor whether a thick plating of gold is covering a base metal interior. Due to the high price of precious metals, this offers a huge opportunity for fraud and there has therefore always been a need to protect the public, and honest suppliers, from those who are tempted to cheat them.

In the U.K. for 691 years, Consumers have been protected by having precious metal items Hallmarked, making this the oldest piece of legislated consumer protection.

Subject to the provisions of the Hallmarking Act 1973, it is an offence to describe articles sold in the U.K. as being wholly or partly made of GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM or PALLADIUM unless they are hallmarked or exempt. The hallmarking can either be a British Hallmark or a Convention Mark. When supplying the public with these metals a hallmarking notice must be displayed.


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Last Updated 14th December 2017
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