United Kingdom

1. Country: United Kingdom

 

2. Summary of hallmarking system:

Hallmarking is a compulsory state requirement carried out according to the 1973 UK Hallmarking Act and subsequent amendments. Four assay offices have been appointed to carry out the hallmarking. The assay offices are privately owned, self-funded institutions.

 

3. Ministry responsible:

 

Name and contact details

Member IAAO

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

Legislation Unit

Stanton Avenue

UK – TEDDINGTON

TW11 OJZ

Tel: +44 20 8943 7210

Fax: +44 20 8943 7272

E-mail: paul.cole@nmo.gov.uk

Web site: www.nwml.gov.uk

No

 

4. Contact Point for Hallmarking Information:

 

Name and contact details

Member IAAO

British Hallmarking Council

No 1 Colmore Square

Birmingham

B4 6AA

Tel: 0870 763 1414

Fax: 0870 763 1814

E-mail: geraldine.swanton@martineau-uk.com

Web Site: http://www.britishhallmarkingcouncil.gov.uk

No

 

5. Other representative bodies:

 

Name and contact details

Member IAAO

British Hallmarking Council

No 1 Colmore Square

Birmingham

B4 6AA

Tel: 0870 763 1414

Fax: 0870 763 1814

E-mail: david.gwyther@martineau-uk.com

Web Site: http://www.britishhallmarkingcouncil.gov.uk

No

 

6. Assay Offices:

 

Name and contact details

Mark

Member IAAO

London Assay Office

Goldsmiths’ Hall

Gutter Lane

UK – LONDON

EC2V 8AQ

Tel: +44 2076068975

Fax: +44 2078149353

E-mail: admin@londonassayoffice.co.uk

Web Site: www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/assay-office/

Yes

Sheffield Assay Office

Guardians’ Hall

Beulah Road

Hillsborough

UK – SHEFFIELD

S6 2AN

Tel: +44 1142312121

Fax: +44 1142339079

E-mail: carsona@assayoffice.co.uk

Web Site: www.assayoffice.co.uk

Yes

Birmingham Assay Office

PO BOX 151

Newhall Street

UK – BIRMINGHAM

B3 1SB

Tel: +44 1212366951

Fax: +44 1212369032

E-mail: michael.allchin@theassayoffice.co.uk

Web Site: www.theassayoffice.co.uk

Yes

Edinburgh Assay Offic

eGoldsmith’ Hall

24 Broughton Street

UK – EDINBURGH

EH1 3RH

Tel: +44 1315561144

Fax: +44 1315561177

E-mail: swalter@assay-office.co.uk

Web Site: www.assayofficescotland.co.uk

Yes

 

7. Typical mark formation:

 

A legal hallmark in the United Kingdom comprises three marks:

(i) A sponsor’s mark.

(ii) A millesimal fineness mark.

(iii) An assay office mark.

 

Example:



Sponsor’s mark Fineness mark Assay office mark

 

Voluntary marks are sometimes applied in addition to the compulsory marks above. These include:

(iv) A date letter to indicate the year of marking; the date letter changes on 1st January each year.

(v) The traditional symbols for fineness, e.g. a lion passant for sterling silver.

(vi) Commemorative marks, e.g. millennium mark.

 

Example:

TraditionalFineness mark Date letter

 

 

 

8. Sponsor mark details:

Each assay office keeps its own list of registered sponsor’s marks; there is no central registry. The sponsor’s mark comprises the initials of the customer in a shield design. A range of shield designs are available to distinguish between sponsors who have the same initials. The designs are unique to each assay office.

 

Example: Shield

 

 

9. Finenesses accepted and fineness mark details:

  • Gold

Hallmarking is required for gold articles above 1 g

Fineness (ppt)

Symbol

Traditional symbol

375

585

750

916

990

999

 

  • Silver

Hallmarking is required for silver articles above 7.78 g

Fineness (ppt)

Symbol

Traditional symbol

800

925

958

999

 

  • Platinum

Hallmarking is required for platinum articles above 0.5 g

Fineness (ppt)

Symbol

Traditional symbol

850

900

950

999

 

  • Palladium

Hallmarking is required for palladium articles above 1 g

Fineness (ppt)

Symbol

Traditional symbol

500

950

999

 

  • Other metals

 

  • Mixtures of precious metals and other metals and materials

Allowed but technical restrictions apply.

 

10. Hallmarks accepted from other countries:

 

(i) Convention hallmarks

The United Kingdon is a signatory to The Vienna Convention on the Control and Marking of Articles of Precious Metals and thus accepts items bearing Convention hallmarks.

 

(ii) National hallmarks – requirements

The United Kingdom accepts national hallmarks from other countries as part of the Houtwipper ruling. The marks must be intelligible and equivalent. The definition of equivalence essentially follows the guidelines outlined by the Hallmarking Convention, bearing in mind that the United Kingdom uses additional finenesses.

 

11. Other IAAO observers in country

None.
 

From IAAO brochure:

 

 

 

 

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