Gold & Sterling Silver Information
Gold is mined in its pure form, which is known as 24 carat gold. Pure gold is too soft and is unsuitable for everyday gold jewellery, and is therefore alloyed with a base metal.
Which metals depend on the gold colour that is required.
A hallmark will consist of up to four markings; -
1. The jewellery manufacturer or sponsor will have their mark; this is two letters within a shield.
2. Gold is measured in parts per thousand. This number will be the part of the hallmark, which guarantees its purity.
24 carat gold – 999
18 carat gold – 750
14 carat gold – 585
9 carat gold – 375
3. All gold jewellery in the UK with a weight of 1.0 gram or more is required by law to be hallmarked by one of four assay offices within the UK. Each office has a separate logo;
therefore, the consumer is able to establish which assay office the jewellery was hallmarked by.
London – Leopards Head
Birmingham – Anchor
Sheffield – Rose
Edinburgh – Castle
4. The date letter hallmark is a letter, which represents the year of hallmarking.
All of our yellow and white gold jewellery is legally hallmarked were required by law, so you can be assured the item you are purchasing is genuine.
925 Sterling Silver
Silver jewellery is also hallmarked in the same way as gold jewellery, the law states sterling silver jewellery with a weight of 7.78 grams or more is required to be hallmarked. The hallmark for sterling silver is ‘925’. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver with the other 7.5% being another base metal such as copper. The copper will add strength to the the silver alloy, as pure silver is too soft for jewellery. Our sterling silver jewellery is plated with rhodium, which is a member of the Platinum family and makes the jewellery reflective in appearance and stop the silver from tarnishing.
This fine metal is from the platinum family of metals, which is silvery white in its natural colour, therefore tarnish resistant and is a recent addition to the fine jewellery hallmarks. As of January 2010 it is a legal requirement for palladium to be hallmarked in the same way as platinum, gold and silver. The jewellery palladium weight of 1 gram or more will carry the hallmark of the head of Pallas Athene.
Palladium can be used in the manufacture of white gold and only recently it has been used as a stand-alone metal in jewellery, which is know as palladium 950. As palladium is currently more affordable than platinum and with the official hallmarking it is now a real alternative to platinum jewellery.
Any platinum jewellery with a weight of more than 0.5 grams is required to be hallmarked.
If you would like a copy of the British Hallmarking Council leaflet, explaining all the hallmarks, please email us and we can sent this to you via email in a PDF document free of charge.