Silver, Gold and Platinum Hallmarks
The Goldsmith's Company has been undertaking tests on the quality of gold and silver since around the year 1300. What is now termed The London Assay Office is situated at Goldsmith's Hall in The City of London.
Gold, silver and platinum items are taken for testing and subjected to rigorous standards of quality assurance, using methods established over 2000 years, from the time of the Roman Empire to the very latest innovations of the 21st Century. The tested items are either rejected as unsuitable or accepted and thus marked to a set formula of stamped marks.
The usual number of marks is 5. These are:
- The 'Sponsors mark' - The mark of the product manufacturer.
- The millesimal fineness mark - Reflecting pure metal content.
- The Assay Office mark - Denotes London, Birmingham, Sheffield or Edinburgh.
- The Metal mark - Denotes platinum, gold or silver.
- The Date mark - Denotes which year the item was assayed.
For further interesting facts regarding assay work I suggest you look at www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk.