Hallmarking in the UK dates back nearly 700 years and is possibly the oldest form of consumer protection there has been.
Hallmarks are small markings on gold, silver and platinum items and will normally show the makers mark, a control mark, a purity mark, a date mark, and the assay offices mark.
In this country there are 4 main assay offices, Sheffield, London, Edinburgh, and Birmingham each having there own particular style of stamp.
The hallmark shows that an item has been tested by one of the assay offices and guarantees that the piece of jewellery has been tested to a given standard of purity.
It is illegal for a trader to describe an article, or sell an article as gold, silver, or platinum without it being hallmarked.
The Hallmarks on a piece of jewellery are sometimes quite difficult to see and may require to be viewed using a 10 x 1 magnification lens, even then to find the exact date may be difficult. especially when trying to understand the date letters.
Hallmarking is a study all of its own but is there to ensure that the article is exactly as described.