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Customs and assaying: UK


#1

I am making a platinum ring for a client in London and was wondering
if anyone has any US jewelers have about customs.
Specifically, what do I need to do to get my ring to my customer?
Also I wonder about the assaying. Will the assay office want to
assay the piece? If so what are the regulations concerning platinum
solder. I know that they will want to take a sample of a solder
joint and I want to make sure I use the proper solder.

So far I have not done any soldering, only welding, but soon I will
need to solder on prongs and don’t want to get slowed down too much.
Anyone with any on these subjects? I did call MJSA, of
which I am a member, but I haven’t heard from them yet and am getting
impatient.

Larry Seiger


#2

Larry,

Concerning the platinum solder, Precious Metals West has the only
plumb platinum solders I am aware of in three different temperature
ranges. I have been using them for approximately 4-5 months, and I
have been extremely pleased. Their phone number is 1-800-999-PLAT.
Sorry I don’t have any other info on customs.

David Welch


#3

Hello Larry!

Check with the US customs office. They have all the schedules etc.for
exporting. A few of my pieces went over for a trunk show (England)
several years ago. It costs a few dollars per each thousand dollars
of value. As I recall there was a reimbursement of the duty for the
pieces that were brought back. My memory is a bit sketchy, that
wasn’t my end of it.

You will have to check with the Brits for specifications on purity
issues. If you are using plat/irid, the pt900 stamp should be fine. I
would hope they don’t get fussy over the purity of the solder joints.
Use PM West soft solder (Comparable to 1300 temperature) for your
final prong welds. It is plumb platinum.

Tim


#4

Larry, for starters take a look at: http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/
which is The Goldsmiths Company, who operate the London Assay Office.
See also: http://www.teg.co.uk/teg/assay.htm for a bit more general

As regards your specific questions, a lot depends on your client. If
he/she thinks they may want to sell the ring at some time in the
future then really it should be given UK hallmarks. It could not
legally be sold here as “platinum” without either the UK hallmarks or
the international convention marks. These last were established to
cover international trade, but are only put on at official assay
offices after testing. It could always be hallmarked at a later date,
but then it costs more.

If the customer believes there will never be any intention of selling
it then maybe he will be happy with whatever you normally mark it with
at home.

There are at least two problems that arise if you want to get UK
hallmarks.

  1. The piece has to be submitted by a “sponsor” who is registered
    with the particular assay office, and the piece will be stamped with
    that sponsor’s assigned mark. I don’t know, but I suppose that it is
    just possible that the folks at the London office might act as
    sponsor, for a fee (for sure).

  2. The assay office will take one or more small scrapings to test.
    So, you need to submit the piece before final finishing, or else
    negotiate with someone here who could carry out the final polishing (I
    don’t do plat).

As regards Customs, the customer will have to pay import duty and
Value Added Tax. Or, he may be lucky, the package might not be
intercepted and he pays nothing. That possibility has never worked
for me though. You will probably want to use some sort of insured
delivery though, in which case it is moore likely to come to the
notice of officialdom.

All in all it looks as though your marks would be the simplest way to
go, provided the customer understands and accepts the difference
between those and the official UK hallmarks. A legal nicety might
hinge on exactly where the piece was sold. With your marks, as far as
I know (but don’t rely on it, I’m not a lawyer) it would be legal to
import a piece that has been bought abroad (i.e. outsdie the UK). But
it would certainly not be legal to sell it as platinum in the UK with
only your normal marks.

Hope this helps.
Kevin (NW England, UK)