Yes you are correct in thinking that at the moment I am running it
as a hobby and selling the odd piece. Thanks for your reassurance.
What you say is exactly what I have been wondering about, ie. that I
am allowed to run it as a hobby whilst still selling to at least
cover my costs and make a little money.
I’ve been making jewellery for eight months and whilst I’ve learned
an enormous amount and accomplished a great deal, I’m not implying
that I’m ready to embark on some multi-national business venture.
However, I DO have to register with the Assay office to sell any
piece of jewellery in the UK that exceeds the weight limit (7.78g for
silver) - the law is very plain on that score - whether I’m a
hobbyist or not. I was merely wondering whether a silver piece over
7.78g sold to someone in another country would need to be hallmarked.
The fact that I am running it just as a hobby doesn’t really answer
that question unfortunately.
In any case I have also been thinking of approaching some gift shops
to see whether they would be interested in carrying my jewellery. A
few years ago a friend introduced me to a shop in our town which
sells sterling silver and gemstone jewellery. It soon became a
favourite store and I spent lots of money there (as did my husband
for my birthday and Christmases). However, when I started to research
the prospect of making silver jewellery myself, we started to look
much more closely at the workmanship of the jewellery we’d bought
from the store and other silver jewellery I already owned. The
particular shop in question is a very popular shop and yet it became
apparent that actually the jewellery is not very well made and in
fact a couple of things have fallen apart at the solder joints. I
test every solder joint I make for strength and if there’s any give
whatsoever, I take it apart and do it again until it is rock solid
and I use hard solder for 90% of joints, only resorting to medium as
the last joint in a multi-solder piece. I don’t want my pieces
falling apart a few months down the line. The standard of my
jewellery at the present time is higher than that sold in the store
I’m talking about, so I’m not worried that my work is sub-standard in
any way and people are asking me to make pieces for them and are very
happy with the result.
Also a friend proudly showed me a silver and CZ pendant and earring
set she bought for her niece who’d had a baby. It was a pretty set,
but the only thing that jumped out of the box at me was an enormous
amount of firescale! It was glaringly obvious to me - great big
purple/red patches - but she didn’t even notice it. I didn’t mention
it as I didn’t want to disappoint her and chances are her niece
probably wouldn’t notice it either. I would never sell a piece of
silver jewellery with firescale on it and yet plenty of people are
doing exactly that.
I think maybe the most sensible approach would be that if I make a
piece above the weight limit, to get it hallmarked anyway, whether
it is to be sold in the US or the UK. That would cover all bases.
However, it is great to know that I don’t have to worry about a lot
of the heavy stuff one has to do to run a business, just yet, until
I’ve tested the market. It’s one of those catch 22 situations, you
can’t test the market without being in the market, and you can’t
necessarily be in the market without a certain amount of experience.