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Hallmarking requirements


#1

All,

Since I am present trying to figure out what I need to set up
silversmithing, I have come across legal requirements for
hallmarking. I have some questions about those requirements:

  1. Is it true that hallmarking in the US is optional?

  2. I understand that hallmarking is mandatory in other countries.
    Does that mean that if someone buys jewelery from the US which is not
    hallmarked and flies to the UK while wearing it, that the jewelery
    can be confiscated by British Customs from the wearer?

  3. Suppose someone from the UK orders a piece of my jewelery. From
    what I understand the UK demands that all jewelery imported into the
    UK has to be hallmarked by a UK assayer, is that correct?

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2

this is a page leadng to a fairly comprehensive guide to hallmarking
in the UK and other convention countries:

http://www.theassayoffice.co.uk/hallmarking.html

customs will not confiscate jewellery purchased outside the UK :wink:
these rules are to do with sales within the UK. Work custom made in
the UK for sale to a destination country outside the convention
countries is an exempted article and has no legal requirement to be
hallmarked by an Assay Office.

    • is an interesting question. My instinct is that as it is not
      for sale IN the UK, despite being available TO the UK that there is
      no obligation on you at all to hallmark it, I can’t see why or how
      that would need to happen. But you could always email the assay
      office (via the link above) - they are very friendly and helpful. You
      are not a UK maker, so this wouldn’t apply to you I don’t think -
      just to the importer.

but you could check. It would be interesting :wink:


#3

If you sell a piece of jewellery to someone in the UK it does not
have to be hallmarked. It can be hallmarked, there are several
companies that will arrange this for a customer though it can be
expensive for a single piece. UK law states that you cannot sell
precious metal and describe it as gold or silver unless it has been
assayed and marked. if something is not assayed and marked it can
only be described as ‘white metal’ or ‘yellow metal’ when being sold
on. Items can be confiscated and crushed if they are being sold as
silver or gold when they are not up to hallmarking standard, they are
then crushed in a power press and returned but this does not happen
to someones personal property just because they own it, only if it is
for sale. Parts of an item that are made from precious metal bu tnot
substantial, either in weight or use, do not have to be assayed and
marked. For example if I put a silver clasp on a gemstone bead
necklace i can describe the necklace as having a silver clasp without
it being stamped. This also applies to silver objects weighing less
than 7.7 grams [1/4 ounce] or gold items weighing less than 2 grams.
This is about the weight of a pair of ear studs. therefore do not
panic if someone orders an item from you, particularly if you do a
lot of commissioned work. Use sterling [.925] or one of the carat
golds [9,14,18] and you wont go wrong should anyone offer it for
assay at a later stage. 10 and 15ct will probably be marked as
passing assay for 9 and 14 rather than being marked differently, same
with .935 silver unless you specifically ask for it to be marked
accordingly.

Nick


#4
is an interesting question. My instinct is that as it is not for
sale IN the UK, despite being available TO the UK that there is no
obligation on you at all to hallmark it, I can't see why or how
that would need to happen. But you could always email the assay
office (via the link above) - they are very friendly and helpful.
You are not a UK maker, so this wouldn't apply to you I don't think
- just to the importer. but you could check. It would be interesting

If someone in the UK or any of the convention countries buys your
unhallmarked work and brings it into the UK as personal property you
are under no obligation to deal with the issues of assay and
hallmark. If a dealer buys the work for resale, it is up to them to
comply with the laws. That can mean that either they have it assayed
or you do it, either is OK as long as it is done. It is the retailer
that takes the heat if it is not done, not the maker.

My experience is that when I offer to have the piece hallmarked for a
UK retail customer and explain the expense and delay, they have
always declined. My several UK wholesale customers insist on
hallmarks, so I am registered. But it remains a barrier to trade
since it is very inconvenient and also adds expense and delays.

Stephen Walker


#5
This also applies to silver objects weighing less than 7.7 grams
[1/4 ounce] or gold items weighing less than 2 grams. This is about
the weight of a pair of ear studs. 

The weights for exemption of hallmarking are 7.78g for silver, 1.0g
(NOT 2.0g) for gold and 0.5g for platinum.

Helen
UK