To answer your question on the tolerance , there is none, if the
item comes in at anything below the carat you specify, the Assay
Office will destroy it!!! They will break it up and send you back the
bits, you have no come back on this, I know of one jeweller who had a
piece tested and because one of the solder joints had a lower carat
value it was returned to him in little bits, he lost in the courts as
the practice was deemed to have been legal under common law. So don't
cut corners on the carat.
What is accepted is the following,
Gold , 375, 417, 585, 750, 833, 916, 990 and 999 .
Silver 800, 925, 958.4 and 999.
Platinum 850, 900, 950 and 999.
Do independent jewellers (jewellers in Eire) send their work to
the Assay Office?
Yes they do . Their address is The Assay Office, Dublin Castle,
Dublin 2. There phone number is +35314751286, and their email is
How long does it take to get the pieces hallmarked?
All depends on how busy they are, but usually 5 to 10 days
Do the jewellers stamp the pieces with their name/symbol themselves
or does the Assay Office take care of this too?
You can stamp your sponsor's mark yourself, but your mark has to be
registered with the Assay Office first, there is a charge and
registration lasts 10 years. if you are going to do large pieces you
may have to get a second larger "plate" punch which would also have
to be registered with them. They can hold on to your punch if you wish
and stamp your mark at the same time as they are stamping the
fineness mark, but for this there is an extra charge.
What is the cost of hallmarking the pieces?
The cost varies depending on the item, but from memory I think a
ring costs E0.57 each, remember that earrings require 2 hallmarks
(one on each) . There is also a minimum charge per carat of E11.15.
The Assay Office in Ireland has been around since 1637. Some people
love them ( keeps the standards up) some hate them ( just another
form of taxation ). Every jeweller you talk to will have their own
story regarding their relationship with the Assay office, ranging
from how they rushed through a parcel so they would be ready for a
show, to, how the struck the mark so hard it nearly came through the
other side. Me, I'm somewhere in the middle, but one thing is for
sure, you have to deal with them. Legally it is an offence to sell an
item of gold, silver or platinum that hasn't been stamped by the
assay office, all imported items, even those marked in another
country, must still be marked in the Irish Assay Office. The only
exceptions are items from within the E.U. that carry a Convention
Hope this helps,