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Hallmarks, makers marks and dating


#1

I make one of a kind art jewelry pieces and up to now I’ve been hand
signing each piece. I’m now working on developing a signature stamp
for my maker’s mark. My question is whether or not to include the
hallmark with the maker’s mark. I work in fine silver, so I could
include.999 below the mark, but I don’t really know the legal
requirements and industry standards for using hallmarks. I mean,
anyone could buy a stamp that says .999 and stamp it on anything.
How does the industry regulate such things? Is there any
accountability for hallmarking?

My other question has to do with dating. I’ve always included the
year on my work. I’m curious about other’s opinions on putting a date
with your signature on your work?

Thanks!
Pam East
www.pameast.net


#2

Nice web site, now that I know that you are in the USA, the Federal
Trade Commission regulates the use of marks and terminology for the
precious metals.

Title 16: Commercial Practices
Part 23 - Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter
Industries

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&tpl=%2Findex.tpl

The above like takes you to the opening page, then select Title 16
and Part 23; I printed the regulations out to go with my Jewelry
Essentials class from GIA.

John


#3
but I don't really know the legal requirements and industry
standards for using hallmarks. I mean, anyone could buy a stamp
that says.999 and stamp it on anything. 

This came up in another context not long ago, and it’s true that our
British friends have a superior system. The point here in America is
that you stamp it for quality (999, 585) and then you say “who says
it’s 999?” - the trademark. IMO, and what most people do, is a
modular approach. If you have a quality and trademark stamp in one,
you can only use it on that metal. If your trademark is separate, you
can stamp anything with it. Then you can buy stock stamps for golds
or whatever, and use one trademark stamp for all…And always bent -
you can roll a ring stamp onto flat sheet, and often you won’t even
need to. It’s impossible to stamp a ring with a straight punch,
though…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#4

Hi Pam,

How does the industry regulate such things? Is there any
accountability for hallmarking? My other question has to do with
dating. I've always included the year on my work. I'm curious about
other's opinions on putting a date with your signature on your
work? 

I think it is great to have a date on pieces. I usually date large
and important prices where there is room. The downside is that if
pieces are dated, then older unsold pieces are obviously older and
unsold, which can cast a little bit of suspicion about why they are
still unsold in the minds of potential customers.

This January will mark the 25th year I have been in business full
time in this community. I am planning a radio remote and some other
promotions. One idea is to offer a gift certificate for whoever can
bring in the oldest piece of my work. I am not sure how I will know
for sure which is older, so I am not going to mention this until the
time of the radio remote, so that we will probably not have too many
contestants. A few of my older pieces are dated. I’ll face that
problem when I get there.

The European laws of hallmarking are sometimes seen as something we
Americans should try to establish here. While there is some merit in
them, I think that there is a lot more to be said for the freedom
that we would loose if we went that way. The biggest problem is the
nuisance and expense of having to wait until the piece passes
through the assay office, while your customer waits and the craftsman
waits to get paid. There was a problem with metal quality in the mid
20th century, but for the most part we have had an honest application
of the present honor system and there is not any demand for such a
system from the public. The legal requirement of mandatory third
party assay is a burden and a barrier to new business. Imagine if it
were a legal requirement if every gemstone had to have a lab
certificate. It is just the same logic, but applied to precious
metals and enforced by law.

Stephen Walker


#5

Interestingly, the date mark that had been compulsory on British
Hallmarks since 1478 is now optional (since Jan 1st 1999 I think).
I’m told that this retrograde step was made in order to align with
Europe. Whatever, it is now an optional mark that must be requested
when sending items for assay.

Regards, Gary Wooding