Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

UK Hallmarking costs


#1

Hello all,

Just a quickie, I bought some sterling silver sheet(and far too much
other stuff) whilst on an online shopping spree and never even
thought about hallmarking. I believe that under 7.8grams doesnt
needa hallmark.

Can I still mark the jewellery in some way eg my name /my own stamp
or 975 to show it is silver etc and can someone give an idea about
the costs involved with setting up for hallmarking eg the
registering bit and then is there a flat fee per peice top mark by
the office or does it go off weight etc.

Many thanks for you help
Lou Davies


#2

Hi Lou,

Yes you’re right that any silver piece below the 7.78g weight limit
does not have to be hallmarked but you can get it hallmarked if you
want to.

The best thing to do would be to choose one of the UK’s four assay
offices and email them for a registration pack. That will give you
all the details you want to know. Also go on each of their websites
and see what their charges are for a) registration, b) your punch,
c) charges per item and d) re-registration. I sent off for a pack
last year and if I remember rightly it was roughly A3100 UKP to
register, then approximately another A350 UKP for them to make you
your stamp.

Then each piece costs a certain amount to get marked.

The law states (in my own words) that it is not legal to describe a
piece as silver, gold, platinum etc unless it has been hallmarked as
such. The weight limits of 7.78g (silver), 1.0g (gold) and 0.5g
(platinum) mean that pieces below those weights are exempt from
having to be hallmarked. If a piece exceeds the weight limit for that
metal, and it is not hallmarked, it can only be described as “white
metal” or “yellow metal”.

My interpretation of this law (and clearly the whole jewellery
industry’s interpretation) is that if it is below the weight limit,
then it is legal to describe it as silver and that you can stamp it
925 (not 975 as you said) and put your mark if you like. Go into any
jeweller and look at the jewellery under the weight limits and they
will be stamped just with the fineness mark, ie 925, 375, 750, 950,
etc (remember though that contrary to public belief, these are NOT
hallmarks in themselves and that a proper UK hallmark has at least
three marks - the fineness mark, the sponsor’s mark (that’s your
mark), and the assay office mark (Lion (London), anchor (Birmingham),
rose (Sheffield) or castle Edinburgh)).

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#3

Anything under 7.78g does not need to be hallmarked. You can still
put your own mark and a 925 stamp on to show that it is sterling.

I can only speak for the London Assay Office which is where I am
registered with regards to costs. The cost for registering you
sponsor’s mark is UKP 47 (including VAT) for 10 years. You also have
to buy a punch with your sponsor’s mark which is UKP 75 - UKP 85 plus
VAT.

Pricing is per piece with minimum charges applying - I think it is
UKP 8.25 + VAT for a batch of up to 5 pieces.

Have a look at this page from the London Assay Office website
http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/assayoffice/gettinghallmaked.htm
which has all the you need.

Pat Waddington


#4

Hi Lou, You can find the info on Birmingham Assay Office website.
http://www.theassayoffice.co.uk

First you would need to orderthe sponsor’s mark (I can’t remember how
much it cost - UKP 60 or UKP 90) and also you need to register as a
sponsor. The registration is valid for 10 years and after that you
can renew it, if you wish. Every time you are sending a parcel you
would need to fill in a sample note. If you are sending silver and
gold items, you would need two sample notes, as they would consider
the parcel as two jobs (one silver, one gold). There is a charge for
each parcel - UKP 10 + hallmarking charges per piece. Also, they
don’t insure the items whilst in their possession, so you would have
to have a suitable insurance in place. The only time when they would
compensate for an item damaged whilst in their possession is when
their staff damaged it on purpose. And even then, they would only
compensate the amount of raw materials, not the market value of the
item.If you have any questions, you can ring the Assay office.

The staff is really helpful.
Good luck, Lilia


#5

Hi Lou,

The safest way of marking small silver pieces that are below the
hallmarking weight is to stamp them with the word ‘silver’ or
’sterling’ - using a stamp such as ‘925’ may be misunderstood.

Setting up for hallmarking is quite easy - just fill in a form and
send it in to your chosen assay office along with the name stamps you
intend to use and the relevant fee. So long as the name stamp designs
are not already registered to someone else ( you can check with the
assay office before having the stamps made), the assay office will
record the stamps by striking them into copper plates that they keep
as a permanent record and by entering them into their other records
and they will return the punches to you with the assay office mark
and their reference number on the shank. When you send pieces in for
assay, they must then carry one of the registered punch marks on each
piece or detachable part. You can also register a digital sponsor’s
mark for use when having things laser marked - I just gave them a dxf
file of my punch design.

The cost of assaying is based on the type of metal, the weight and
the type of mark. There is a basic cost for the type of metal with
additions to that cost of you want the piece hand marking in specific
places - for example if you want to use the hallmark as part of the
design such as was done on a lot of pieces during the Queen’s silver
jubilee year or the Millennium - or if you want the piece laser
marked.

Ring your local assay office and ask them - they have leaflets with
all the and they are always happy to talk to you. The
London office, at least, also has a ‘student package’ for about UKP30
which includes a tour of the assay office, a sponsor’s mark and
unlimited hallmarking for a period of time.

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#6

Hi all,

Many thanks for all taking the time to reply to me, I will apply for
a pack but I think I have a good grasp of how it work now. Makes
sense for me to try and stick belwo the weight limit for now until
if I see if i’m any good and that I can sell some bits first! Again,
thanks it’s much apprceiated

Lou


#7

A couple of other points…

If you plan to sell your work publicly in the UK them you must, by
law, display the official hallmarking card (which you get from the
Assay Office) at the point of sale.

If the sale is a private one, such as a commissioned piece that will
never be offered for public sale by you, then it doesn’t have to be
hallmarked. It would have to be sold on as ‘white metal’, or the
seller would have to get it hallmarked first. Some bullion dealers,
such as Cooksons, offer a hallmarking service and London Assay Office
will do hallmarking for unregistered makers using a sponsor’s mark of
LAO. This is a very expensive way to do things, though.

Also, if the piece or pieces will be exported without being offered
for public sale in the UK then it doesn’t have to be hallmarked
either.

The London Assay Office will also do ‘part marks’ (I can’t speak for
the other Offices). For example, a necklace made from metal clay and
sterling can have fine silver (999) marks on the discrete metal clay
components and the assembled necklace then marked as sterling.

Personally, I get all my pieces hallmarked regardless of weight. Not
only does this help bulk up the number of pieces I send in at one go,
but customers definitely prefer to see a hallmark.

Pat Waddington


#8
Anything under 7.78g does not need to be hallmarked. 

Slightly misleading statement which could lead to a newcomer
(although they’d have to be a very flush newcomer) happily making
articles in gold or platinum up to 7.78g and not having them
hallmarked.

Anything in SILVER (sterling, Britannia or fine) which is under
7.78g does not need to be hallmarked. For gold it is 1.0g and for
platinum it is 0.5g.

Helen
UK


#9

Hi Pat,

You’ve raised some interesting and very helpful points that I wasn’t
aware of regarding the hallmarking laws and you’ve cleared up some
of the questions about the more obscure parts of the laws too, so
thank you VERY much.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#10

Have any of you ever sent/used a carrier to deliver/return goods
to/from any of the Assay offices?

Or do you always make the journey in person? Any
recommendations…who do you use for insurance?

Thanks
ElleKay


#11

I always use special delivery (ie the good old post office) it is
insured - and if you are in a real hurry they have a 9am delivery
service - costs more but guaranteed in time for the same day
hallmarking service, can’t get better than that!

Lynne


#12

Hello ElleKay,

I am a goldsmith here in the UK and I have been using Royal Mail
Special Delivery service for years now, when sending items for
assaying. Items of a metal value up to UKP 2,500 are covered by this
service, but you can add an insurance of up to UKP 10,000 to this
value amount, to cover any losses other than metal values.

The Hall will post you back your items using the same method. Also if
you are in the London Hatton Garden area, the Goldsmith’s Company
has an assay office dropoff shop in Greville Street, I believe they
also have one near Heathrow.

Check out the Goldsmith’s Company website for details
www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk click on assay office and you will find out
most details.

I hope this is of help
James Miller FIPG