Edinburgh Assay Office appoints ‘Master Marker’


The Edinburgh Assay Office has recently appointed one of their longest serving members of staff, Charles Munro, to the newly created position of Master Marker.

The position of Master Marker represents the very highest standard in hand marking. The role preserves the traditional skills and processes involved in hand marking that remain virtually unchanged since the castle hallmark was first applied in Edinburgh in 1457.

The Assay Office and The Incorporation of Goldsmiths are committed to supporting craftspeople and whilst the Assay Office continues to develop new technologies in order to provide cutting edge hallmarking services to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving jewellery industry, it remains dedicated to providing a personal and traditional service for craftspeople.

Charles Munro is the Assay Office’s most experienced member of the hallmarking team and his appointment to this position recognises his commitment, skills and enthusiasm for the craft. He began his career with the Assay Office in 1985 and has since applied the hallmark to some of the most prestigious silver commissions in recent history including, The Scottish Parliament’s silver mace, The Honours of Scotland sculpture, The Millennium Collection and the Silver of the Stars collection.



Assay Assured Survey Findings Reinforces The Need for a Jewellery Specific Trust Mark

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Edinburgh Assay Office published findings today showing that over 90% of shoppers believe that knowing that their online jewellery purchase is genuine is ‘very important. While 70% of consumers will look for a trust scheme on the site before committing to a purchase.

The results of the survey, commissioned in partnership with QP Jewellers, demonstrates how important provenance is to the internet consumer.

In 2014, UK online retail sales rose to £37 billion. While more and more people shop online, today’s survey shows that trust remains one of the biggest barriers to trade with 80% saying they will only consider buying from retailers they are familiar with.

The problem for retailers is that in this digital age, counterfeiters are able to replicate a brand’s website, including photography, in exact detail. So much so that it may take an expert eye in distinguishing it from the legitimate entity.

Online counterfeiting has a real and very negative impact on the jewellery retail industry incurring both financial and reputational loss to the company. When a purchase is made via the internet the customer won’t get to touch the product until it arrives and items are sold mainly on the basis of photos which, sadly, are simple for the counterfeiters to copy.

To combat this, Edinburgh Assay office launched Assay Assured, the world’s first jewellery specific consumer online assurance scheme, in 2012.



Assay Assured Survey Findings Reinforces The Need for a Jewellery Specific Trust Mark


We surveyed over 400 online jewellery consumers to ask about their online shopping habits. The results demonstrated to us the need within the industry for a jewellery specific trust mark, and confirmed that trust was still a large barrier for consumers purchasing jewellery online.

The full results of the survey can be seen below.


When purchasing jewellery online, how likely would you be to buy from a retailer you were familiar with?


Chart 1








The Bigger Picture about E-Commerce

Ten years ago most jewellery retailers were only selling UK hallmarked product to UK consumers through traditional bricks and mortar retail outlets. With the exception of large multiples, most jewellery retailers were only sourcing UK hallmarked product from UK agents, wholesalers or buying groups.

A decade on and things have changed. E-commerce has opened up a European, and in some cases, an international market for UK retailers. E-commerce has also created a UK market for overseas retailers. More UK independents are now buying product directly from overseas manufacturers and importing it themselves. The growth of international jewellery brands that transcend traditional geographic retail boundaries have led to an evolution in jewellery logistics, distribution and hallmarking compliance.

When selling precious metal jewellery overseas, directly sourcing jewellery from overseas or selling jewellery across multiple countries, it is essential to understand your regulatory compliance obligations for each market. Failure to do so, in some cases, can result in product being seized at customs. Navigating the complexities of international hallmarking compliance can be daunting but it’s not as complicated as you may think.


Members Required for the British Hallmarking Council

The Secretary of State wishes to appoint four members to the British Hallmarking Council, a partner body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. If you have experience in the trading or manufacture of articles of precious metals, such as jewellery and antiques, a background in consumer protection or experience gained in another field of expertise relevant to the work of the Council, such as economics or quality assurance, we would like to hear from you.


The 5 P’s – The Hallmarks of an Outstanding Hallmark



We refer to these as the 5 Ps and the same rules apply for hand, machine and laser hallmarks.


Perfect – The hallmark should be clearly legible 

A hallmark should be clearly and evenly applied with all of the mark’s detail legible. For smaller marks it may require the use of magnification to read. Under 10X magnification it should be clearly readable with no doubling or blurring of the mark. All parts of the mark should be complete. Laser marks should be clean with no traces of burn.


Positioned – It should be well placed on the item

The hallmark should be in a good position on the jewellery and should look like it belongs there. It should run parallel to lines of the jewellery and appear centred. The mark should avoid the sizing area on a ring.