How Hallmarking Works

Each hallmark tells its own story through a series of individual marks within the hallmark. The first of these is usually the Sponsor's mark. This mark shows either who made the piece, or more commonly who submitted the piece for hallmarking.

For the purposes of traceability you must register a Sponsor's mark of your own with the Edinburgh Assay Office before you can begin sending goods for Hallmarking. Members of the general public can submit goods for hallmarking under the Edinburgh Assay Office sponsor without the need to register.

A Sponsor's mark or Maker's mark consists of at least 2 initials combined with a shape surrounding the initials. The initials of the person or the company applying for registration are normally combined with one of the punch surround shapes available to make up a unique Sponsor's mark.

The cost of registration for the first time is £72.00. You will be required to re-register every 10 years. Re-registration costs £36.00.

Contact us to enquire about registration, or apply to register online.

Download a list of punch shapes. Download a registration form.

As part of the registration process you will be asked select or design a unique punch shape containing your initials. Once your unique mark has been registered we can arrange for any punches that you require to be made up. The Edinburgh Assay Office offers a full punch manufacturing service. We will advise on the size and types of punches you will require.

We recommend that customers take advantage of our Virtual Assay Office when submitting goods for hallmarking.

Each separate fineness or standard of metal must be sent with an individual fully-completed hallnote. Any special instructions regarding sampling or marking should be given on a separate special instruction sheet and attached to the back of the hallnote. If you are the manufacturer of the goods, when possible include scrap or off cuts of the metal used to make the piece, or if it is cast leave a small section of the casting sprue attached for testing.

In the case of finished goods this is not necessary. If you would like the Edinburgh Assay Office to apply your sponsor's mark please tick the box on the hallnote. If you want the mark applied in a specific location please indicate with an ink line on the piece.

Contact us to register for our Virtual Assay Office service.

Download a hallnote. Download a special instruction sheet.

Before your goods can be hallmarked they must first of all be tested to ensure they are of the standard submitted.

Where it is not possible to remove a sample of metal for testing we are able to test using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF). This method is ideal for finished gold, silver and platinum pieces and does not require the removal of any material.

Sometimes in order to test your goods we must first remove a sample of metal. The amount of sample removed is normally less than 100 milligrams (one tenth of a gram). However, our fully trained and equipped jewellery finishing service ensures your products are returned in perfect order.

Any sample physically removed is analysed by our in house 17025 laboratory using cupellation (fire assay) for gold, potentiometric titration for silver, or X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) for platinum and palladium.

Once your item has passed the assay test the Edinburgh Assay Office will apply a hallmark to the item to verify that it has been tested and has passed the relevant standard. The hallmark can be applied to an item of precious metal in different ways, depending on the stage of manufacture, the size and construction of the item and the number of like items submitted with it.

Hand Marking

As the name suggests, during hand marking the hallmark is stamped by hand with a punch and a hammer. This technique is ideal for small batches or large single pieces. Before the introduction of laser marking this was the only means of marking delicate items. The Edinburgh Assay Office long led the field in this type of marking and the specialist skills required are retained to this day.

Machine Marking

Machine marking involves a punch being applied to the article in similar way to hand marking except that the hallmarking punch is pressed or struck into the item using hydro-pneumatic presses. This technique is ideal for larger batches of like products and remains the quickest and most cost effective means of applying a hallmark.

Laser Marking

Laser marking does not require any physical contact with the item. The mark is applied by a very precise computer controlled laser engraving machine. Laser hallmarking is ideal for hallmarking hollow or delicate items as well as for applying marks in an area where it would be otherwise impossible to strike a mark.

More information on current marks is available.

Downloads & Information

The latest Pricelist / Hallnote and other forms and technical information are available on our downloads page.

Pricing

We have the simplest of pricing structures. Regardless of the metal or product type all articles under 100 grams are charged at the same single unit charge. This makes estimating hallmarking costs easy and accurate.

For pricing information see our price list.

Special terms are available for students with our student registration package.

Student Registration Package

The Edinburgh Assay Office is delighted to offer all full time students of jewellery and silversmithing the chance to register for our valuable Student Package which includes:

  • Registration of a sponsor’s mark, valid for 10 years.
  • A discounted hallmarking punch, basic 2 initial punch up to 0.50mm at the discounted rate of £60 plus VAT.
    (Larger punches can be purchased if required but these will be charged at the full undiscounted rate)
  • Free laser sponsor mark artwork.

This package is valued at over £140 and all jewellery and silversmithing students have to pay is the discounted cost of the punch.

This offer is open to all students on a full time recognised jewellery and silversmithing course who study in the UK. All you need to do for proof of student status is get your registration form stamped and signed by your tutor.

This is a revised offer, valid from 1st September 2012 and supersedes all previous offers.

Register online. Alternatively, please download a student registration form or contact the Edinburgh Assay Office.

Supported by The Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust.


If you intend to submit consistently high volumes of hallmarking or would like a contracted turnaround please contact us.