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Hallmarks

A hallmark tells the story of who made an article, what the article is made of (gold, silver, platinum, or palladium), the fineness of the precious metal, and where the article was assayed.

A hallmark must consist of at least three compulsory marks; a Sponsor’s mark (Maker’s mark), a Metal Fineness mark, and an Assay Office town mark. A hallmark may also include an optional date letter, indicating when the article was hallmarked, or an optional traditional Metal Fineness mark, such as the Lion Rampant (Sterling silver).

To find out more about hallmarking, visit our About Hallmarking page.

We are unable to provide details of any makers currently registered with us for privacy reasons. However, we can pass your details onto them to allow them to contact you.

If you would like to trace a historical hallmark, the Historical Database developed by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths can help you match an item with an Edinburgh town mark to its maker.

No. Members of the public may have up to five items hallmarked under our Sponsor’s mark (EAO) on a one off basis. However, if you require regular hallmarking, you must register yourself.

A “Feature Mark” or “Display Mark” is a larger hallmark (greater than 1.75mm in height). These hallmarks are normally applied in a conspicuous location to form a feature on an item.

These marks cost more simply because they take more time and skill to apply.

If you would like to specify the size and layout of the hallmark applied to your work, you can view our price list for large and decorative marks here.

We have the best laser marking facilities in the UK. Our 3D laser marks will last just as long as contact marks, providing they are applied to a suitable depth.

The Convention Hallmark, or Common Control Mark, is an internationally recognised hallmark applied to articles to indicate that they meet the minimum standards of metal fineness.

As the UK is a signatory to the International Convention on Hallmarks, all UK Assay Offices can apply the Convention Hallmark to articles that have passed assay.

Convention Marks are recognised by all member countries in the International Convention, and articles bearing Convention Marks do not have to be re-hallmarked in the UK.

Further information about Convention Marks is available on page 6 of the Hallmarking Guidance Notes.

Registration

You can begin your registration for the Edinburgh Assay Office online. Registration costs £60 + VAT for ten years, plus the cost of your punch for contact marks and/or a graphic for laser marks.

Punch price can vary depending on size and style, but generally you will pay approximately £85 including VAT. A graphic for laser marking costs £25 + VAT to create.

You can apply to have your logo registered as a Sponsor’s mark, however, it must have at least two initials contained within a definable shape for purposes of traceability.

If your logo is not a registered Sponsor’s mark, but you would still like to apply your logo to an article, it must be far enough away from the hallmark so as to not confuse it with the Sponsor’s mark.

When you begin your registration, you will be asked to indicate which initials you would like to use for your Sponsor’s mark and what shape you would like your initials in. If your desired combination is already in use, you will need to change your chosen initials and/or shape.

A full list of available shapes can be viewed here.

Yes. We are pleased to offer a discounted registration package for all fulltime students of recognised jewellery and silversmithing courses.

Student registration costs just £60 + VAT for a ten-year registration and a basic two initial punch. We will also create a graphic for laser marking for free.

Start your registration online.

This discounted registration is supported by The Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust.

Yes, as long as no one else is registered with the same Sponsor’s mark. Please contact us for further information.

Submitting items for hallmarking

Standard hallmarking takes approximately three to four business days. However, at busy times of year this may change.

If you need your work returned urgently, you can contact us about booking in for an emergency service. Emergency services are subject to availability and will incur a surcharge:

Next business day – 50% surcharge (all articles must be received by 1pm)
Same business day – 100% surcharge (all articles must be received by 11am)
One hour service – 100% surcharge + £20 (for a maximum of 5 articles)

Please contact us to book an emergency service.

Contact marking can normally be applied to jewellery at any stage in its manufacture. For finished jewellery the compromise is that the mark is normally small and lightly applied to eliminate any bruising or distortion. Contact marking remains the quickest and most cost-effective marking technique.

Laser marking can be applied to any item at any stage. It is particularly useful for items that are hollow or so light that a contact mark is not possible. It also allows for larger marks to be applied in areas that would not be possible by contact marking. Due to the time taken to set up our lasers for custom marks and the cost of the equipment itself, laser marking costs more than contact marking, especially for smaller batches.

If you’re not sure which type of mark would best suit your work, please contact us for guidance.

Yes. You must complete a separate hallnote for each metal type AND each metal standard you are submitting.

You also need to complete a separate hallnote for any mixed-metal articles and any articles for laser marking.

We recommend the use of our Virtual Assay Office to complete hallnotes.

For unfinished product, we normally remove a discrete sample from a sprue or a similar area. For finished articles, or articles that will not allow sample removal, we will test items using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF), which is a non-destructive test. If we are unable to obtain a result that allows us to pass the article we may have to remove material.

You will be contacted prior to any material being removed. We have a fully equipped jewellery workshop and will return your item in the same condition it was submitted.

It is important that you ensure you have filled out your hallnotes correctly and with as much detail as possible. This helps us to ensure that all hallmarking meets your specifications. It also helps us to keep turnaround time down.

If you require assistance completing your hallnote or guidance on using our Virtual Assay Office, please contact us. Incomplete or incorrect hallnotes may result in the addition of an administration fee to your bill.

Any article that is made of more than one metal type, precious or otherwise, is a “mixed metal” article.

An explanation of what constitutes “mixed metals”, hallmarking requirements, and guidance on hallmarking Mokume Gane articles can be found in pages 8-13 of the Hallmarking Guidance Notes.

If you are having contact marks applied, you should present your work unfinished. If you request laser marking, it is best to present your work pre-polished or finished, as excessive sanding or polishing may adversely affect the mark.

Yes. If you would prefer to hold and apply your own Sponsor’s mark, you are able to do so.

You can also apply your Sponsor’s mark to articles made by you that are exempt from hallmarking.

Yes. If you would like the hallmark placed in a specific area, you can mark this area with a permanent marker and provide details on a Special Instructions Sheet or, if you prefer, request a call from the Assessor when you submit your items.

We will always strive to meet your requests, providing they are technically feasible.

Unless otherwise advised, we will place hallmarks in the most suitable place available on an article. Our objectives are to minimise distortion and to ensure the hallmark is discretely positioned.

Distribution services

Absolutely. Our distribution service can be tailored to suit your business no matter your size or location.

Our distribution services allow you to tailor a range of options.

Anything from having your goods sent directly to us from your manufacturer and then on to your distributer to having consolidated shipments sent to us to be broken down for distribution after hallmarking. We even do final mile delivery to consumers for online jewellery retailers.

Our systems are also designed to integrate with yours to create a seamless process where you and your customers have full visibility of product movements.

Our award-winning distribution and third-party logistics (3PL) service is a completely customisable service designed to help you achieve your business goals.

This service allows importers and retailers to ship goods directly to us to be hallmarked, packaged, and delivered to the end customer.

Find out more

Charges

No. The basic compulsory format and the additional traditional format are priced identically.

When finished items are submitted in individual packaging, like zip sealed bags, they must be removed from these bags prior to sampling and marking. The process of taking items in and out of protective packaging and maintaining their finish often takes longer than the hallmarking process itself. Handling charges help to cover some of this additional cost.

Multiple layers of packaging on individual items increases the time taken to access them, and handling charges increase correspondingly.

We have designed a simple pricing structure to make estimating the cost of your hallmarking easy and accurate.

All articles under 100g are charged at the same single unit price, no matter the type of article or the type of metal. Each type of metal will incur a minimum charge, which includes all statutory hallmarking, Sponsor’s marks, handling and postage:

1-2 articles – £15
3-10 articles – £20
11-25 articles – £25

If you submit 26+ articles, the price per article is 45p for articles under 100g, with a further 1p for every additional gram, and 20p for the application of your Sponsor’s mark.

Our full price list can be downloaded here.

Ethical marks

Yes. After you have registered with FairTrade or FairMined, we will be notified that you are authorised to receive these marks. FairTrade/FairMined marks cost an additional 20p to apply.

Please note that registering with FairTrade or FairMined is your responsibility, and until we have received confirmation from them we will not be able to apply ethical marks.

Find out more about ethical production here.

The Law and hallmarking

Any article described as being wholly or partly made of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium that is not covered under exempt articles must be hallmarked in accordance with the Hallmarking Act of 1973.

If you are found to be in breach of the 1973 Hallmarking Act by selling un-hallmarked articles described as being partly or wholly made of precious metals, Trading Standard Officers have the power to seize the offending items and issue a fine of up to £5,000 per article.

The main exemptions are for articles below a certain weight. Articles weighing less than 7.78g for silver, 1g for gold and palladium, and 0.5g for platinum do not need to be hallmarked.

The exemption weight is based on the weight of the precious metal in the article, excluding diamonds, stones, etc., except in the case of articles consisting of precious and base metal, in which case the exemption weight is based o the total metal weight.

A full list of exemptions can be found on pages 14-16 of the Hallmarking Guidance Notes.

If you are selling jewellery that requires hallmarking in a shop or at a stall, you are required to display a Dealer’s Notice. If you don’t display a Dealer’s Notice, you could be liable for a fine. This is specifically required under Section 11 of the 1973 Hallmarking Act.

We recommend linking to the Dealer’s Notice on your website to provide important information for your customers, but this is not currently mandatory.

You can download a Dealer’s Notice here.

Testing

Yes. Our Lab offers a range of precious metal testing services.

Please visit out Laboratory Services page or contact us for further information.