Assay Office Hallmarks
Sponsor's Marks, Makers Marks & Assay Office Hallmarks
Every item of gold and silver over a certain weight sold in the United Kingdom must, by law carry the proper official marks. The marks are a mix of makers marks and Assay Office marks. During manufacture of an item, the goldsmith or silversmith must submit his pieces for testing. Gold is usually available in a variety of carats. 9 carat gold contains 9 parts of gold out of 24. 18 carat gold is made from 18 parts of gold out of 24. The remaining parts are used to harden the gold, give it the correct metallurgical properties for the manufacturing technique employed and colour the gold. The usual yellow gold colour uses silver as the main hardening alloy metal, rose gold substitutes copper for part of the silver. White, green, blue and even purple can be produced but, with the exception of white, are rarely done so. If the proper gold content is met (according to one of the legal standards of finess or purity), the assay office will apply the corresponding marks. There are currently four Assay offices in the UK, Edinburgh, Sheffield, London and Birmingham. The various marks to be found on a piece of our jewellery are as follows :
The Welsh Gold Mark - Aur Cymru - Welsh Gold - Makers Mark
This signifies that only gold of Welsh origin is present in the alloy. The AC mark is exclusive to us. Where space permits, the three feathers mark and the words "Aur Cymru" are also applied.
the three feathers mark the Aur Cymru stamp
The Goldsmith's Makers Mark
An individual goldsmith is appointed by us to handcraft each piece. His mark is often applied to the piece and is akin to an artist signing his work. Where this mark is not applied, the skills of several goldsmiths may have been employed.
The Assay Standard Hallmark
This shows the minimum gold content of the piece. There are no negative tolerances permitted by UK Assay Offices. The mark consists of three numbers giving the gold content in thousandths. For instance, 9ct is 375, 14ct is 585, 18ct is 750, 22ct is 916, fine gold (24ct) is 999. The number stamp is sometimes preceeded by a crown stamp, denoting that the piece has been made in the UK, in our case in Cardiff. Since January 1999, this mark has not always been applied, since a change in the regulations removed it from the compulsory marks. If you would like it on your order, please specifically request the crown stamp at the time of order placement.
The Assay Office Mark.
This denotes the office testing the alloy. An anchor mark signifies the Birmingham Assay Office. The London Assay Office is denoted by a leopard's head. The Rose is applied by Sheffield and the castle by Edinburgh.
The Date Letter.
This denotes the year of Assay. A special Millenium mark is available for 1999 & 2000. This is in a cross pattern. The standard date letter for 1999 is a capital "Z". The date letter for 2000 is a lower case "a". The date letter mark has not been compulsory since January 1999 but we can arrange for the assay office to apply it if you wish.
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