Dating british silver hallmarks

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This is an international mark called a Convention Mark and may have been put on by the maker in some far flung corner of the globe - it does not mean that the item has been tested by an independent body.Authentic British Sterling Silver, Gold or Platinum hallmarked items usually carry a minimum of 3 and up to 5 different stamped symbols.Although it has to be said that most cases are a result of miscalculation.For example, if the clip of a pen is not made of silver, but the rest of the pen is, then the Assay office would not hallmark the object if by their calculation the whole pen (clip an all) melted down would not still contain 925 part pure silver.Silver jewelry marks can also include the region or town where the piece was made and/or dateletters to indicate the year when the piece was made.

The Cupellation process is the most accurate method for determining metal purity and is still the standard technique practiced today - although electronic and chemical tests are now common for small and delicate items.The punches are produced in various proportions, appropriate for petite pieces of jewellery to hefty items of Silverware.Punches are made in straight shanks for normal punching with a hammer, or ring shanks used with a press to mark rings.To be sold as Silver or any other precious metal, all finished items must undergo tests carried out by the assay office.There are four Assay offices in the UK (London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh) and each undertakes tests to ascertain the precise metal content of the items delivered to it to ensure they comply with the law.

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