HOW OLD IS MY JEWELLERY?
How to identify Hallmarks?
Reveal the secrets of your most loved pieces of jewellery.
In 1355 jewellery maker marks were introduced to France, in 1396 England followed by introducing a similar concept. By 1478 'The Assay Office' was established in the Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London. Hallmarking as we know it today did not come into law until 1973, this is why some pieces are fully hallmarked and others are not.
Uncovering the secrets of antique jewellery is one of the most exciting parts of our job.
What do they mean?
As shown in the diagram, each mark which has been struck into the metal holds a meaning.
THE MAKERS MARK
This mark indicates who made the piece, either a jeweller or a company. Researching the makers mark can be the hardest task because the marks were just initials and can be confused with other makers. The Assay Office offer an identification service.
ASSAY OFFICE & METAL
The 'Crown' and the '22' indicate the piece was hallmarked in London and the piece is made from 22ct gold. Other values might include 375 (9ct), 750 (18ct).
In addition to the Crown other Assay offices included Birmingham (Anchor), Sheffield (Rose) and Edinburgh (Castle) to name a few. The Assay Office has four official sites but at one point there were ten.
The letter at the end indicated the year the piece was hallmarked. Each year a new letter with a new font type is issued.
You can look up the letter on your piece at the Assay Office.
Written by Tiffany
Tiffany is the owner of Mayveda Jewellery. A family run jewellery business in the heart of Clerkenwell, London.