Hallmarking is an important part of my jewellery making process. Read on to learn what hallmarking is and why I do it.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement that all silver jewellery above 7.7 grams and any gold above 1 gram is hallmarked. What does getting a hallmark actually mean? It means that a piece of jewellery is sent to an Assay office (there are four in the UK - London, Sheffield, Birmingham and Edinburgh). The assay office will test each piece of jewellery for the metal fineness. In other words, if I tell them it is silver they test the silver is 92.5% silver, if I tell them it is 22k gold they test and verify the carats in the gold. This process is called assaying.
Each maker has to register a mark at one of the above offices. My hallmark is registered at The Goldsmith’s Company Assay Office in London. This is where hallmarking originally began over 700 years ago.
‘The practice of hallmarking was first recorded in 1300 when King Edward I tried again to prevent frauds being committed by goldsmiths: he passed a statute for this very purpose. From then onwards, ‘Guardians of the craft’ were to go from ‘shop to shop’ to assay work and apply the leopard’s head mark. Silver had to be of sterling standard (92.5% pure silver) and gold had to be of the ‘touch of Paris’ (19.2 carats). ‘ Gold markings have evolved over 700 years to take into account different carats of gold. CREDIT Goldsmith's Company Assay Office London
This ancient practice there guarantees the fineness of each piece I make. This process is specific to the UK and does not happen in all countries, such as the US where a maker can stamp their own work.
What does each mark mean?
The first mark is my sponsor’s mark - LDZ for Laura De Zordo. This is ollowed by the type of metal metal (as you can see in the image below, it’s a lion for silver and then the number attributed to the silver content 925). Then follows the classic leopard’s head which represents the London office that has tested the metal. Lastly, there is a letter marked which relates which year it was hallmarked. This process ensures the utmost quality in your special piece.
This year with the Queen’s Jubilee celebration there is an additional hallmark available called the Platinum Jubilee mark. This celebrates Her Majesty the Queen’s 70 year reign - the longest in British history - turning any piece into an historical artefact.If you have any questions about the Laura De Zordo hallmarking process, please do drop me a line or email me at Laura@LauraDeZordo.co.uk