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Hallmarking and The Birmingham Assay Office

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

We were privileged to be invited for a tour at the Birmingham Assay Office. It was founded in 1773 as a result of Matthew Boulton (industrial revolutionist and entrepreneur) lobbing parliament. He understood that the local jewellers needed an assay office of their own to truly succeed. The other assay offices across the UK are in Edinburgh, London and Sheffield. The Birmingham Assay Office is one of the busiest in the world. Being based in Jewellery quarter has meant that we have been using their services for many years.

It was great to get a behind the scenes look at their process. They have a fantastic video on their website with more information.


Items that we make ourselves will be marked either with 925 or Silver, unless we are legally obliged to mark them some other way, such as being over the UK legal standard for hallmarking.

Otherwise, we leave the marking of our jewellery to our suppliers. The vast majority of these are discreetly marked .925 but we cannot guarantee this.

However as a warning, the most clearly marked jewellery is the fake silver, often sold on online auction sites


Why Hallmark your Goods?

All of the precious metals used in the production of jewellery are an alloy. The precious metal has to be be mixed with other elements to give it properties, such as flexibility, which are required to produce a quality jewellery.


It is not possible to tell how much precious metal there is in a piece of jewellery by just looking at it, which creates a huge opportunity for fraudsters to cheat the public. To prevent this from happening, it is in the best interest for honest suppliers to hallmark their goods to protect their customers as well as their own reputations.


Are your products Hallmarked?

We hallmark our goods to UK legal standards.


This means that all Carat Gold items containing more than 1gm of gold or Sterling Silver items containing more than 7.8gm of silver per piece (earrings and cufflinks contain 2 pieces, chains and pendants are separate products) have to be independently hallmarked by a government approved Assay Office, in our case the Birmingham Assay Office.


Our products with the HM suffix are voluntarily hallmarked, these pieces don't meet the weight to legally require hallmarking. Each year we voluntarily hallmark over 10,000 pieces. Clients from Ireland and Switzerland have to submit all precious metal products for assaying and many other clients use UK hallmarking as a marketing tool. These products are taken from our normal stock, this together with the fact that our lighter pieces come from exactly the same sources as our heavier pieces assures us that everything we supply is Genuine Sterling Silver.


If you wish for any item below 7.8gm to be hallmarked this can be done for £1 with a week lead time.

You can call our customer service team on +44 121 604 5446 to speak to someone about voluntary hallmarking.


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​© 2018 W J Sutton Ltd.