Did you know that hallmarking is a legal requirement in the UK for items in all precious metals over a certain weight?

For sterling silver, anything over 7.78g must be hallmarked.

And what is hallmarking? 

Hallmarking is a set of component marks applied to the article (in my case, my jewellery). These marks mean that the article has been independently tested and guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity (fineness). It also guarantees provenance by telling you where the piece was hallmarked, what the piece is made of and who sent the piece. 

The 5 marks on the piece are the following:

  • The Sponsor / Makers Mark - (that’s me) and mine is EJM. (And this has its unique combination of shield shape surrounding the initials)
  • The traditional fineness symbol - which for sterling silver is a lion on its side
  • The millesimal fineness mark, which tells you how fine or what quality the metal is - in this case sterling silver is 925, as it means 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metal, generally copper. This alloy helps make it more durable, as pure silver can be too soft to wear everyday. 
  • The Assay Office symbol - in my case I’m registered with Goldsmith Assay Office in London, which is the symbol of a leopard’s head
There are currently 3 other assay offices in the UK, with their unique symbols: 
Birmingham - The Anchor
Edinburgh - The Three Towered Castle
Sheffield - The Yorkshire Rose
  • Finally the letter representing the year - This year is 2023 and the letter is ‘Y’


The idea behind this is so that the customer has total guarantee of where and what the article is made from. 

Pretty cool, hey?

What I found really interesting before I knew about silversmithing, is that I used to think that having the silver stamped with 925 guaranteed this, but it’s only with the assay’s official marks that you know it has been officially approved, otherwise it is by word of the maker.

If items are under 7.78g they are exempt from hallmarking and this can save passing on the costs. However if requested and for one off commissions I am very happy to do so.

So there you have it, I find it so interesting to know what the marks mean and I also find it pretty amazing to have a hallmark, which will be around long after me! 


Hallmarking Guarantee