What are those tiny inscriptions on your favorite jewelry?


Have you ever wondered about the tiny inscriptions that are printed on the back of gold, silver, platinum or jewelry items? The chances that you are wearing the jewel of declared purity. These brands are there for several reasons –

a. The maker takes pride in their work, so signed the piece with a seal or symbol;

b. To follow the goods throughout the work chain in a workshop;

vs. Because a legal procedure has been adopted, as in few countries making it compulsory before the sale. The last of them are called “Hallmarking”. We reached out to Dr C Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, 150 Years Heritage Jewelery House C Krishniah Chetty Group Of Jewelers to explain the same in detail.

The necessity and origin of the gold mark

Punching is necessary today because during the manufacture of jewelry and silverware, precious metals are not used in their pure state, because they are too soft. Gold, silver and platinum are often alloyed with copper or other metals to form an alloy more suited to the requirements of the jewel or the consumer or to the standards followed by the jeweler. Such an alloy must be strong, handy, but attractive.

Therefore, the articles manufactured and sold have different metallic purities and should be properly disclosed to the buyer at a sale. To validate its stated purity and protect customers from lower metal standards, and to ensure that the purchase is genuine of a specific purity, the item’s hallmark has been made mandatory.

The earliest form of hallmarking originated in Europe, dating back to King Louis IX of France and Edward I of England in the 12th century, where state-appointed assayers examined each precious metal item and subsequently hallmarked each individual silversmith. with prescribed marks and date of production before being put on public sale.

The term “punch” refers to the Goldsmith Company Assay Office where punching began in 1327, 700 years ago, with the status passed by King Edward III of England to the “Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths”, headquartered is in London. The English term “hallmark” comes from this room where the marks were affixed after the tests, as well as its official marks.

Thus, hallmarks are official markings made by the proper authorities, the jeweler himself or as determined by the government, or both and used on items which are precisely determined with the official registration of the proportional precious metal content in articles to protect the public from adulteration and to require manufacturers to maintain legal standards of title.

In addition, some official marks have also been used to celebrate major events like the ones found here.

Jewelry punching in the UK

All precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium sold in the UK have a legally recognized hallmark. With a few exceptions for an item of precious metal weighing less than a certain amount. The minimum weight thresholds are:

Gold 1 gram.

Silver 7.78 grams.

Platinum 0.5 gram.

Palladium 1 gram.

The articles are said to be fully punched if they consist of following 3 obligatory punches.

A) The registered trademark of the company or manufacturer. This mark has at least 2 letters.

B) The precious metal content is recorded in parts per thousand.

C) A test office mark.

Interesting more details

The 4 brands of the UK testing office use the corresponding brands

Birmingham uses an anchor.

Edinburgh uses a three-tower castle.

London uses a leopard head.

Sheffield uses the York rose.

These standard marks determined the purity of metals

The passing lion designates the silver (title 925) marked in England.

Lion rampant designates the silver (925 finesse) marked in Scotland.

Britannia Silver (Title 958).

Palladium (title 950) is indicated by the helmeted head of Pallas Athena.

The crown indicates gold.

Orb indicates platinum.

International convention mark

The members of the International Hallmark Convention apply, accept and recognize these common control marks in their countries. The member countries of the convention are Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Kingdom.

Punching jewelry in the United States:

The United States does not have an appropriate analytical system. Customers are sometimes offered gold that suffers from under-characterization, as the gold grade offered may be lower than stated. The best guarantee is an organization such as Jewelers of America that places the letter “J” above the entry to ensure the quality of the goods and is committed to following the Code of

Ethics. However, the manufacturer’s mark remains solely responsible before the law. Any violation of customer rights can lead to huge claims.

In the United States, a voluntary jewelers organization designates a membership in the Plumb Gold Club which has more stringent guidelines and tests.

Jewelry Punching in Singapore (Singapore Assay Office):

Singapore Test Service’s SAO is an independently accredited analysis center for testing and punching precious metals such as gold and silver. The analysis process is carried out using equipment such as XRF fluorescence spectrometer and fire analysis methods which follow Singapore standard SS581: 2012 to be considered for punching.

The punch consists of:

A) The SAO lion head marking.

B) The Fineness brand represents the purity of the metal.

C) The jeweler marks a simple logo or words to represent the company or manufacturer.

Jewelry punching in Japan

The government of Japan has never practiced or discussed gold testing, analysis and hallmarking systems i

The Japanese government has never practiced or discussed systems for testing, analyzing and punching gold jewelry. Japan tends to accept metals such as gold, silver, and platinum from international standards organizations.

The following acceptable standards are:

Fineness gold – 917, 835 750, 625, 585, 500, 417 and 375.

Fineness silver – 950, 925, 900 and 800.

Title platinum – 950, 900 and 850.


The purpose of mandatory hallmarking is to build customer confidence and protect them from unwarranted claims about the purity of gold or other precious metals. As observed above, each milligram of jewelry should be hallmarked regardless of its weight.

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