Sterling Silver Hallmarks – Why?
In this day and age when so many
of our products are mass produced in the far east it is good to
know that we can still make high quality luxury goods in the
country of origin. In the UK sterling silver is still produced
in the traditional way and stamped with a hallmark to prove its
origin and silver content. There are two premium areas of
manufacturing - Sheffield specializing in sterling silver
flatware and cutlery, and Birmingham concentration on sterling
silver gifts and tableware.
Hallmarks were introduced in the
late 18th century as a guarantee that the
manufacturer is producing real sterling silver on each and every
piece and to protect the purchaser. Sterling silver in the UK,
or solid silver, must have a precious metal content of 925 parts
in 1000 and be independently assessed as so. Every piece of
sterling silver in stamped with an independent hallmark.
Sterling silver hallmark explained
hallmark consist of 4 marks or symbols:-
Makers mark – every sterling
silver manufacturer has a unique mark. For example the mark for
Broadway Silversmiths is B&Co.
The Standard mark – indicated
that the silver is at least 925 parts in 1000 and is represented
by an anchor.
The Assay Office mark – each
item is tested and stamped with the hallmark at an independent
government run offices in Birmingham, London, Sheffield and
Edinburgh. The Birmingham mark is a lion.
The Date mark – a single letter
indicates the year (since the year 1773) in which the product
was hallmarked. Obviously since we have a maximum of 26 letters
the form of it changes – capitals, small letters and different
Ensure that if you purchase any
UK sterling silver quality tableware or gift that it has been
formally and independently assessed by checking that there is an
Sterling silver silverware - condiments set from Broadway of