WHY IS THE HALLMARK IMPORTANT?
Traders who wish to sell precious metal jewellery, ie Platinum, Gold or Silver in the UK must follow the rules laid out by law in the Hallmarking Act 1973.
For the manufacture of jewellery and silverware precious metals are not used in their purest forms. Instead they are mixed with other metals like zinc and copper, known as base metals. The resulting mixture is what is called an alloy. This is done to give greater strength, durability or a particular colour to the metal.
It is not possible to discern by sight or by touch how much precious metal, if any, is present in an alloy. It is therefore a legal requirement, in the UK, to hallmark all articles consisting of gold, silver or platinum (subject to certain exemptions) if they are to be described as such.
Precious metal is expensive. If you buy an item which contains less precious metal than it should, then you are being cheated. The hallmark is your guarantee so you know what you are buying.
It is an offence under the UK Hallmarking Act 1973 for any person in the course of trade or business to:
Describe an un-hallmarked article as being wholly or partly made of gold, silver or platinum.
Supply or offer to supply un-hallmarked articles to which such a description is applied.