A hallmark is an official distinctive mark or series of marks struck on articles of precious metal such as Gold, Silver, and Platinum, and in some countries Palladium to authenticate the fineness / purity. Commonly a hallmark will comprise of three compulsory marks; the sponsor’s mark, the standard mark and the assay office mark, with a fourth mark known as the date letter which is optional.




Due to the high value of precious metals, there are significant financial profits gained by reducing the content of an alloy during the manufacturing process. There are many unscrupulous entities who deliberately substitute the use of base metal articles plated with a thin layer of either Gold, Silver or Platinum to appear and pass off as genuine solid precious metal. To combat this fraudulent activity most countries worldwide have made independent testing and hallmarking compulsory. Specifically here in UK where current legislation of ‘1973 The Hallmarking Act’ requires all precious metal articles confirm to legal standards. See below offical documentation from the Assay Office:


Ventura Jewellery Official Assay Office Hallmarking Act 1973 dealer's notice



The law applies to everything that is sold in the UK regardless of where it may have been manufactured. The only exemptions to articles which are not required to be hallmarked are if they weigh less than 1 gram for Gold, 7.78 grams for Silver, 0.5 grams for Platinum and 1 gram for Palladium. Such articles are only exempt on weight as long as they are of the standard declared.



The hallmarking convention is an international treaty between contracting countries which has been established to facilitate and promote the cross-border trade of precious metal articles in compliance to industry standards of quality control. Those who participate in the convention, recognise that articles, which have been marked with the Convention Common Control Mark (CCM) and which are of legal fineness / purity can enter their territory without any additional control or re-hallmarking. The CCM mark is therefore recognised as a symbol of quality not only by the contracting countries but also those worldwide.