The hallmarks on the jewelry allow to determine the name of the manufacturer, in addition to guaranteeing the proportions of each precious metal. They also prove the payment of the corresponding fees to the body responsible for the guarantee. Thus, a piece of jewelry can have several hallmarks. They are chiseled using a punch tool. Marks are made in inconspicuous places on the jewelry or object. And in the event that it has detachable or independent parts, the seal must appear in each of them.
The regulation of punches around the world
Standards vary from country to country and from jewelry tradition to jewelry tradition. Some hallmarks indicate the purity or quality of the metal. Others can also be added such as that of the manufacturer, the regulatory authority or indicate the date of manufacture of the jewelry. Today, the laws of almost every country in the world require that precious metal coins be marked. They also require that the karat and the purity of the metal be indicated.
The very first jewelry control marks were found on Byzantine jewelry from the 4th century onwards. And the first European regulation was born in France. It is about the statute of the goldsmiths of the year 1260 during the reign of Louis IX.
Almost at the same time, the term used today for these seals originated in English: "hallmark" because it originated from the Goldsmith's Hall in London of the venerable community of goldsmiths. This is where Britain's first hallmarks were born. A system of legal marking of precious metals was already in force there in the 13th century. In addition, English hallmarks include a mark of purity, the seal of the certification body, a letter indicating the date and the maker's mark. Note that the order of all these symbols is arbitrary.
So many countries, so many different regulations
Between 1798 and 1975, a crown was also used to represent the purity of gold. In Scotland, for example, a thistle was used for the same purpose. However, the most easily recognizable hallmark is the French seal, as it is an eagle's head that has been used since 1838 for 18-karat gold.
You might be interested to know that in France today two hallmarks are mandatory. These are the maker's mark and the mark of the goldsmith. The manufacturer must make himself known to the body responsible for the guarantee. He must also register his goldsmith's mark on a copper plate. The inspector of the regulatory body ensures that the same brand is not used by two same manufacturers.
If you have antique gold or silver jewelry that you want to resell, recognize the hallmarks here.
The current legislation of hallmarks in jewelry
It is important to note that there are many antique items not marked with a hallmark and made in high quality gold and silver. This is normal, because at certain times in the history of jewelry, many gold jewelry were unmarked to avoid import duties.
Today, however, the hallmark is mandatory. If you buy modern and prestigious jewelry today, it must bear the identifying mark of origin (manufacturer or importer) and guarantee (or the hallmark applied by an official / authorized laboratory) according to the law.
In conclusion, the absence of these hallmarks constitutes a serious or very serious breach of the law because reference is made to the provisions relating to jewelry. All jewelry must be subject to prior authorization before being put into circulation on the market.