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Manhattan Gold & Silver is an industry leader in precious metal pricing and refining with more than 30 years of experience. During our time in the business, we’ve found the topic of precious metals to be a vast and interesting one. Here on our precious metals blog, we write in-depth posts about the science of precious metal refining, historical and modern uses for precious metals, market news, and much more. Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay current, and discuss the latest posts on our Facebook page.

What is a ‘Gold Hallmark’?

July 31, 2018 07:00
What is a ‘Gold Hallmark’?

Early gold hallmarks were used to indicate the fineness of gold, as well as the assaying office that certified its purity. The term “hallmark” originated in 1327, when King Edward of England granted a charter to the “Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths,” which was headquartered at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London.

One of the earliest forms of consumer protection, gold hallmarks were a prerequisite for publicly sold goods in Middle Ages Europe. State-appointed assayers would examine precious metal goods and add their mark.

Today, each country has its own requirements and distinctive markings. In England, gold goods must be hallmarked in one of the four assay offices located in London, Birmingham, Sheffield, or Edinburgh. If the article weighs less than one gram, it is exempt from this step.

In the U.S., the rules are a little more lenient. A gold piece of jewelry’s karatage can be identified by independent signage nearby it — or even communicated verbally. It does not have to be marked on the item.

Other countries, such as Italy, India and China, do not require jewelry hallmarking. Gold manufacturers may apply their own marks to their products, as a testament of its origin and karatage.

Source: World Gold Council

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