The Fallacy of the "Maker's Mark" Before sending an item to be assayed and hallmarked at a British assay office a person must first register their details with the assay office they want to use. The reason for this is pretty obvious - the assay office needs to know who to charge for their services, where to return the items, and who to hold responsible and punish if an item is found to be sub-standard, which in earlier times included sentence to the pillory. This person is called the "sponsor", which in this context means the person who takes responsibility for the items submitted. The sponsor does not need to be someone directly involved in making the items that they submit for hallmarking.
Unless otherwise stated this is the standard mark we apply. The Full Traditional Mark: Sponsor's mark, Millesimal fineness mark and Assay Office mark.
The date letter and the traditional fineness marks are no longer compulsory components of the hallmark. However, we believe that the date letter is a very important component of the hallmark, as it is the easiest way to date an item and research has shown that most of our customers still want to see the traditional fineness mark on the hallmark.
Unlike some of the other UK assay offices, we do not charge any extra to apply the two non-compulsory marks.
Those only wanting the compulsory marks applied should indicate this on the hallnote. Read more about the other legally recognised marks in the UK, International Convention marks, and Commemorative marks here. Sponsor's Mark Also known as Maker's Mark.
This is the registered mark of the company or person that submitted the article for hallmarking.
It is formed of initials of that person or company inside a shield shape. The shield shape varies, and a minimum of two initials must be included. Every one is unique. When you create your punch with us, you join a register of makers stretching back centuries.
Register for your punch here. This example is the London Assay Office's own sponsor's mark. Traditional Fineness Symbol The traditional fineness symbol is an optional part of the hallmark but applied as standard in the London Assay Office. There is also a Sterling Silver symbol unique to Scotland, not shown here.
This numerical format was introduced in and shows the precious metal content of the article, expressed in parts per thousand. We mark a piece to the lowest standard of alloy content, so it guarantees that the quality of the article is no less than the fineness indicated.
In the Gold Fineness mark, is 9 carat, is 14 carat, is 18 carat and is 22 carat. Example Fineness Marks, L-R:It has been the Town Mark for the Edinburgh Assay Office and been required by Parliament since And finally, although no longer compulsory, a date letter has .
My tables of Edinburgh hallmarks show the deacon's mark and town mark from until when the deacon's mark was replaced by an Assay Master's mark and a date letter was introduced.
From then until the date letter was changed annually in September when the . Mark Maker Dates seen Seen on Comments (image courtesy of attheheels.com) James Hewitt (possibly): Spoon Attributed as "unidentified" by Edinburgh Incorporation of Goldsmiths, but note similarity to James Hewit's marks.
Birmingham silver marks, marks and hallmarks of British silver, including date letters chart and symbols of Assay Offices of other towns as London, Sheffield, Dublin, Edinburgh, Chester, Glasgow: a widely illustrated directory of full sets of silver hallmarks of British makers with .
Gold and silver hallmarks Understanding British or English hallmarking since Dating Silver by Assay and Fineness marks Quickly decide whether the your object is pre and its original Assay office.
The UK Compulsory Hallmark comprises of only three of these component marks: Sponsor's mark, Millesimal fineness mark and Assay Office mark.. The date letter and the traditional fineness marks are no longer compulsory components of the hallmark.