Guide to buying safely: Understanding hallmarks

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Buy safely: Understanding Hallmarks.

Make sure the item you are buying is solid, not plated, and hallmarked to prove this.

In Britain Hallmarking has long history dating back 700 years representing the earliest form of consumer protection. A Hallmark means that the article has been independantlt tested by an official assay office and guarantees that it conforms to a special legal standard of purity. This is called the fineness of the metal and the precious metal content is expressed as millesimal number. For example 999 means that the metal is 99.9% pure. Unless specifically exempt all gold, silver and platinum articles offered for sale must be Hallmarked.

Generally the hallmark is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design. Stamps will usually be located on the inside of the band on a ring or on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet for example.

The list below shows the the most common precious metal stamps and their purity level:

Gold: 375 (9 carat) 37.5% pure gold

Gold: 585 (14 carat) 58.5% pure gold

Gold 750 (18 carat) 75% pure gold

Gold 916 (22 carat) 91.6% pure gold

Silver 925 ( Sterling) 92.5% pure silver

Silver 958 ( Britania) 95.8% pure silver

Platinum 950   ---   95% pure Platinum

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