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In order to describe items for sale as Silver, Gold or Platinum, there is a legal requirement in the UK to mark the item with it's hallmark. Unmarked items cannot be described as silver or gold subject to the exemptions listed below but may be described as white or yellow metal, for example. Many other countries have adopted a similar standard.

A hallmark consists of several identifying marks:

The assay office verifies the purity by analysis of a sample of the piece, then add their mark which may be by laser to avoid damage to the item. Note if a piece consists of several components of differing purity, then only the lowest purity may be marked.

Small items are exempt from the requirement, so do not need to be marked and may be legally described as silver, gold or platinum. In the case of silver; exemption applies to any item weighing less than 7.78g ( Troy ounce). Gold is exempt for items less than 1g, and Platinum at 0.5g. The exemption only applies to the total precious metal content of the item, i.e. if a piece is made from several items which exceeds the limit then it must be hallmarked or cannot be described as precious metal. Exemption also applies to certain antique items.

The sterling silver and gold items on this site all weigh less than the exemption limits, nevertheless several items are marked with their purity and where appropriate this is included in the item description. Certain Karen silver items do exceed the limit are highlighted as such.

This information is provided as a courtesy to our customers and should not be considered exhaustive. We are unable to comment on the sale of assembled items comprising of marked or unmarked components. If this is a concern then please contact your local Trading Standards authority. Further information may be found at the British Hallmarking Council or Sheffield Assay Office

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