Dating london silver hallmarks
Antique silver hallmarks have been used to control the quality of goods made of silver since the 14th century and the organisation that regulates the craft, Goldsmiths Hall, gave the world the term hallmark.
This is to ensure it is of the required sterling silver standard and, provided it conforms to a standard, a series of symbols are stamped into each part of the item.
The organisation takes pride in its high level of service and the use of the latest technology by all its commercial divisions, from Hallmarking, Diamond and Gemstone Certification, Jewellery, Watch and Silverware Valuations through to precious and non precious metal testing, product safety and quality assurance testing as well as educational training and consultancy.
The Assay Office London is a key part of the Goldsmiths’ Company, one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London.
A false silver hallmark has always been treated with the utmost severity by the law and in the past a silversmith was pilloried for their first offence, where they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables.
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last 500 years is stamped with either 4 or 5 symbols, known as hallmarks.
The first UK Assay Office was Goldsmiths' Hall, founded around 1300, and where the term "hallmarking" originates.
Since then, there have been ten Assay Offices in the UK.
For two years it was crowned, but has been struck ever since in its present form by all English Assay Offices.
The first London silver hallmark to be used was the leopards head, in the year 1300.
The organisation that regulates the craft, Goldsmiths Hall, has given England and the world the term “hallmark”.