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In 1300 King Edward I of England decided that all items made in silver must meet the sterling silver standard and must be marked with a leopard's head by 'guardians of the craft'.
In 1327 King Edward III of England granted a charter to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths to carry out this task.
They were based in London at Goldsmiths' Hall and this is where the term "Hallmark" first arose.
It's first use was recorded in 1721 and it was established as a mark of quality in 1864.
Today The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths is more commonly known as The Goldsmiths' Company.
The modern British Hallmark is a series of marks applied to items made from Silver, Gold, Platinum and Palladium throughout the whole of the UK.
These stamped or laser marks show that an article has been independently tested by a UK assay office to determine its quality.
It guarantees that the precious metal content of a piece of jewellery conforms to the legal standard for that particular precious metal - We call this the "metal fineness”.
Each bespoke piece of Sterling silver and Gold jewellery produced at Sophia Alexander is stamped with a British Hallmark, guaranteeing its quality and purity.Your jewellery will show three marks; the Sophia Alexander sponsors mark (LW), the fineness or “purity” mark of the precious metal and the mark of the Assay Office.
At Sophia Alexander, we are registered with the Birmingham Assay Office. We also use The Goldsmiths Company Assay Office for many items.
One of the requirements of the Hallmarking Act 1973 is that anyone who supplies, creates or sells precious metal jewellery shall display a notice explaining the approved hallmarks.
This notice must be the official document produced by the British Hallmarking Council, as shown below: