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Dating british gold hallmarks

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Contemporary jewelry historians use hallmarks for research purposes but these hallmarks were never intended to make the life of appraisers easier.

Rather, they were an early type of consumer protection.

During the XV century, to prevent the bad practice of marking as sterling under standard items with a possible detriment of the silver standard use for coin (silverware could be converted in coin without assaying if marked with the leopard head), some change were promoted.

Thus, a stamp of '925' by itself is not, strictly speaking, a hallmark, but is rather an unattested fineness mark. if metal fineness is claimed, even though there is no official hallmarking scheme in that country.The most encountered hallmark on jewelry is undoubtedly the "purity" mark which indicates the total amount of gold or silver used to manufacture a coveted jewel.Although the study of hallmarks serves as a wonderful research avocation to many involved in the antiques trade, a trained professional can, and should, put such a desired object in the proper time frame without the presence of such marks.In bygone days fraudulent activities in hallmarking silver and gold were punished with death, but the penalty it is still significant today (till ten years of prison).The first guarantee marks used in England was the leopard head, that was impressed on silverware made of alloy containing at least 925 ppt of silver (sterling standard).It is important, therefore, that you understand what you are looking at when out shopping for jewellery and what better starting point than understanding hallmarks.