DAILY GEM 4
Providing a little distraction from loo roll hunting, endless queues and lets be honest the anxiety of our situation
I'd just like to thank everyone that has emailed to say how much they are enjoying the newsletters. These actually take a little while to do so a) I'm delighted someone is actually reading them, and b) They keep me extremely busy, so there's no chance of me getting bored!
Thanks to Olive, Niall, Mark, Hannah, Lefty, Remo and Rita for joining me yesterday on Zoom with a glass of Prosecco. It was very enjoyable and I certainly gained a lot from doing it and I hope they did to. If you completely missed this and would like a chat then please do get in touch . I'd be more than happy to arrange it, any excuse for a glass of fizz!
We ended up talking about the remodeled rings I made Olive. The whole process of making these just happens to be recorded on the bespoke pages of my website so it was great to be able to talk through this. Please do take a look to. We also touched on hallmarking which brings me on to today...
THE HALLMARK: Why have it? What is it? What does it mean?
Now, the eagle eyed among you would have noticed today's Daily Gem was scheduled to be a video of me explaining how to clean your silver jewellery. However it turns out I'm not quite as natural as I thought in front of the camera and so I need a bit more practice! Hopefully tomorrow. In the mean time happy reading, and maybe have a go at the challenge!
What is it?
The hallmark is a tiny stamp inside a ring or on the back of piece of jewellery. I say stamp, it used to be stamped but today it is more often than not lazer marked. Now, this may be a tiny mark, but it reveals a HUGE amount of information.
The traditional Hallmark is made up of five symbols:
A: The sponsor’s Mark or Makers Mark
B: Traditional fineness mark
C: Millesimal Fineness Mark
D: Assay Office mark
E: Date Letter mark
What does it mean?
A) SPONSORS MARK
This is also known as the Makers Mark. A company or maker will have their own mark that is made up of their initials inside a ‘shield’ shape. No two makers will have the same mark. Every one is unique to them, and therefore will identify who made it. My Makers Mark is AJM in an oval shield that I've had since 1995, as is illustrated above.
B) THE TRADITIONAL FINENESS SYMBOL
There are five symbols that indicate the type of precious metal.
A: Sterling Silver
B: Britannia Silver
C) MILLESIMAL FINENESS MARK
This mark indicates the fineness of the metal type. The shape of the shield indicates the metal type and the numerical format shows the precious metal content of the article, expressed in parts per thousand. For example: 375 is 9 carat, 585 is 14 carat, 750 is 18 carat and 916 is 22 carat. With regards to Silver fineness - 925 is Sterling and 958 is Britannia Silver.
The four fineness marks are:
C: Gold (18ct)
D: Silver (Sterling)
THE ASSAY OFFICE MARK
This mark tells you which Assay Office tested and hallmarked the article. The London assay office at the Goldsmiths' Company is represented by the Leopard’s Head. My jewellery has been hallmarked here since 1995. Prior to that it was hallmarked in Birmingham where I was based for a few years.
The date letter runs through the alphabet and changes annually on January 1st. Once Z is reached the font, case, and shield shape change so each mark is specific to a year. Bellow numbers 1 -7 are years 2011- 2018.
So in a few hundred years time, when someone discovers one of my rings whilst excavating, they'll be able to identify, what it's made of, where it was made, when it was made and that it was made by me!
Locate the hallmark inside or on the back of your jewellery and see if you can read any of it. Obviously it's tiny so you might not be able to make out too much, but if you can, see if you can identify any of the above symbols. Little trick - photograph the hallmark on your phone and then zoom in!
If you can't find anything at all, don't panic! It doesn't necessarily mean you have a fake. It could be because your jewellery comes from outside the UK as it's not a legal requirement in other countries OR it's an older piece that you've inherited and pre-dates 1300 AD when hallmarking was first introduced.
Let me know how you get on!
Be creative, stay home and stay well everyone!
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