Methods of Marking


We're the first name in hallmarking. We're still second to none for service and expertise.

Struck Marks

Traditional struck marks are made with a punch, creating an impression by moving (forming) the metal - this can leave a slight 'bruise' on the metal, or can distort it (depending on the thickness).  This can be removed by an experienced jeweller or silversmith by filing and finishing, a process known as 'setting back'. 

If your work is unfinished, a struck mark is recommended as the result is deep, and can then withstand plating and general finishing.  This hallmark will last a lifetime.

Handmarking is the most traditional method of hallmarking, and is carried out using a punch and hammer. This type of marking is not recommended for very thin metal, delicate or hollow articles.

Pressmarking is another traditional form of hallmarking.  Essentially it is an automated version of handmarking with marks applied using fly press or air press.  The process is often used for large runs of the same or similar type of article.  

Punches

Laser Hallmarking

If your work is finished and polished, a laser hallmark is ideal as the process does not displace the metal so you won't need to set it back.

Laser Marks are made with either a fibre, lamp pump, or diode laser - all three are used across our offices. A very fine, high powered beam vapourises the surface of the metal and etches on the hallmarks.

Laser marking is the most recent method of applying the hallmark.

The limited depth of focus on a laser makes flat articles, such as watch backs, photo frames, tops of cufflinks, and flat areas on large wares the best suited to laser hallmarking.

Marking on curved articles is possible when the radius of curvature is sufficiently shallow to maintain focus (a smaller size/length mark often helps for those articles).  

We currently offer two different types of laser hallmark:  

  • 3D laser mark: Creates a deeper, more detailed result. Would withstand a very slight polishing.
  • 2D laser mark: Resembles the outline of a struck mark.  Creates a simple outline of the hallmark.  It is very light so strictly for finished items only. 

It is great for marking thin, hollow or more delicate items. Castings and unfinished items are unsuitable as a laser mark can only withstand a light polish.  

We also offer laser engraving services.

We are extremely excited to announce that we are developing a new dimension of laser hallmarking.  A premium laser display hallmark is soon to be included in our suite of marking methods.  It will be the first of its kind globally giving the detail of a traditional struck hallmark, by application of laser.   

Comparison of laser mark (back sample) and struck mark (front sample)

Comparison of 3D laser (back sample) and 2D laser (front sample) marks

Sheets showing struck marks...

...and laser marks

Size Guide

Size Height Use
A 6.00mm Large Silver Holloware
B 5.00mm Large Silver Holloware
C 4.25mm Large Silver Holloware
D 3.50mm Small Silver Holloware
E 3.00mm Small Silver Holloware
F 2.50mm Small Silver Holloware
G 2.00mm Small Silver Holloware
H 1.75mm Napkin Rings, Frames
I 1.50mm Napkin Rings, Frames
J 1.25mm Napkin Rings, Frames
K 1.00mm Solid Bangles, Large Jewellery
L 0.75mm Rings
M 0.50mm Small Jewellery, Rings

Struck hallmarks are available in sizes 0.5mm to 6mm (height).  It is worth noting that when struck by a punch, the hallmark will appear very slightly larger.

Laser marks are also available in the same sizes, however due to the difference in application, laser marks can be applied to items at a larger size than the recommended struck marks.

The size of the punch should reflect the type of articles to be hallmarked, and choosing the correct size is paramount. A large punch will be unsuitable for delicate items as the punching process will displace the metal.

If choosing a large punch it is very likely to cause distortion. When submitting smaller jewellery items, including earrings, jump rings on chains or small pendants, we recommend choosing a size M (0.5mm) or size L (0.75mm) punch.

Top: Swan Neck Punch, Bottom: Straight Punch

Development of Marking Technology

The image shows, from top to bottom

  • Struck hallmark
  • Premium laser display hallmark (currently in development)
  • 3D laser hallmark
  • 2D laser hallmark

 

Download an article from the Goldsmiths' Technical Journal to read more about this development.  

ON YOUR MARKS; THE DEVELOPMENT IN ASSAY OFFICE MARKING TECHNOLOGY

You Tube video of how to we hallmark a silver tray, made at Goldmiths' Hall in 2011.

Scroll through carousel of images below to see each method of marking.

  • Town mark punches showing leopard's head

    Town mark punches showing leopard's head

  • Aligning a punch to the silver supported by tool

    Aligning a punch to the silver supported by tool

  • Punches, support tool and hammer

    Punches, support tool and hammer

  • Combination punches, or "combines" where four hallmarks are combined on one punch

    Combination punches, or "combines" where four hallmarks are combined on one punch

  • Handmarking by hammer and punch

    Handmarking by hammer and punch

  • Steel hallmarking punches and wooden spacing pegs

    Steel hallmarking punches and wooden spacing pegs

  • Chains being marked by fly press with straight neck punch

    Chains being marked by fly press with straight neck punch

  • Hallmarking of bangle on fly press with swan neck punch

    Hallmarking of bangle on fly press with swan neck punch

  • Gold chain being marked on fly press

    Gold chain being marked on fly press

  • Application of hallmark by laser beam

    Application of hallmark by laser beam

  • Townmark set up on computer package in readiness for laser application

    Townmark set up on computer package in readiness for laser application

  • Silver inside laser unit

    Silver inside laser unit

  • Silversmith Olivia Lowe's laser display mark, 2014

    Silversmith Olivia Lowe's laser display mark, 2014

  • Hallmarks being applied using pneumatic press

    Hallmarks being applied using pneumatic press