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Mixed Metals


Hallmarking Mixed Metals

When submitting items of more than one metal you should submit them in a packet as the lowest standard precious metal of the item. In the relevant areas you can state the other metals that make up the item. If you require a part mark for higher precious metals, as you are describing the item as including these metals, then please indicate that you require a part mark added.

Other items, which are the same as the lowest standard in these mixed metal items, can be submitted in the same packet, even if they are not mixed metals.

If you have base metal present then the word METAL will be added to your item and is compulsory. Or if the item is filled with a non-metallic component then the word FILLED is applied. These are also classed as PART MARKS to signify there is an element to the piece which is not precious metal.

 

Rules

Articles consisting of more than one metal can be hallmarked, subject to the following conditions:

  • The item can only be marked if, in the opinion of the Assay Office, an ordinary person will be able to determine which part is which metal. So it needs to be distinguishable by colour.
  • Each precious metal component must be at least the minimum legal
    fineness for that metal, i.e. silver 800, palladium 500, gold 375, platinum 850 (parts per thousand).
  • The full Hallmark (Sponsor’s Mark, Assay Office mark and precious metal fineness mark) struck will be that of the least precious metal, in order, silver, palladium, gold and platinum. This will normally be struck on the appropriate metal.
  • The minor (fineness) mark will be stamped on the “higher” precious metals.
  • If an item contains base metal, the extent of which must be clearly visible, then the word METAL must be applied next to the Hallmark on the precious metal part and where practical on the base metal part.

Where small components are used, the above may not be possible. In these circumstances the following rules apply:

  • If it is not practical to stamp the fineness marks on the “higher” precious metals, they may be stamped on the lower precious metals.
  • If this is not practical then the fineness marks can be stamped on another precious metal part.
  • If neither of these options are practical, the full hallmark (Sponsor’s Mark, Assay Office mark and least precious metal fineness mark) will be applied on the least precious metal part and all other marks omitted.
  • When a platinum article has small component parts consisting of gold and the gold parts are of a fineness of 750 parts per thousand or higher, then the article may be hallmarked with a platinum full mark and the appropriate gold fineness mark. This will not apply if the gold components are 585 or 375ppt. The gold fineness mark can be applied anywhere on the article.

Exemption Weights for Mixed Metals

The standard exemption weights still apply.

Any item which has any component part of it being described as gold/silver/platinum/palladium needs to be hallmarked when the entire metal weight of the item is not under the exemption weights, stated below, for the metal(s) being described.

Platinum Gold Palladium Silver
0.5g 1.0g 1.0g 7.78g

e.g. If you have an item made of 0.9g of gold and 5.0g of silver then it needs to be hallmarked if it is being stated that there is gold there, as the total metal weight of 5.9g is over the 1.0g gold exemption weight.

Plated Items

The plating on an item does not qualify for any Hallmark to signify its quality so any item will be hallmarked as the main alloy underneath the plating.

If the plating is applied after hallmarking, the plating or coating must not exceed 2 micrometres on any part of the article.

If precious metal articles are plated with the same precious metal, for example gold plated with gold, the standard of fineness of the plating must not be less than the standard of fineness of the article itself.

Any precious metal used for plating must never be less than the minimum UK standard of fineness.

The use of base metal for plating on precious metal articles is not permitted, whether as an interlayer or as a surface treatment.

Article made of: Are Permitted to have:
Platinum Gold, platinum, rhodium
Gold Gold, platinum, rhodium
Palladium Palladium, gold, platinum, rhodium
Silver Silver, palladium, gold, platinum, ruthenium , rhodium

Describing Precious Metals

The Hallmarking Act (found in Customer Info) states any person will be guilty of an offence if, in the course of a trade or business, anyone:

  • applies to an unhallmarked article a description indicating that it is wholly or partly made of silver, palladium, gold or platinum.
  • supplies, or offers to supply, an unhallmarked article to which such a description is applied.

Gold Plated Articles

The terms ‘bonded gold’, ‘rolled gold’, 'gold clad' and ‘gold plated’ are allowed to refer to either gold plated silver articles or gold plated base metal articles.

For any gold plating the gold layer must be of fineness of at least 375 parts per thousand and of a fineness recognised in the UK. This means that gold of 10k can only be described as 9 carat in the UK.

When the word ‘gold" or a "specific gold fineness" description is used to describe a gold plated silver article, the article must be described as silver and the word ‘gold’ must be directly followed by ‘plated’ (or permitted term) e.g. ‘18ct gold plated/bonded/clad silver ring.’

Other terms like ‘vermeil’ may be used in addition but the phrase ‘gold plated’ and the word ‘silver’ must appear within the description e.g. ‘18ct gold plated vermeil silver ring’.

The term ‘silver gilt’ may be used to describe a gold plated silver article, providing a gold fineness is not applied as part of the description e.g. ‘silver gilt ring’.

Examples of misleading descriptions for gold plated silver articles, that are not allowed include:
22ct gold clad ring
18ct gold vermeil ring