The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office is where hallmarking began, and we have been testing and hallmarking precious metals for over 700 years. Our reputation for excellence in hallmarking, service, and support is both revered and unparalleled.
For over 700 years goldsmithing, silversmithing and jewellery trade has blossomed in the UK. Centuries of the worlds finest craftspeople have come from our shores. The Goldsmiths' Company has played an instrumental part in the development of the worldwide trade. Hallmarking has protected consumers for 700 years and has led to a system built on verified trust - one that can often be taken for granted.
Precious metals are rarely used in their purest form but are usually alloyed with other metals for workability, durability, wearability. It isn't possible to detect an article's precious metal content by sight or touch. Therefore, it is a legal requirement for an Assay Office to hallmark articles containing precious metals if they are described as such. (Weight exemptions apply for items below certain weights. For silver 7.78g, gold and palladium over 1g, and platinum over 0.5g to have a UK recognised hallmark.)
The UK Hallmarking Act (1973) states that it is an offence for any person, in the course of trade or business, to describe an un-hallmarked article as being wholly or partly made of precious metal(s) or to supply un-hallmarked articles to which such a description is applied.
Trading Standards Officers have the power to seize any items that do not comply with the 1973 Hallmarking Act, which can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000 per article.
All four Assay Offices have a legislative remit to control standards of precious metal being sold in the UK. We do this by assaying (testing) the precious metal content, then applying the hallmark.
Dealers are required to display the statutory notice which describes the approved hallmarks. It is an offence for any dealer to fail to exhibit or keep exhibited the notice. 'Dealer' means a person engaged in the business of making, supplying, selling (including selling online or by auction) or exchanging articles of precious metal or in other dealings in such articles.
The Dealers' Notice can be found in our Downloads section here.
The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office is where hallmarking began, and we have been testing and hallmarking precious metals for over 700 years. Our reputation for excellence in hallmarking, service, and support is both revered and unparalleled. We are the history of hallmarking in the UK, we are the future of hallmarking in the UK.
How are we qualified to do what we do?
Quality of mark
The leopard’s head mark of London has been used by some of the finest craftsman in history and continues to be the mark of quality for many of the leading jewellers and silversmiths today.
In order to retain this quality, we regularly employ apprentices who receive four years specialist training before becoming skilled in the art of assaying and hallmarking.
The combined experience of our team is the keystone of our expertise and professionalism. We use the most modern and advanced equipment and technology that is available, not only to apply our laser hallmarks but to manufacture the finest quality punches used for traditional marking.
Quality of service
Helping the customer lies at the heart of everything that we do and we have always tried to respond to the changing needs of the trade.
Today, we are conscious that quality, speed and flexibility of services are a high priority. As well as operating over four sites, we also offer four different levels of service to help you achieve your lead times.
Our digital portfolio includes online registration, packet tracking, packet payment and email and text alerts letting you know when your work is ready.
Quality of support
Being part of the Goldsmiths’ Company means we are dedicated to supporting the trade, students, graduates, and the public by providing educational lectures and tours, workshops and training. You will also often hear about us going on the road to schools and colleges to talk about the importance of hallmarking.
We realise that some people may find hallmarking a little daunting at first, so we offer a complimentary behind the scenes tour for every new customer to give you a better understanding.
Furthermore, we offer a range of other services, all designed to help the trade in different ways - and each delivered with quality. We offer Valuations, Laser Engraving, Antique Plate Committee, Assistance to Trading Standards, Punch Making, and assistance with Tracing Hallmarks.
Read more about our support for the trade here.