Reading and understanding British silver hallmarks

Step 5 – Find the Maker’s Mark

What are hallmarks and why we want to read them? English, Scottish and Irish silver is stamped with 4 or 5 symbols, that are known as hallmarks. The purpose of hallmarks is to prove the metal quality and certain level of purity. According to the Royal Ordinances and Acts of the Parliament, the silversmith's craft has been regulated since the end of 12th century, protecting customers and allowing them to trace silver origin.

Although there are hundreds of different hallmarks, the British hallmarking system is highly structured and clear. With a jeweler's loupe and simple 5-steps instruction, even a novice can decipher them.

Step 1 – Find Silver Standard Mark

There are five standard marks used on British Silver. If you cannot find them, the item you are looking at probably comes from another country or it is silverplate. Compare the mark you see with pictures below.


Step 1 – Find Silver Standard Mark

  1. Lion passant (guardant or facing left) mark London and other English Assay Offices
  2. Thistle mark Edin...
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