British Silver Hallmarks – Amateur Detective Part 1

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Now it is time to put our knowledge to good use. Do you still remember the basics? Let us have a look at our beautiful item. 11 22

It is an exquisite silver cigarette case. Not only smokers will appreciate the fine flower pattern and elegance that you can almost touch.

But, when was it made? Where? Which silversmith was so talented? Thanks to our introduction of British hallmarks, we know how to answer those questions. Firstly, we need to look at the bottom to search for symbols.

33 In order to discover the truth behind this beauty, we will follow our simple 5-step process. Step One

To confirm we are looking at genuine British silver we need to identify standard mark. Is it there? Right in the middle, we can see the lion mark. Now we know for sure our cigarette case is made according to 925/1000 sterling silver standard.

Step Two

Silversmiths can be found in every city. To identify the Assay Office that certified and guaranteed the quality of the silver we need to ass...

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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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