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British hallmark for silver and gold to be replaced

March 17th, 1993


Myth:   The hallmark, the guarantee of the quality of silver or gold for some 600 years, will soon be replaced by an anonymous number thanks to the European Commission.

Response:  This is untrue. The Commission is currently working on a proposal for a directive which aims to harmonise hallmarks and certification throughout the Community (i.e. the proofs of quality of objects made of precious metal).

In fact, the majority of Member States, but not all, require that three different hallmarks appear on the object: first that of the producer, second that of the number of carats and third that of the state organisation responsible for monitoring the product.

In the UK, the latter two hallmarks are stamped by the same person. The draft directive proposes to preserve the first two of these marks. Originally it was indeed envisaged that the State hallmark would have been replaced by a number. This idea has been abandoned. From now on the state body will continue to monitor the quality of the products as it has always done, but it will no longer have its own hallmark stamped on the product itself. These details will be noted on a register and will eventually be available on a database.

The Commission should have completed work on this proposal within the next six weeks.

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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