Maybe you’ve just acquired some vintage jewelry from a family member or friend.Or you found some nice vintage jewelry at a yard or garage sale or at the thrift shop.Hallmarks are small markings stamped on gold, silver and platinum articles.A British Hallmark means that the article has been independently tested and guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity (fineness).Whether you plan to keep the jewelry as a family heirloom or would like to resell it, a knowledge of vintage jewelry marks will help you to identify and date it properly.I often get requests from people asking for help with vintage jewelry they’ve acquired.Although the technicalities in this legendary story are most likely based on myth, it does give an early account of fraud with precious metals.Since pre-Roman times gold and silver have been used as currency or as the counter deposit for money and one can imagine that a not so scrupulous person, with little fear of severe punishments, would find a means to tamper with the precious metal.
Future articles in this series will discuss how to date patented jewelry and jewelry without signatures and/or hallmarks.
King Hiero II of Syracuse gave Archimedes the assignment to investigate the purity of a newly commissioned golden wreath, believing silver was added to the gold content.
The famous story ends with Archimedes running through the streets shouting "eureka, eureka" after he found a means to expose the deceit while he sat in a bath tub.
Understanding British Hallmarks The 8 hallmarks that guarantee the quality and value on UK Assayed products.
Gold and Silver Hallmark Guide Buy this hallmark guide for your iphone, ipod touch or mobile device for £2.99 now.
The first hallmarking was confined to Goldsmiths’ Hall in London but in time other assay offices were opened.