I've posted about this on facebook already, as have many others, but it's such an urgent and important issue that I wanted to ask for help with it here!
I've written about Hallmarking before - here for example. Everything that I make that has a silver content of 7.78g or more, and often the pieces with less silver than that as well, gets sent off to Goldsmiths' Hall in London, the London Assay Office, for assaying and then marking. The assaying is carried out to determine the silver content of the jewellery, making certain that my bullion suppliers have been honest with me and that I am being honest with my customers. The jewellery is then stamped with the marks you can see in the picture above. The first is my maker's mark - the combination of my initials and the shape of the shield make it unique to me. The next is the modern symbol for sterling silver followed by the traditional symbol for sterling silver - the modern version is the legal one now to bring all of the EU into line, but I like having the traditional one too. The Leopard's head is the mark for the London Assay Office, and the other assay offices have their own marks too. Last is the letter stamp indicating the year - again this one isn't a legal requirement now that Europe insisted on some changes, but I like having it. I'm a bit of an old romantic and I like the thought that years from now someone will be able to look at a piece of my work and see exactly who made it and when it was Hallmarked!
So, why am I telling you all this again? Well, the Government have set up a website asking people to give their opinions as to whether certain pieces of legislation should be kept - the Red Tape Challenge - and this time round the Hallmarking legislation is being looked at. Thankfully all the comments that I've read have been positive, trying to make clear how important hallmarking is - not that I've had time to read all of the several thousand comments! Comments have been left by designers like me, larger jewellery businesses, jewellery sellers etc etc - anyone in the UK who has business with precious metals.
Please please could you visit the site too and leave a comment supporting Hallmarking? The UK was the first country to introduce Hallmarking over 700 years ago (you can read more about it's history here if you like) and it is the oldest form of consumer protection, part of our heritage and I'm proud of it! Without it there is no way you can be certain that the sterling silver or gold you are buying is what the seller says it is - it protects all of us.
You can find the website here - Thank you!