Recognizing and validating antique jewellery requires lots of experience and knowledge. It is often a process of comparing different types of jewelleries. However, searching for clues to jewellery’s age and origin can be done by finding hallmarks on a jewel. That particular process eliminates a great deal of guesswork. Learning how to recognize hallmarks in jewelries is an essential part of becoming an expert in the field.
There is a common misunderstanding about what a hallmark really is. Many people confuse hallmarks with makers’ marks. A hallmark is nothing more than an indication of metal content. It is an assurance of purity or quality, which may include a maker’s mark and other marks. Makers’ marks alone are not considered hallmarks. Hallmarks are most often found on precious metal objects. jewellery is exempted from hallmarking under certain circumstances. However, when a piece of jewellery is hallmarked, the marks can yield clues to country of origin and, sometimes, date of manufacture, as well as indicate the metal content of the piece.
A hallmark is a stamp or marking on a piece of jewellery or gold that guarantees a minimum percentage of gold, silver, platinum or palladium present in the item. If the piece of jewellery is solid gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, then a hallmark will always be present, typically somewhere where it will not be visible when worn. This hallmark stamp can be on the inside of a ring band/shank, inside a pendant, or on the clasp of a chain.
Hallmark on gold jewellery lends credibility to the purity of gold. It tells you the percentage of purity, among other things. The percentage of purity is important as the price that you pay hinges on it. Also, hallmarked jewellery is much easier to sell since the buyer is assured of the quality. Every country has a different system of hallmarking, ranging from simple to complex. For example, if you can learn to recognize the French marks for gold, silver and platinum, you will have done well. The difficulty lies in the fact that the French never use numbers. Symbols in the form of animals and heads of animals and people, insects, and birds have been used to indicate fineness, place of manufacture, imports and exports. These have changed over the centuries.
The most easily recognized and commonly seen French mark is the eagle’s head, in use since 1838, indicating 18 karat gold. Assayed French gold is never lower than 18k. The mark can be found on jewellery in any number of places. Look for it on clasps, side edges, galleries, and pin stems as well as on the back surface of a piece.
- 18ct Gold Hallmarks
- Austrian Gold Hallmarks
- Czech Republic Gold Hallmarks
- Dating Gold Hallmarks
- Early Gold & Hallmarks
- Gold Hallmarks – Shapes – Purity & Dates
- Gold Hallmarks – The Assay Office Hallmarks
- How to find a Hallmark?
- How to identify a gold hallmark
- How to identify Gold Hallmarks & Gold Jewellery
- How to read a Gold Hallmark
- Identifying Gold Hallmarks
- Indian Gold Hallmark
- Netherlands & Dutch Gold Hallmarks
- Polish Gold Hallmarks
- Purity Testing for Gold
- Swiss Gold Hallmarks