stokeontrentdating com - Birmingham silver dating hallmarks

The head was encircled by a frame, optionally composed of convex, concave and straight lines.One concave line represented 140/1000 fineness, a straight one 150 and a convex one 160.

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Hallmarks are a guarantee of certain purity or fineness of the metal as determined by formal metal (assay) testing.

Hallmarks are often confused with "trademarks" or "maker's mark".

The French assay mark for sterling silver is the head of the goddess Minerva.

In fact, the French standard for sterling silver is higher than that of other nations, requiring a silver content of 950 parts per thousand, or 95% silver.

Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.

One of the most highly structured hallmarking systems in the world is that of the United Kingdom, (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland), and Ireland.Silver at that time was sometimes marked "COIN" or "PURE COIN", but can also be without a standard mark altogether.After the adoption of the sterling standard, pieces were marked with "STERLING", the number "925" or the notation "925/1000".Silver items with a slightly lower grade of silver, 800 parts per thousand, are marked with the head of Minerva, next to which is a "2".French silver made for export carries an assay mark in the shape of the head of Mercury, along with a number to indicate the millesimal fineness: "1" for .920, "2" for .840 and "3" for .750.US law requires a maker's mark in the form of a hallmark or registered trademark in addition to the quality mark if the goods are quality marked.

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