Thursday, 12 May 2011

Finally - My Hallmark!! (or sponsor's mark)

Okay, so this doesn't look that impressive, but hey - I am very very proud of it. It cost me about £180 ($280) to get it registered!!

Here in the UK, you can not by law sell anything made in silver that weighs more than 7.78 grams unless it is hallmarked by one of the four assay offices in the UK.

Online of course, you can sell what you want to outside of UK, but I have plenty of items that I have only been able to sell to outside the UK and not to the UK. Mainly it's the larger rings and chunky pendants, but they have been available just not UK side.

So the process goes like this a little: You have to register a stamp, this can be with your initials. You start by thinking 'oh that will be great I'll make a word', then you realise each letter costs about £40 and quickly come down to just the minimum initials.
You then choose the type of stamp, swan neck (for rings) or straight and where you would like it kept (either with you or at one of the halls).

It them takes about 3 or so weeks to be ready.
You eventually get sent a bunch of paperwork which almost tells you how to get your stuff stamped ;-) The more you send off the cheaper, so you don't really do one or two things at a time, and sending off a whole bunch is quite worrying! But there is a minimum charge, so even though I sent off 12 initial pieces I still had to pay the minimum charge. But you send no money. They get in touch and after you have registered you can check on line to find out how much you owe, and then pay online. A few days later (it is a quick turnaround) your lovely items arrive home with their new little marks.
When I say little marks trust me they are really small, I couldn't find them to start!
So, I then discovered it has been mooted by the government to do away with this tradition. At the moment it is in the discussion stage. I have to say I hope they don't do away with it. The point being, anything you buy in England that has this stamp on it, has had the tiniest piece scraped off and tested for quality so you know when you hand over your money, that this is truly authentic. I have bought things abroad, where the sales person has told me it is real and I have paid over my hard earned money, and later got home and found it wasn't. It's just one of those quirky British traditions that I really like - and anyhow, I've paid over all that money now!!

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