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Caring for your Jewellery

 

CARING FOR YOUR JEWELLERY DIAMOND AND HALLMARKING CHARACTERISTICS



caring for jewelleryWith proper care you should get years of pleasure from your jewellery.
Here are some helpful tips:

• Wear jewellery appropriately. Take off your jewellery, especially rings, when carrying out household chores such as cleaning or gardening. They could become damaged by being knocked or coming into contact with harmful substances and abrasive materials.

• Heat and hot water can damage settings where adhesive has been used. Pearl set and costume jewellery often has this type of setting and extra care should be taken.

• Beauty products such as perfume and hairspray can affect jewellery by causing discolouration. Always put your jewellery on last and never spray products directly onto the jewellery. Pearls are especially susceptible to this kind of damage.

• Settings can get clogged up with soap and hand cream. Take rings off before washing hands and using cream.

• Don’t wear too many chains together as they will tangle and rub together, causing damage.

caring for jewellery• When not being worn, jewellery should be stored by being wrapped separately in soft material or placed in individual pouches. If a piece is placed next to, or on top of another, the mounts and stones can rub, causing scratches to each other. Diamonds can scratch each other as well as other stones and mounts, so always keep them separate from your other jewellery.

• Never go swimming in your jewellery as the chlorine in swimming pools can cause damage.

• Clean your jewellery regularly to keep it in good condition and have your jewellery professionally inspected on a regular basis so that your jeweller can check for loose settings and damage. Hard gemstones such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and garnets can be cleaned using recommended manufactured solutions that can be bought from most good jewellers. A soft toothbrush is a good tool to keep your hard gemstone jewellery clean. Soft gemstones such as jade, jet, lapis, emeralds, opals, coral, amber, turquoise and any porous gemstones are of a delicate nature and require special care. Never immerse these in liquids or expose them to direct sunlight or overly humid or dry conditions. Clean simply by wiping with a soft cloth or chamois.
Pearls are soft and easily damaged and should be referred to your jeweller for specialist care.

DIAMOND AND HALLMARKING CHARACTERISTICS

The value of your diamond is determined by four main characteristics - cut, colour, clarity and carat weight as explained below;

 
Quality of Cut
quality of cut
 
Styles of Cut
styles of cut
 
Colour
colour chart
 
Clarity
inclusion chart
 
Carat
round chart

Current Hallmark Symbols

What is a Hallmark?

Until 1998, a Hallmark consisted of four COMPULSORY MARKS.  Since 1998 the date letter has become optional but the other three symbols remain compulsory. The symbols give the following information:

  • who made the article
  • what is its guaranteed standard of fineness
  • the Assay Office at which the article was tested and marked
  • the year in which the article was tested and marked
hallmark
gold 750
hallmark
j
AB Sponsor
or maker
Standard
Mark
Assay Office
Mark
2008
 
Sponsor's Mark (formerly known as the Maker's mark)
This shows the person or company responsible for sending the article to the Assay Office. The sponsor may be the manufacturer, retailer, importer, for example.
 
Standard Marks
These show the standard of fineness - the purity of the precious metal,
in parts per thousand.
eg:
gold 750
The background shape shows the metal (gold).
The figure shows the article consists of 750 parts of gold by weight to 250 parts of other metals - 75% gold. This is equal to 18 carats (18 parts in every 24), the traditional way of describing gold purity.

Current Gold Standards
gold 375
gold 585
gold 750
gold 916
gold 990
gold 990
9 carat
14 carat
18 carat
22 carat
   
 
Current Silver Standards
silver 800
silver 925
standard mark 958
silver 999
 
Sterling
Britannia
 
 
Current Platinum Standards
platinum
platinum 900
platinum 950
platinum 999
 

Assay Office Mark
There are now only four British Assay Offices in existence, but there have been more in the past.

hallmark
hallmark london
hallmark edinburgh
hallmark sheffield
Birmingham
London
Edinburgh
Sheffield

Optional Marks
In addition to the Compulsory Marks a sponsor may wish to incorporate any of the traditional marks which have been struck on British articles over the centuries and which have been recognised throughout the world.
For more information on Optional Hallmarks Click Here

Date Letter
This will tell you in which year the article was tested and marked. To see the full series of date letters for Birmingham Assay Office click here

Commemorative Marks

Special Marks to commemorate significant national  events may also be added if a sponsor chooses. The Millenium Mark to celebrate the year 2000 was very popular and was applied to over 5 million articles of jewellery and silverware. The most recent commemorative mark was to honour the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. For more information on Commemorative Marks click Here

Other Marks
Other marks have been used historically for example, the Duty Mark and classic marks such as the figure of Britannia to signify Britannia Silver.

For more information about Commemorative and Other Marks please click here

This symbol does not appear in all hallmarks, but if it does, it will tell you that the item was marked during a year when duty was levied on gold and silver by the Crown. Duty marks will appear on items marked at the Birmingham Assay Office from 1784 until 1890.

Convention Marks & Other Acceptable Hallmarks
As an alternative to the traditional UK Hallmarks articles may be marked with a Convention Hallmark which may have been applied by any one of the countries included in the International Convention on Hallmarking.
Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK is required to accept other national hallmarks. Under the guidelines of the British Hallmarking Council, those national hallmarks deemed equivalent to UK hallmarks can be seen by clicking here

If you wish to identify an early hallmark, or just learn more about historic hallmarks, please visit our Early Silver Hallmarks Database

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