This History of Hallmarking article is provided by the Birmingham Assay Office.
The history of hallmarking dates back over 700 years to a statue instituted by Edward I. Its purpose then was the same as it is today – To protect the public against fraud and the trader from unfair competition. It is, in fact the earliest form of consumer protection.
Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium are always used as an alloy in the manufacturer of precious metal jewellery, watches and silverware. The precious metal is mixed with other elements to give it the properties, such as flexibility and durability to produce a desirable article.
Even the most experienced jeweller or chemist cannot tell, just by looking at it, how much metal there is in the alloy or whether a thick plating of precious metal is masking a base metal core. This offers the unscrupulous a huge opportunity for fraud and there is a need to protect the public and honest suppliers.
Therefore all items, over the minimum specified weight, being sold as gold, silver, platinum or Palladium in the UK must be hallmarked to confirm that they meet the legal standards of the Hallmarking Act, 1973.
Hallmarking must be carried out by a UK Assay Office or an Assay Office belonging to the International Convention.
The Birmingham Assay Office was founded in 1773. Over the past 230 years it has built an outstanding worldwide reputation based on its established expertise and its total integrity and independence.
The Birmingham Assay Office, having embraced the latest technological developments, is now the largest assay office in the world and the leading UK provider of a range of services to the UK jewellery industry.
A follow-on to yesterday’s blog article Is There Gold in the UK? Anyone interested in UK gold mining history and looking to visit a mine may want to head over to Mine Explorer, a website dedicated to, well Exploring Mines!
The site is a portal for recreational mine exploration and features a database bursting at the seams with photos, videos and information on the 37+ gold mines located in and around the UK, featuring everything from mine surveys and maps to a bustling enthusiasts forum. The Mine Explorer site hosts all the information you could possibly need to plan an trip to a mine, whether it be a remote disused mine in the Welsh Valleys or a National Trust funded visitor attraction Mine Explorer seems to have everything you could possibly need.
… and if you do happen to find any gold while your exploring, be sure to come back to Scrap Gold and let us know!
Disclaimer – We need to point out that mines are dangerous, NEVER enter a mine unless you have expressed permission to do so and are accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable guide, and always let someone know your location and when to expect your return.
In 1998 the UK’s last operational gold mine ceased activity; the cost of extracting the gold from the Cononish Gold mine, close to the village of Tyndrum in Scotland made the business uneconomical.
Ten years on and in July 2008 the mine, owned by an Australian mining company trading as ScotGold Resources was survey to establish if the approximate 300% gold price increase in the intervening decade would again position the mine as an economically viable venture.
The village of Tyndrum in the Western Highlands is situated at one end of a rock seam with proven gold and silver producing properties. The seam stretches west out from the Scottish coastline across the Atlantic towards Canada and North into Sweden & Norway.
ScotGold anticipate the mine could be viable for up to eight years, previous mining activity and initial geological surveys suggest as much as 150,000 ounces of gold and over half a million ounces of silver could be extracted from the mine. Even if only a fraction of the estimated figured is achieved, the current gold highs could make the project a profitable success for both the mining company and the local community.
Gold and silver maintain value thanks to their scarcity and global demand, to date only a small fraction of the earth’s gold and silver resources have been mined but as on-going demand increases the availability of easily extracted material in nearing exhaustion. The inflation busting price surge of precious alloys in recent years has made even the more inaccessible alloy deposits once again an attractive and all the more viable consideration, and as mining technology improves, even the most remote and hostile environments become an attractive prospect.
Some Image copyrights ScotGold Resources Limited.
We are all by now familiar with the Scrap Gold concept, recycling old gold and silver, particularly jewellery, but while our inspiration may be driven by and all time high gold price and the promise of a healthy return, there is still the environmentally friendly aspect of recycling raw materials – raw materials that cause huge environmental impact in their extraction and refinement from the earth. Our article from April 2009 Recycling your gold – The environmental Truth is worth a read!
Today we wanted to use our soapbox to shout about a local Birmingham based company called Fair Trade Design who deals in the other side of the jewellery business.
Fair Trade Design was established in May 2006 to help raise awareness of fair trade. As a BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) member, selling jewellery sourced from producers abiding by fair trade principles such as paying fair prices to producers, Fair Trade Design and their customers purchasing jewellery are supporting social development projects, improving and support health and education facilities and encouraging environmental responsibility around the world – No small feat!
If you would like to learn more about Fair Trade Design, visit their Fair Trade Jewellery web site and if you do happen to order anything, be sure to let them know Scrap Gold sent you!
Over the past 18 months, Scrap Gold UK have lead the way in the ethical Scrap Gold Industry, consistently paying the highest prices for scrap gold and silver and maintaining an excellent level of customer service.
In that period, we’ve surpassed half a million site visitors (555,342 to be precise) and converted a healthy percentage into valued customers; something we feel is testament to our honest approach and transparent pricing policy.
If you have scrap gold or silver jewellery to sell, why not help us on our way to the magic million mark and complete our scrap gold form now.
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