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Silver Hallmarks types & examples of British silver markings

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Here's where we can discuss British silver Hallmarking, share photos and examples of silver marks to help us identify and authenticate collectable, historical and treasured silver pieces.

Introduction and overview of silver Hallmarking 
You can add posts and topics with more details, silver items, questions, pieces you're trying to identify or silverware you own which has good examples of silver marks. 

Edward I first decreed that all silver must be tested before it departed the hands of workers, thus setting the foundation for Sterling silver marking in 1300 A.D. the Leopard Head and Sterling silver .925 to be the accepted silver standard, the same as used in coinage.  From there we have 720 years of silver history, that's a lot of fabulous silver craftsmanship to discover in 2020!

Goldsmith Hall London has the first assay responsibilities, hence the advent of the phrase 'Hall marking'

Hallmarking assay offices later included Birmingham and Sheffield situated conveniently for the world renowned silver smith and jewellery quarters of England as well as Edinburgh Scotland and Dublin Ireland.

Silver marks will typically include a mark to depict; date, maker, purity & assay office.
We're used to seeing the Lion passant which typically signifies Sterling silver.


Unusually in 1696 the standard for silver was raised and in effect silverware as valued by the UK Pound became more appreciated! as silver content increased to .958 parts per 1000 known as Britannia silver, depicted by a lions head as well as the figure of Britannia. The use of .925 silver did of course survive and is still in common use for jewellery throughout the world today.

It is generally accepted that most silverware will be of .925 Sterling Silver, the same purity of silver used for UK coinage up until 1920 when it can be said that Britain significantly devalued the UK Pound Sterling by reducing the purity of silver from .925 down to .500 in British monetary coinage.

Both Sterling .925 and Britannia .958 can be found in artisan silver pieces, with Britannia also used in silver coinage.  Today there's an evolving desire for an even higher purity of .999 silver, especially for investment purposes in silver bullion coins and bars.

The 'other metal' used in silverware production is generally copper, hence Sterling silver will typically contain 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper to give it extra durability, 

 

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