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Why have a hallmark?

Items of jewellery are hallmarked to identify what type of precious metal the piece is made from. Gold, Silver and platinum are all hallmarked.
Items of Silver jewellery which weight below 7.78g, gold items below 1g and Platinum items below 0.5g are exempt and do not require a hallmark. Hallmarks can only be marked by one of the four official assay offices:

Edinburgy Assay Office

The assay offices test all items which require marking, taking a small sample to complete the test. The test confirms the legal standards of fineness or purity. Once happy with the result they will apply the appropriate hallmark to the item