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In 1961, the American government also mandated that jewelry manufacturers include a maker’s mark, which indicates the producer of a piece of jewelry.
Hallmarking in Great Britain has had a long history, dating back to the 14th century.
Silver pieces imprinted with a lion denotes 92.5 percent silver — thus sterling silver — while the Britannia mark means that it has 95.8 percent pure silver.
Any piece of British jewelry made prior to 1999 was required to include what is known as a date letter stamp, a letter corresponding to the year that it was registered with the assay office.
Therefore, for sterling silver, look for marks that include “925,” “STERLING,” “STG,” or “STER.” Keep an eye out for metals that are etched with “German Silver” or “Nickel Silver.” These pieces are not made up of any silver at all, but are actually composed of copper, nickel, and zinc.
If jewelry is marked with “Vermeil,” it is a piece of sterling silver topped off with gold plating.
Jewelry from the United Kingdom contains a series of compulsory and optional jewelry marks set out by the countries’ assay offices.
One of the compulsory marks is the Assay Office Mark, a symbol which indicates the regional office that hallmarked the item.