Jewellery tastes are ever changing and the jewellery industry is learning new things everyday. High-street jewellery brands like Pandora, H Samuel and Ernest Jones are struggling to compete with online sellers and independent designers and the reason? They are all selling the same kind of jewellery - the same earrings, the same necklaces, the same bracelets. There is nothing original about these retail giants designs anymore, which is why they are losing out to online jewellery brands.
At JewelStreet, you will always find something innovative and one-of-a-kind, as well as quality pieces. However in the retail space, even quality certified materials are struggling and hallmarking is occurring less and less, with items marked in 2018 falling by 2.4%.
What is hallmarking and why is it important?
A hallmark is a Government seal that is stamped onto articles like gold, silver, platinum and palladium to certify their quality. It is the trusted way to guarantee the purity and standard of the materials used in jewellery. In the UK, all jewellery that is sold claiming to be made by gold or silver, must be hallmarked according to the Hallmarking Act of 1973.
A hallmark tells you everything about the material, like the date and year it was made, the name of the designer and which Assay Office marked it. Assay Offices check quality with x-ray technology and laser analysis, but the stamping by hand is done the same way it was 700 years ago when hallmarking began. This is what a hallmark tends to look like:
Images sourced from Pinterest
Hallmarking is important as it is a guarantee of quality and it protects the consumer and the jeweller. The jewellers trade is protected from unlawful competitors who might try to pass off their lower quality jewellery under false pretences. It is hard to tell what is good quality and what is not, so hallmarking is an important way to show that jewellery is not only at a certified high quality but that the consumer is guaranteed what they’ve paid for.
UK hallmarking annual fall
Hallmarking figures from the UK’s four Assay Offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Sheffield, have noted that the number of materials and items being marked has fallen significantly in the past 12 months. According to Professional Jeweller, only 9,114,402 items were hallmarked in 2018 - which may seem like a huge number - but it is 222,524 articles down from 2017.
Surprisingly, silver - one of the most loved and popular jewellery materials - suffered the biggest loss with the number of silver articles hallmarked falling to 5.9% less than the previous year. Palladium also suffered with a 26.2% dip. Gold and platinum saw a rise in hallmarking, with gold see a 1.9% increase and platinum a 5.3% lift from 2017.
Could these figures be telling us something? The cheaper materials of silver and palladium aren’t being hallmarked as much as gold and platinum, the significantly more expensive materials. Jewellery materials that are more costly are seeing a rise - this could mean that the public are heading towards more expensive jewellery items.
Whether its silver or gold, platinum or palladium, it is important to know where you're jewellery is coming from and if it is the quality that you are paying for.
Katie Mullally's Medium Hallmarking Yellow Gold Plated Circle
Hallmarking on JewelStreet
Numerous designers that sell through JewelStreet have their pieces hallmarked. A hallmark not only guarantees quality but is unique. Katie Mullally sends all of her jewellery to the Goldsmiths Company Assay Office in London for hallmarking and she has her own KMM hallmark. She created a hallmark collection, featuring gold, silver and rose gold bars and circles, that show off her hallmark and have been worn by model Oliver Cheshire, reality TV star Ferne McCann and model and blogger Stephanie Peers.
Oliver Cheshire wearing the Hallmarking Circle & Ferne McCann wearing the Hallmarking Bar from Katie Mullally
Other designers like Augustine Jewels, Nicole Barr, Maro and Gia Belloni create gorgeous pieces that are hallmarked, guaranteeing the best quality materials along with a stunning design. Discover the beauty and importance of the hallmark and invest in quality jewellery which will last a lifetime.