Most people know that when it comes to purchasing gold rings in the UK, the hallmark is all-important, as with any gold pendants or other kind of precious jewellery. Hallmarks have been setting the standard in British jewellery-making since the reign of Edward I in the 13th century. However, the markings which adorn the inside of a ring can be confusing if you’re not familiar with them.
Gold rings made in Britain are required by law to carry three hallmarks: the Standard Mark, the Sponsor’s mark and the Assay Office Mark. Their basic purpose is to assure the customer of the quality of the gold that it has been through a standard test and has been verified to match the seller’s description.
The Standard Mark is the most important of these. This tells you the carat weight and purity of the metal. It is usually provided in fractions of a thousand, so the percentage representing 18 carat gold is stamped as 750, since 750/1000 is the equivalent to 18/24 carats.
With gold, the shape of the Standard Mark is always a rectangle with the corners cut off, so these two things ensure that when it comes to significant pieces such as gold wedding rings, you know the material you’re buying and its level of purity.
The Sponsor’s Mark is sometimes known as the Maker’s Mark and contains the initials of the company which sent the ring to the Assay Office. It’s not always the designer or even the company from which you bought the ring that appears in the Sponsor’s Mark, although it could be either of these. What is important is that the person responsible for the proper sale of the ring is represented there.
The Assay Office Mark is an easier one to recognise, since the Assay Offices in the UK number only four nowadays. Edinburgh’s symbol is a castle, Birmingham’s an anchor, Sheffield’s a rose and London’s a leopard’s head.
Some older items of precious jewellery may come with an additional date stamp or other markings which are no longer necessary. To look at some examples of the hallmarks on Clogau gold rings, see the ring section of the website. The three compulsory markings outlined above are displayed on the inside of all true gold rings in the UK. Provided that you see those symbols, you can be satisfied that you are getting what you pay for.
Clogau hallmarks, sponsor’s mark and stamps
Assay Office Hallmark – Since 2004, each piece of Clogau jewellery is tested and marked by the Edinburgh Assay Office.
Clogau Sponsor’s Mark – This identifies Clogau as the manufacturer of the item and is struck by the assay office.
Clogau stamp – This identifies the item as a genuine and original Clogau jewellery piece.
Welsh Dragon stamp – This stamp guarantees that Clogau Welsh gold has been added to your jewellery.
18ct gold standard mark – This indentifies an item’s gold purity as 750 parts per thousand.
9ct gold standard mark – This indentifies an item’s gold purity as 375 parts per thousand.
Sterling silver standard mark – This indicates the item contains sterling silver with a purity of 925 parts per thousand.