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FailedAssay
02-09-2016, 11:50 AM
Anyone got any views on this? Importing our own hallmarks from an assay office in India, or allowing Indian factories to make things and give them UK hallmarks in Mumbai which are then sold in other countries as though assayed in the UK sounds a bit bizarre. Is it still a UK hallmark and what does that mean for the uniqueness and special nature of our 700 years of traditional UK marks?

http://www.jewelleryfocus.co.uk/17759-uk-jewellers-launch-parliamentary-petition-restrict-offshore-uk-hallmarks

https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2016/backlash-from-silver-and-jewellery-trade-over-offshore-hallmarking/

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/indian-hallmark-takes-shine-off-our-jewellery-nxgkcdl7p

The petition is here if anyone is interested:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/162103

Goldsmith
02-09-2016, 12:55 PM
Hello FailedAssay, first yes I have already signed the petition and second welcome to the forum,by the way it's good for new members to say Hello and introduce yourself to the rest of us.

James

bills makes
02-09-2016, 01:41 PM
signed the petition

Faith
02-09-2016, 01:58 PM
I hadn't heard about this, I don't really read any 'jewellery press' I'm not sure I knew there was any, and now feel like a bit of a troglodite missing out on a world of news....

It is kind of interesting, I suppose the point of a hallmark is to assure the quality, not where the item was made, but for a long time those two things will have correlated, and even for imports gives the reassurance of something being stamped on british soil. I suppose the idea is that these overseas assay houses are like little embassy's of british hallmarking further afield - and if they actually were like embassy's, under british law, it'd be kinda different.

Well it seems sad to me that a Birmingham anchor can get stamped in Mumbai (and not in the least because of the wealth of Mumbai related stamp options - a nice elephant or tiger perhaps), so i'll be signing it.

Faith

FailedAssay
02-09-2016, 08:38 PM
Hi James

Found this forum a couple of years ago and dip into it regularly but never registered to post things. I've been in the trade for over 20 years and work for a silverware and jewellery retailer (are we allowed to use company names?). We contract out a lot of production to Birmingham workshops so sort of got swept up in the kerfuffle when the Mumbai news came out. We use all 4 assay offices and because we try to do as much of our production in the UK as possible, have a certain sympathy towards the idea that British Hallmarks should be British and struck here. Anyhow, I offered to help spread the word and looked to see if anyone had posted about it on here. Be interesting to see what happens, not sure many people on the manufacturing side are too happy and I dare say the public won't like the idea much, but a few big retailers don't seem upset. And there I suppose is where the money is.

John

CJ57
02-09-2016, 09:00 PM
Hi John
The petition has been doing the rounds of the jewellers on FB and the various forums on there for a few weeks now. It probably means more to us as you say

pearlescence
03-09-2016, 07:14 AM
But an item with a Mumbai elephant hallmark could not be sold in the UK. That's the Hallmarking acts for you.
The whole requirement for a hallmark is probably a breach of EU law anyway, while we are still in, as it is a requirement for goods which can legally be sold in another member state to go through an assessment process before being sold here. Its called a qualitative barrier to trade.

metalsmith
03-09-2016, 02:00 PM
But an item with a Mumbai elephant hallmark could not be sold in the UK. That's the Hallmarking acts for you.
The whole requirement for a hallmark is probably a breach of EU law anyway, while we are still in, as it is a requirement for goods which can legally be sold in another member state to go through an assessment process before being sold here. Its called a qualitative barrier to trade.

The French also hallmark their silver and I believe that there's an accord struck with the UK, to recognise one another's hall marks, so strictly no requirement of assessment for all goods.

FailedAssay
03-09-2016, 08:46 PM
On the hallmarking Act the Birmingham people checked this and the Hallmarking Act was amended in 2013 to allow offshore offices to strike a different mark 'approved by the BHC' so that retailers and buyers could differentiate between a UK and overseas assayed item. I believe all the assay offices even designed different marks for this purpose, they seem to have chosen not to use this option. Hence the fuss, provision was made for a different mark, but the suspicion is that big overseas manufacturers wanted local assay in India using the same UK marks on pieces that I presume are not just destined for the UK but other countries in the EU.

Patstone
04-09-2016, 07:02 AM
Yes and me, I signed it too.

FailedAssay
15-04-2017, 08:08 AM
Apart from objections by nearly all the Birmingham makers, heard that other assay offices and government not happy with BAO using same mark in India and that it was 'not in spirit' of what was agreed when the Act was changed. British Hallmarking Council reviewing its decision and may require offshore sub-offices to use something different to the traditional UK city marks for London, Edinburgh etc.

pearlescence
15-04-2017, 09:59 AM
To what are nearly all Birmingham makers objecting?

Dennis
15-04-2017, 12:51 PM
It seems to me that this will mostly affect high street jewellers as it might cast doubt on the provenance of their stock.
It could also challenge other assay offices to venture abroad
But for studio jewellers who have their own sponsors mark, I can hardly see the problem. Dennis.

pearlescence
15-04-2017, 01:06 PM
Dennis, I suspect that this is directed at the vast production of the Genuine Gemstone company which produces most of its jewellery in India. Steve Bennett is on the board of Birmingham assay, and since this is being done by Brum assay what is the problem, unless the complainers are alleging that the indian assayers are somehow not as exacting and precise.
After all a London assay office was established at the Royal Mint in Wales to mark all the Olympic medals and don't some ports have assay offices for big importers too.
If the other assay offices don't like it that is probably because they didn't think of it first
Given that mandatory assaying is probably against European law anyway while we are still bound by it...

Aurarius
15-04-2017, 05:40 PM
If it's going to be a permanent assay office, why not just design a Mumbai (or whatever city it's located in) hallmark and put that on all items assayed there instead of a Brum mark? People who look at hallmarks at all generally do want to know where the hallmark was applied. If location were of no consequence then the BAO might just as logically relocate to Sheffield and the SAO to Birmingham and the two continue issuing the same hallmarks from the "wrong" locations.

pearlescence
15-04-2017, 06:10 PM
The point is to get items destined for the UK market marked at the appropriate stage in manufacture. An Indian mark would not be valid under the Hallmarking Acts
Gemporia probably puts many 100s of items through it a day.

FailedAssay
27-05-2017, 12:14 PM
This is in the Birmingham Post. Looks like Birmingham Assay might have been getting ahead of themselves.

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/manufacturing/birmingham-assay-office-jewellery-quarter-13085354

FailedAssay
27-05-2017, 12:19 PM
An India 'symbol' approved by the Hallmarking Council to replace the Anchor on items struck by Birmingham Assay's Indian subsidiary would be legal for sale in the UK and EU under the hallmarking act - and this was what was intended to happen. The point about Gemporia is that between them and a couple of other manufacturers, the bulk of the Assay work will leave the UK. Or rather, the bulk of Birmingham's assay work will eventually transfer to the two Indian assay offices they plan to have. Makes it a bit misleading to call it a 'Birmingham' mark after that. Shame to kill off a local industry and centuries of tradition just so a couple of importers can skim a bit more margin and BAO can offshore its work to a place where they can pay minimal salaries. Probably turn the assay floor in Birmingham into a trendy new cafe ;-)

Ceri
27-05-2017, 01:30 PM
Looking at things logically I don't understand why an Indian manufacturer needs to have their work Assayed in Britain.
If this is done because the British standard of hallmarking is seen as the gold standard then the system needs to continue as it is and BAO need to employ more people and increase their capacity on their home soil.
If Indian work is assayed here because there is no standardisation in India then perhaps they should pay BAO an advisors fee to help them set up their own, independent Assay office with their own mark and work as hard as the Assay offices of UK have done to create and keep a reputation for honesty and integrity.
Or better still, ask the London, Sheffield or Edinburgh offices to advise as they are not so closely linked to the Indian manufacturers and are therefore more likely to be seen as independent advisors.

FailedAssay
19-07-2017, 09:24 AM
The British Hallmarking Council have launched a public consultation to gather opinions from members of the trade and public about striking identical or very similar versions of traditional UK Hallmarks in other countries. Everyone can make their views known on how they feel about this and how different overseas struck Hallmarks by subsidiary offices of UK Assay Offices should be from those struck in the UK. Interesting document with some interesting questions about the future of UK Assay. I am working out my responses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hallmarking-by-uk-assay-offices-overseas

pearlescence
19-07-2017, 09:42 AM
Much of the mass produced jewellery sold in the UK is made in India and China. By law it must be UK hallmarked. Easier to mark as a stage in production, we all know that. Therefore makes sense to move assay site to place of production if the volume justifies. LAO marked all the Olympic gold and silver medals on site at the Royal Mint in Wales. This would be no different an operation presumably. In any case the sky would not fall in if there were no hallmarking system and we could all save a little time and a little money. The legal insistence is probably illegal under EU competition law anyway as it forces EU makers to have their items assayed before they can sell in the UK - It is a qualitative restriction

Ceri
04-08-2017, 11:41 PM
The British Hallmarking Council have launched a public consultation to gather opinions from members of the trade and public about striking identical or very similar versions of traditional UK Hallmarks in other countries. Everyone can make their views known on how they feel about this and how different overseas struck Hallmarks by subsidiary offices of UK Assay Offices should be from those struck in the UK. Interesting document with some interesting questions about the future of UK Assay. I am working out my responses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hallmarking-by-uk-assay-offices-overseas

Just seen this and as it is a PUBLIC consultation I thought that it should be flagged up! Thanks for posting it on the forum FailedAssay, I will fill it in when I get a few moments.

FailedAssay
27-04-2018, 04:21 PM
Looks like Birmingham will be getting a new hallmark to use in their Indian operation to differentiate from UK national marks.

Just been copied in on this taken from the BHC website.

Detail of outcome
This document sets out the Council’s response to the consultation on overseas hallmarking.
The Council has decided in principle that hallmarks struck overseas by UK Assay Offices should be distinguished by way of a special mark. Discussions are now taking place with Assay Offices as to what form that mark should take and once agreed it will be implemented within 1 year.
Detail of feedback received
We received over 120 responses, including 9 from our 15 official consultees.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hallmarking-by-uk-assay-offices-overseas