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Thread: Hallmarking - Advice needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Liversedge
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    Default Hallmarking - Advice needed

    Hi Guys,

    I would like to get some of my pieces hallmarked but I'm a bit confused over the whole process. I have been on the Sheffield and Birmingham assay office websites but I'm still not totally sure of what I need to do and was hoping someone could explain the process a bit better for me! Does it matter which office you register for? How much does it cost to get your own sponsor mark, do all the offices charge the same?

    Any help would be much appreciated

    Rachael x

  2. #2
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    Mar 2010
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    Brittany
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    Rachel, the first thing you have to do is register with an office of your choice. I am in France but am a Scot so went with Edinburgh. You being where you are might have an effect on the one you choose as it may be possible for you to hand deliver items, if not, it is all done by post so I don't think it really matters. Ask the assay office of your choice for the relevant forms, which are very simple to fill in, one of the forms is choosing your makers mark, which is the shape into which your initials will go. For this part it is best to talk to the assay office because as you can imagine, there are many registered makers and the shape you want with your initials may not be available. So give them a ring and ask.

    My experience with Edinburgh has been a delight, they are super helpful and talked me through the form filling and shape selection and the size of mark over the phone, I am guessing all offices will be the same (depending on how busy they are I suppose). You then send off the forms to be registered, along with the fee. Once your registration is done you will then be asked about your sponsors mark (the actual stamp), which in my case was arranged by the assay office on my behalf. You are given a choice of straight or swan necked but I am sure you can have both if you want. The cost of the stamp was in two parts I paid a 50 deposit to get it started and the balance on completion of the stamp, though I cannot for the moment find the bill for the balance I think it ended up around 70 total. (this is on top of the registration fee).

    I do not know if all the offices charge the same but I am assuming yes give or take, there surely will not be much in it.

    The very best place to start is by giving one of the offices a call and getting the help from the horses mouth as it were, it really is not as complicated as it appears.
    Last edited by Kwant; 24-08-2012 at 08:43 AM.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2011
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    Hi - I agree with everything above. I found them all to be very helpful and finally went with the London Assay Office. One thing you should bear in mind tho', there is a minimum/standing charge so if you can send a lot of items to be hallmarked it will lower the cost per item.

    Theresa

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice guys. Sheffield is my nearest office so I think I will start by giving them a call or maybe even call in person as I'm over that way next week.

  5. #5
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    Exeter, Devon
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    Hi yes I agree with the above too, the minimum charge is quite high. I paid 13.50 minimum charge for two items, plus the sponsors mark and of course hallmarking, plus post and packing and it came to 34.50. For just a hobby jeweller and a once-a-month local craft fair person it is quite an outlay. We went to the London Office as on the odd occasion we take our jewellery up to be hallmarked we can combine with shopping. Lots of tool shops, and bead/stone shops around the area.


    Quote Originally Posted by theresa View Post
    Hi - I agree with everything above. I found them all to be very helpful and finally went with the London Assay Office. One thing you should bear in mind tho', there is a minimum/standing charge so if you can send a lot of items to be hallmarked it will lower the cost per item.

    Theresa

  6. #6
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    Central London
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    That leaves a discussion about punches versus lasers.

    If you have a stamp made, your hallmark will look very traditional, but on the downside:
    1. It will have a fixed size, not always ideal for your piece. Kwant has also mentioned that you might want an additional swan necked one for inside rings.
    2. Applied at the assay office it might leave a dent, or a mark on the reverse side, which requires further cleaning up.

    I might be the odd one out in that I only use laser marking, which looks less punched out, more like etching, although I always specify: 'Deep 3-D'. The advantages are that it can be applied on the flat, or inside rings to any size you specify, since the data is kept on disk. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 24-08-2012 at 07:07 PM.

  7. #7
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    Rhondda, United Kingdom
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    I'm in South Wales but registered with London, mostly because I liked the leopard's head mark :-) but also because I could use all four of my initials, instead of just three! I had a swan neck punch made, but like Dennis (actually I shamelessly nicked his idea) I also have my items 3D laser marked, and for most pieces I get it done as large as possible. I keep my punch at home and use it to put my initials on everything I make, like copper and brass.

  8. #8
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    Those of you who already hallmark your items, what size punch did you opt for?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by solitarysmagick View Post
    Those of you who already hallmark your items, what size punch did you opt for?
    Opt for a size you can read without magnification. After all it gives information about you piece. I would guess 1.5mm tall might be OK. Personally I opt for a lazer mark, which can be varied at will. Dennis.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Opt for a size you can read without magnification. After all it gives information about you piece. I would guess 1.5mm tall might be OK. Personally I opt for a lazer mark, which can be varied at will. Dennis.
    Thanks Dennis, that was what I was thinking too. I'd like a punch as I make a lot of copper pieces and it would be nice to have my mark on these, but I also think laser marking might be the best option for my silver items. As you say, you can then tailor the size to the item without the need for gazillions of stamps!

    Out of interest, which office do you use Dennis, and how much did it cost to set up for laser marking initially? I printed off all the registration forms/info sheets for each office this morning. I'm drawn to Sheffield first as its the closest and I like the Yorkshire rose

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