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Thread: Hallmarking Silver

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default Hallmarking Silver

    I am about to register for a Hallmark and need to order a punch but do I have to buy two? One for flat pieces and one for rings? Most of my work is pendants and ear rings. I am a little confused about selecting a Sponsor mark too. There doesn't seem to be a 1st and 2nd choice of design, so what happens if someone else with my initials has chosen that design? Does it make any difference which Hallmarking service I choose? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,241

    Default

    Hi Stella,

    Hopefully Steve LAO will answer you tomorrow, but in the mean time here is what I know.

    When you choose a sponsor's mark they will let you know whether it is already taken. In my case, many years ago, I was also allowed a second choice. Assay offices vary in friendliness and efficiency. A great plus would be if you could visit personally. For me, London cannot be faulted.

    Many members make do with only the cranked punch incase they need them for rings too. The problem is choosing a size, as the hall mark validates your work and you want it as visible as possible.

    I have overcome this, by having my work deep laser marked, which means that I don't need a punch at all, and can request a different size to suit each item. I would never bother with a hallmark less than 1.5mm high.

    If you enter different key words into the search box top right, you will see our many discussions on this subject. Welcome, Dennis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Hi Dennis

    Thank you very much for your comments. I hadn't even thought about laser marking so I will look into that. Your advice re height is really useful as I had assumed I would go a small punch on the basis that it would fit everything but can see how much clearer and more visible a larger one would be.

    Your tips and food for thought are much appreciated. I will now do a search using key words.
    Thanks again, Stella

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,006

    Default

    Agree about registering in person, which I did many years ago in London. I remember my choice of initials and shape being checked in a huge book - gave a sense of history which has never left me - so that I still get excited when I 'make my mark'
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    3,172

    Default

    When I registered mine, I had a whole page of different ones to choose from. Lasering is fine but it is more expensive and unless you ask for deep layering, it will rub off really easily.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    London
    Posts
    502

    Default

    Hi Stella,
    First regarding the shape of punches. A straight punch is used when marking items with a clear line of sight for the marker, for example larger pieces of silverware. The swan neck or cranked punch is used to get inside curved surfaces for example rings and bangles. You don't need to order both, and if you predominantly send in just jewellery then I would recommend that you just order a swan neck punch.
    Regarding the size, jewellery punches are usually 0.75mm high, which covers pretty much everything you would need to mark.
    You can always make use of laser marking if you need to have anything marked that's larger, for example when you get that commission for a solid gold bath!
    The sponsor mark has to be unique to you, otherwise there's no point, as its a unique identification mark. The mark itself in in two parts - initials and the surrounding shield shape that the initials are in. It's the combination of initials and shield shape that makes the sponsor punch.
    If you choose to register with London, you can do so on line, and during the process there is the opportunity to choose your initials and shield shape. It will tell you straight away whether or not your choice has already been registered.
    The laser software will already be automatically set up for you free of charge when you register your punch at London. when you send in items, you can specify whether you would like the marks struck with your punch, or applied by laser.
    All 4 assay office are independent from each other and all I'm sure have their good and bad points, however, thank you Dennis for your kind words - it's great to get independent compliments and of course Stella we'd love to welcome you to the home of hallmarking in Britain! If you would like to register in person, as some others do, you're very welcome to do so and you don't need an appointment or anything.
    Part of the registration also includes a tour of the assay office, to give you a better idea of what's involved, pick up some tips on sending your items in, and a chance to meet the people who will be marking your items and discuss any special requirements you may have.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    cotswolds
    Posts
    3,329

    Default

    I should add to Steve's comments that some Assay Offices (there are also Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh to choose from) will NOT mark flat pieces with a cranked punch. I understand that some of these have a slight curve on the face (to match the curve of, for example, rings, and this can lead to an imperfect strike.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    London
    Posts
    502

    Default

    interesting mizgeorge. Yes it's true the cranked punch's face is slightly convex so if you strike a flat surface the indentation is deeper in the centre than at the edges. However, our markers "work" the punch over the mark and use a number of little taps rather than one strike to ensure the same depth of punch across the surface. This ensures that you don't have to incur the expense of two punches. When you consider that the largest cranked punch we do is 1mm it's really not an issue for us at all. Actually, I thought all the other offices did this...apparently not then!
    Last edited by SteveLAO; 05-08-2013 at 12:44 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thank you all for your helpful information. Ideally I would like only one punch and it sounds as if London will accommodate using a cranked punch on different shaped pieces. I hadn't realised that I could choose to use laser on some items; I had assumed I had to choose between laser or punch for everything. I think I will visit the London office to get the whole experience!
    I really appreciate your advice, thanks again
    Stella

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    177

    Default

    Hi Stella,
    I've been registered with London since 1981 and have always had great service with parcels and enquiries. I would go for just the swan neck and don't go for too large a size as it can be difficult to stamp small pieces.
    I've just received a brand new shiny punch as I wore my old one out and as Pearlescence says it's a real sense of pride each time you put your own mark on your work.

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