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Thread: Silver Hallmarking Laws/Rules in France?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Default Silver Hallmarking Laws/Rules in France?

    Hello, first post on the forum (!) so hello everyone. Apologies in advance if I've got something wrong forum-wise.

    So it's a bit of a long shot but I'm hoping there's a hallmark-savvy person out there who knows what the rules are in Europe! I've had a good ol' couple-hour long Google search for an answer to my question but nothing substantial has come up.
    I live in FRANCE and have been selling my handmade (mainly) silver jewelry on Facebook for a little while and now a shop has asked me if I'd like to sell in their store. I have also just learned that there are strict rules about marking your jewelry (hallmark/maker's marks) if it's for sale in FRANCE.

    My questions are:
    1. What are the rules for hallmarking your jewelry in France - can you simply mark the silver with .925 stamp or is it done by a central agency? If so, how and where is this done!? (I've just started reading about selling in the UK and it sounds insanely complicated!)
    2. What if your pieces have no flat area or are too small to mark their quality? Do you engrave it in? Is there a weight limit to what you are required to mark?

    Again, bit of a long shot but I'd appreciate if anyone has any info on this! Thanks again!

    MWJ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    France, as Im sure you are aware by now, is somewhat drowning in bureaucracy and red tape.
    My way around this when I lived there for 3 years was to have my items hallmarked in the UK which is far simpler.
    The UK hallmark is a legal standard almost everywhere and is a higher guarantee than some others in the EU, including France.
    HOWEVER I only sold online where the rules are slightly different, Im not certain whether you may have issues if you are selling through a shop within France so you would really need to look into it there.
    Are you registered as an artisan?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Ask the interested shop, which should know. If they don't their whole operation is suspect, surely.
    You will also have to comply with various EU regs such as nickel etc content and distance selling regulations (for your facebook sales)
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  4. #4
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    Hi Enigma, thanks very much for your reply --
    Yes it's bureaucratically bountiful here...!
    I am set up as an autoentrepreneur (writer) as that's my main income. I've looked at changing to jeweler but you can make and sell 'joallerie' as a secondary activity and NOT change status as long as it doesn't overtake your other job in terms of income, which it hasn't yet. When I need to switch it, it takes a few minutes online so that's not a big problem.
    Can I ask how you went about having your items hallmarked in the UK? I'm completely new to this as I've only been making jewelry for a very short time - as you can see I've only just realized this is a requirement - daft I know...! This info would be very very helpful! Thank you!

  5. #5
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    Hi Pearlescence, thanks for your answer!
    The shop is a new cafe that is displaying local artists - they only opened in December so they're learning the rules/taxes/everything as well. I don't suspect any foul play but ignorance the same as me. Perhaps I can ask them to get more information for me as well.
    I'm interested to know where I can find the regulations for the EU as far as 'nickel etc content and distance selling regulations' - would you happen to know where I can find this information? So much to learn!!
    Many many thanks,
    MWJ

  6. #6
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    I sent my items to the Birmingham assay office for marking, I still do as Im in Portugal now where the bureaucracy is even worse but the sun shines more lol.
    https://theassayoffice.co.uk
    You have to contact them and have your own mark set up but they are extremely helpful and can explain everything if you give them a call.
    However Im not sure what will happen when Brexit goes through with regard to potentially being charged customs fees on items coming back into France from the UK.
    Realistically you may be better getting it done in France but I didn't get far enough through the red tape to know how thats all done Im afraid.

  7. #7
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    Ah we were just in Alvar about a month ago, beautiful and warm, I don't blame you!!
    Thank you that's very helpful! If I can't figure out the French system perhaps this will be a good stop-gap. In any case I'll have a chat with them ASAP to figure out a solution.
    On another note, how regulated is all of this? I only say that because I think it's odd I hadn't heard anything about it until now - seems like something there'd be a lot of discussion about if it was a major issue/regular problem? Or perhaps I just haven't been knowledgable because I haven't had to know about it before recently. And to be clear I am not implying one shouldn't comply!! I only mean that I find it strange I never knew about any of this before and never heard of anyone having to send all their inventory away to be marked!
    I am American so maybe the laws are different there? And if not, then I'll be the first to say I'm completely ignorant on the whole issue. Really hoping to educate myself so thanks for the links and info!!

  8. #8
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    In the US you can just stamp your own metal, crazy really as then there is absolutely no guarantee that it is what is claimed.
    In the UK silver over 7.87 grammes and gold over 1 gramme has to be stamped according to the law, this is done via I think 4 registered offices in the UK.
    The rules are slightly different throughout the EU with some ( Portugal being one, don't know who else) having lower weight allowances and also different metal purities allowed to be labelled as 'sterling silver' or '9ct/18ct/24ct gold'.
    I only really got as far as finding out that the UK mark is legal in France because my French is rubbish and bureaucracy makes me want to slit my wrists.
    Its all a bit bonkers in the EU anyway as it should be one standard across the board because when its not it interferes with trading agreements as is currently the case.
    I recall a German chap on here getting pretty peed off with the assay office bod that used to be on here for telling him he wasn't allowed to sell items into the UK labelled as 18ct gold without them being stamped.
    In any case I think its around 50 to set up your UK mark if I recall correctly and that would cover you until you can sort things out in France I would think but definitely worth confirming this with the shop concerned.

  9. #9
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    Brilliant, thanks so much.
    I'll inform the shop of what I've learned and see how they want to proceed, great to know there's some kind of (even temporary) solution anyway.
    Many thanks again for your help enigma!
    Really appreciated.
    -MWJ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    @enigma: You have a typo. Silver threshold is 7.78g.

    Items must be below the weight to be exempt. i.e.Items below 1.0g of gold, below 7.78g for silver and below 0.5g for platinum are exempt. This is different to saying items above this weight need hallmarking. If a silver item weighs 7.78g or more it needs hallmarking.
    Last edited by handmadeblanks; 07-02-2018 at 06:15 PM.

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