The future of hallmarking came under threat by the Red Tape Challenge initiative, introduced by the government. Thankfully, the government have decided to keep the practice of hallmarking to ensure the support of regulation, vital for consumer protection.
The Assay Office in Birmingham will continue it’s 700 year old practice of branding all platinum, gold and palladium which is sold in the United Kingdom, giving assurances of purity. The loss of the hallmarking practice would have resulted in 120 jobs being lost. The Assay Office is thought to be the largest in the world of it’s kind, being founded in 1773. In defence of the office, campaigners argued that it’s closure would result in customers being conned when buying jewellery and other valuable pieces.
The campaign was given strong support from retailers, designers, manufacturers, politicians, trade associations and consumers to keep regulation as protection for the industry. Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise said:
“We are extremely pleased that the outcome of the Red Tape Challenge has endorsed our rigorous independent regime as we believe this is in the best interests of the UK jewellery industry.”
The hallmarking symbols prove purity and provide details of where and when the item was produced. This information is essential to collectors and antique dealers not only, featuring prominently in the Antiques Roadshow. A reputable dealer in antique chests and Victorian dining chairs in Cumbria will know how to prove authenticity of an item, whether it’s a piece of antique jewellery or antique dining chairs . Hallmarking plays a valuable role in the regulation of the antiques industry.
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