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Anyone wishing to sell or describe an article as precious metal must ensure it is hallmarked.

The hallmark includes a compulsory “sponsor mark” indicating  the person or company submitting it for hallmarking. This is unique to each customer and must be registered with the Assay Office.

Assay Offices will test and hallmark part finished or complete items but require all components to be submitted to ensure that every part is compliant.

Items are assayed to prove their compliance with a specific metal standard and then marked using an appropriate method before being returned to the customer.

The system is policed and enforced by Trading Standards. Criminal charges and prison sentences can be brought against those who do not comply, demonstrating the importance of the legislation.