Written by Jo Reed of Finding Beadtopia
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JEWELLERY MAKERS TIPS! – Hallmarking History
It was under the rule of King Edward the First that hallmarking was first established.
The first assay office was the Hall of Goldsmiths in London. Parliament awarded them the job of controlling the standards of precious metals circulating in the British Isles. This is where the term “hallmarking” comes from.
A process known as cupellation is used to test silver for example for purity. A sample is weighed then heated with lead in a furnace, as the lead and any other metals present oxidise all that is left is pure silver. The weight of this is compared to the original weight to ascertain if the silver is pure enough to be hallmarked.
The traditional method of hallmarking was to stamp with steel punches but this is quite unsuitable for finished pieces of jewellery as it can distort the metal. Today laser technology is used to burn the hallmark onto the precious metal.
Jo Reed @ Finding Beadtopia
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