Dating english sterling silver
For over six centuries no article has been allowed to be sold in England as sterling unless it has been first tested at the “Hall” to determine that its quality is up to the required standard of nine hundred and twenty-five parts of a thousand pure silver.The remaining seventy-five parts of alloy were usually allowed to be copper which, together with the process of fashioning and aging, give silver a fine blue “patina.”At the Hall, silver which passes the purity test is stamped with a number of identifying marks:1.
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Hallmarks are applied with a hammer and punch, a process that leaves sharp edges and spurs of metal.
Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.
Buyers of silver products made in the UK should therefore notice several different hallmarks stamped into the surface of the pieces they are buying.
Hallmarks are required on all pieces of silver and precious metal including jewellery.
A silver object that is to be sold commercially is, in most countries, stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver, the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith, and other (optional) markings to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece.