What does a silver hallmark really mean?

June 23, 2024


Our sterling silver animals

At the Silver Basket, we pride ourselves on the fact that all of our silver animal models and figurines are hallmarked. They are stamped by the Sheffield Assay Office to assure customers that our product is made from sterling silver. 

Due to their size, our models have a filled core. However, the layer of silver around the core is great enough for the model to be classed as silver and duly hallmarked by the Assay Office. The layer of silver far exceeds that of a silver-plated item. The central core gives our animal figurines a nice, sturdy weight, so their form is solid. 

Solid Silver animal figures are available.

We can make your chosen silver model in solid silver if you prefer. This would increase the price by approximately tenfold. Please do enquire if you would prefer a solid silver animal model.

When buying a silver animal figure, whether online or from a shop, please do check for the presence of a hallmark. Silver items can be deceptive and the hallmark gives you the reassurance that it is a genuine silver piece.

History of hallmarked silver.

The tradition of hallmarking gold and silver dates back to 1300’s when it became necessary to protect the public against fraud. At this time, under a statute by Edward I all precious metals had to be tested and stamped accordingly.   

 Originally it was the Wardens of the Company of Goldsmiths in London that ventured out to complete the assaying. They would use the mark of the Leopard’s Head. The Leopard’s Head is still used today by the London Assay Office. In 1363 the maker’s mark was added, revealing who had in fact made the piece. 

In 1773 after much lobbying and protest the north got their own Assay Office in Sheffield, along with an office in Birmingham. 

Trust in the Assay Office for purity of silver

It is now a legal requirement in the UK for all articles consisting of platinum, gold or silver to be hallmarked, andparticularly if silver is to be described as sterling silver and not silver-plate.

Silver-plate does not warrant a hallmark. However it is worth knowing that in other countries a hallmark is not essential. Some silversmiths may stamp their silver as 925 or give it a maker’s mark but it is not a legal requirement and may not have been tested or assayed at any point.